Archive for the ‘Athens’ Category

Taf

October 23, 2017

 

I had tried Taf coffe in Cyprus.

It was not great. Better than over-roasted commodity coffee, but not great.

I was curious.

From Just Made 33 I headed through the graffiti-lined streets of Exarchia where Anarchists and Riot Police engage in Urban Warfare.

Taf is a coffee roastery, tafcafe their coffee shop.

I was surprised to find quite small, though not as small as first appears as over two levels.

For a small coffee shop, amazing number of awards. On one shelf, three awards, and that was only for 2017.  More awards on other shelves.

I ordered a cappuccino. Excellent.

I was then introduced to a world champion barista who made me a V60 using Panama Geisha.

 

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Exarchia

October 23, 2017

Exarchia is an area of Athens where Anarchists and Riot Police engage in Urban Warfare.

As I walked through the graffiti lined streets I asked a lady had everything closed.

No, that is how it is, the shops close early on Monday. Early being six in the evening.

Lunch at Just Made 33

October 23, 2017

The food at  Just Made 33 always looks enticing.

Although I had already eaten, I decided to have one of their open sandwiches, though my real reason was a V60 using their Panama Geisha.

The sandwich was excellent.

I was though to be disappointed with the Geisha. They had none left.

I settled for a freddo cappuccino.

Cappuccino by candlelight

October 22, 2017

It was a pleasantly warm evening.

I decided on a cappuccino sat outside Just Made 33.

What a  difference a weekend makes. Friday early afternoon Just Made 33 very busy, Sunday early evening all but empty.

Cappuccino served with one of their peanut butter bars with chocolate and almond flakes.

I learned they make their own cakes and open sandwiches.

Ibrik coffee, generic term for Greek coffee aka Turkish coffee.

If you like, personally I do not, Just Made 33 serves 1st place award winning coffee by the 2016 World Cezve/Ibrik Champion, Kostas Komninakis.  He is now at Sapid who supply the coffee.

Just Made 33 are currently serving Panama Geisha which I must try.

Cold Brew at The Underdog

October 22, 2017

It was a hot day, on my way to Athens Agora, I decided on a small detour to try a cold brew at The Underdog.

What a  difference a day makes. Yesterday quiet, or at least relatively so.

Today, as I walked up the stairs, hit by a wall of sound.

Yesterday, not very busy, today packed. I was lucky to find a seat.

What The Underdog are serving as cold brew coffee is not.

Cold brew is coffee brewed in cold water, either immersed in cold water for several hours or a cold drip tower, where cold water is dripped on coffee, one drip of water once a second. Either method takes several hours to produce the cold brew. It is then stored in a fridge, served cold with ice.

Japanese iced coffee, is a V60, Chemex or similar, where ice is placed in a carafe, the coffee instantly chilled served with ice.

What The Underdog  are brewing is neither of these methods. Coffee is made in a Chemex, poured into bottles, then stored in a fridge. In essence hot filter coffee cooled.

How was it served?

I was brought a bottle of water. Then a bottle of cold brew with a glass and within the glass an ice cube, a very large ice cube.

Note ice cube singular, one ice cube only. One ice cube that was maybe two cm across.

It had a white frosted surface. I queried this.

Was it stored in a freezer at minus 22 C? They said yes, but not so low a temperature. They said the appearance was due to the special water they used.

I can see that one large ice cube will melt much slower, also if at a low temperature. This has the big advantage of cooling the cold brew, or at least keeping cool, without diluting the cold brew. Quite clever.

The Underdog

October 21, 2017

Wander around Athens, and like Cyprus, you will not find good coffee.

The times they are a changing, excellent coffee as in Cyprus is starting to make an appearance.

I had walked around The Acropolis. Arrived at Thislo, a Metro Station I did not know. I thought maybe one of the coffee shops I was looking for was nearby. I had walked past it. I back tracked.

