Posts Tagged ‘Athens’

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.

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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.

Juice at nova gea

October 19, 2016
white pomegranate

white pomegranate

green juice

green juice

 

Tuesday afternoon two juices  at nova gea.

White pomegranate from three pomegranates picked fresh from the trees in Cyprus a couple of weeks ago.

Green juice, not sure of exact composition but included spinach, lemon, half a stick of celery, ginger.

Aretha’s

October 18, 2016
Aretha's

Aretha’s

Aretha's

Aretha’s

Aretha’s a wonderful little shop in Plaka, dried fruits, herbs, soap, coffee beans, music …

Where else would you find pure Lesbian soap?

Try the dried Greek apricots. On the outside, dry, dusty, but bite into them and release the most delicious flavours.

Why buy tourist tat, when you can take home something special.

Run by the helpful and knowledgeable Yannis.

Greek yogurt and honey

October 17, 2016
Greek yogurt and honey

Greek yogurt and honey

I did not think I would enjoy this, Greek yogurt and honey, served as a dessert in Plaka Restaurant.

It was delicious.

Glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant

October 17, 2016
glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant

glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant

Glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant, house wine served from a barrel.

Tower of the Winds

October 17, 2016
Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clock tower within the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or clock.

The structure features or did a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.

It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum.

The water clock may have taken the form of a waterwheel.

The roof is a series of triangular slabs locked in place by a circular keystone.

Around the periphery is represented the eight winds.