A fairly nondescript building, no name, nothing to indicate the delights inside.

Like Taylor Made, ultra trendy. I later learnt same designer.

Multi level, a roastery below, serving area, various brew methods, railway sleepers as a table. Standart and Drift available to browse. Not on sale.

I had never heard of Drift before, let alone come across. It is very much like Standart, high quality writing on art and coffee culture, only each issue devoted to a single city. At $22  an issue, roughly twice the cost of Standart, expensive.

Also on display trophies for World Championship in Coffee in Good Spirits. This year they came second, previous two years they won.  Different baristas, but incredible for one coffee shop.

I found myself chatting to the guy who came second.

In June I was chatting to the guy who won, Martin Hudak.

He recommended I visit Taf, and a coffee shop beyond Taf called Mr Bean.

I ordered a cappuccino. Excellent.

As at Taylor Made, no saucer, served with a glass with a  spoon.

This I queried. It was as I guessed, lack of a saucer, somewhere to put the spoon.

The Underdog offer a cold brew which strictly speaking is not a cold brew. Brewed in a Chemex, poured into bottles, stored in a fridge to chill. In essence a variant of Japanese iced coffee, where instantly chilled with ice in the carafe, but not cold brew.

The Underdog supply coffee to other coffee shops, but as with Square Mile in London,  exact high standards if you wish to use their coffee.

At the weekend from Acropoli Metro Station, stroll along Dionysiou Areopagitou, it runs between the Museum and The Acropolis. Do not visit The Acropolis at weekends, too crowded. Then turn around to the right along Apostolou Pavlou. At weekends lined with stalls and musicians. It also leads a back way into Agora of Athens. Past a few cafes and bars, then more stalls. Eventually a Metro station reached. Backtrack to the bars and restaurants, and take a turning to the right for The Underdog. Easily missed as a nondescript building on the outside.

Demonstration outside Spanish Embassy

October 21, 2017

A demonstration outside Spanish Embassy in Athens to condemn the Fascist regime and its treatment of Catalonia.

Coffee Dive

October 21, 2017

According to Alexia Amvrazi writing in Greek City Times

Athenians these days take coffee drinking very seriously, and as a result of top quality coffee shops mushrooming in every corner, they are spoilt for choice.

Well actually they do not, which is why wandering around Athens all you find is rubbish coffee.

Neither do you find that there are ‘top quality coffee shops mushrooming in every corner’ or that ‘spoilt for choice’.

Not that there are not ‘top quality coffee shops’ but they are a rarity.

Times they are a changing, and slowly slowly, specialty coffee shops are being established, but they are still a rarity.

One of the recommendations by Alexia Amvrazi Coffee Dive is not a top quality coffee shop, but then neither is Coffee Berry which she also recommends.

This sadly is what happens when someone who knows nothing about coffee recommends coffee shops. That she is writing in a section lifestyle says it all.

Coffee Dive is located near The Acropolis, a few minutes walk from Metro Station and and Museum, in a side street, a side street that is used as short cut by tour companies.

For such a location, I found empty. Only too easy to see why.

Different brew gadgets on display, but seem to be just that, display not for use.

Factory cakes shrink wrapped.

Bagged coffee on sale, only not in bags in glass jars.

 

I ordered a cappuccino.

It was not good.

I asked to look at the beans.

Stored in plastic, not good, no aroma, not good.

I suspect old beans, not a clue on roasting and buying poor quality beans.

A little coffee roaster tucked in the corner.

They have a Mahlkönig EK43 coffee grinder, which was apparently new and had just been delivered.

As I was explaining how to adjust the grind setting, a scruffy ignorant man pushed past me, clasped his hands around the machine and demanded to know why I was touching his machine.

I was not.

I asked if he moved his hands, I could explain, but he became more aggressive and threatening.

That he was scruffy showed contempt for customers, even worse his aggressive behavior.

I sat by the window chatting to a fellow customer, the only customer other than myself.

The owner came over, even more aggressive, demanding to stop discussing him.

We were not, we were discussing other coffee shops,  and the one and only customer asked what coffee shops were like in England.

An owner with a  serious problem.

A coffee shop to be avoided.

On leaving, I thanked the staff for being helpful.

Taylor Made

October 20, 2017

Wander around Athens, and like Cyprus, you will not find good coffee.

The times they are a changing, excellent coffee as in Cyprus is starting to make an appearance.

I would like to say I stumbled upon Taylor Made, as I usually go where my feet take me, but sadly not , I used what I would normally not, I used  a guide, and that was what led me to the vicinity of the church, but where was the coffee shop, and which one was it? All I had was the church marked on a map.

After a coffee at Just Made 33, I asked of Taylor Made. They recommended and told me where to find.

Without asking, I was brought a mat black bottle full of cold water.

Trendy not the word, a hole in the wall opens into a trendy adjacent bar.

Impressive range of brew gear, including a stunning cold drip tower.

I must return to try the cold brew.

Upstairs a micro-roastery. Nothing less than Q grade of 85.

I was brought a coffee menu, history of Taylor Made and details on each coffee.

Located in a majestic neoclassical building by architect Ernst Ziller and with (always busy) tables spilling out onto Aghias Irinis Square facing the church.

When it opened in the summer of 2011, this part of Monastiraki was run down, times were hard, as they still are. The area was of tailors, hence the name.

A huge risk was taken, especially considering the massive capital investment.

The first month empty.  Now packed.

My cappuccino excellent.

Adjacent to my coffee a small spoon in a tiny glass. Not sure what for. At a guess, if used sugar, somewhere to put the spoon as no saucer.

I noticed although free wifi, people were engaged in conversation. The only exception a couple of people at a table using laptops.

Think of the best coffee shops in England. Taylor Made is in another league.

Located in Monastiraki.

To find, head down Ermou from Syntagma. When  you have hit the church, take the first arcade on  the right after the church.

Ermou is the Athens’ equivalent of Oxford Street in London. The same crap chain stores as find in any crap shopping centre.

 

Just Made 33

October 20, 2017

Wander around Athens, and like Cyprus, you will not find good coffee.

The times they are a changing, excellent coffee as in Cyprus is starting to make an appearance.

I would like to say I stumbled upon Just Made 33, as I usually go where my feet take me, but sadly not , I used what I would normally not, I used  a guide, and that was what led me to the vicinity of the church, but where was the coffee shop, and which one was it? All I had was the church marked on a map.

I chanced a side street, turned a few corners, now lost and disorientated, I asked.

I was directed back to the church.

Trendy is not the word, a corner location serving excellent coffee, numerous brew methods, delicious cakes, I tried not the other coffee on offer.

To my amazement, Panama Geisha served. If nothing else, a good reason to return.

A glass of water brought without asking.

You want it hot? Strange question. But then everyone else drinking freddo cappuccino.

In the past I have searched for a freddo cappucuno, was looking forward to, but now I wanted a cappuccino as a benchmark.

Served with two tiny salt like pots. On was chocolate, the other cinnamon.

I then tried a bar. Peanut butter, chocolate and hazelnuts.

They work closely with a roastery Sapid  located outside Athens.

Outside somewhat noisy due to motorbikes riding through a pedestrianized street.

I would recommend they subscribe to Standart, maybe have on sale.

Just Made 33 was packed.

Think of the best coffee shops in England. Just Made 33 is in another league.

I asked of other coffee shops. It was suggested try nearby Tailor Made, also slightly further away Taf Coffee

Located in Monastiraki.

To find, head down Ermou from Syntagma. If you have hit the church, you have gone too far. Back track. Take the first street on the right before the church.

Ermou is the Athens’ equivalent of Oxford Street in London. The same crap chain stores as find in any crap shopping centre.