The way we enjoy coffee has changed. We are increasingly looking for quality coffee, talking about varieties, countries of origin, brewing methods, etc. Even when it comes to getting an espresso, cappuccino or filter coffee to go.
We may not enjoy it in the same way nowadays, but – whatever we do – we never seem to grow out of the habit of grabbing a cup of coffee on our walks, while shopping or on our way to work.
So here are ten places in the city where you can enjoy a cup of coffee to the fullest, whether in a paper, plastic or your own reusable cup.
A bright, glass-fronted shop, simple in its decoration according to Scandinavian standards, with tables in a fantastic glass-roofed arcade. They roast the coffee themselves and change it frequently, depending on availability.
Try the variety of unique Ethiopian origin, or the single origin variety from Colombia. The latter is ideal to enjoy in a cold cappuccino, as it has a chocolatey character.
At Anana you will also find sweet and savoury snacks to accompany your coffee, all based on the vegetarian and vegan philosophy.
33, Praxitelous Street, Athens, +30 211 1151788
It opened just a few days before last November’s lockdown. Located on Lekka Street, in Syntagma, it is just 15 square meters in surface area, dressed in wood, full of green details and has nice glass windows. The owners are Rebecca Zacharopoulou and Panagiotis Doustos, who for years ran a neighbouring café-bar. They work with the Greek company Samba and offer one blend and one single origin, which changes depending on availability. The blend, which is a mixture of four different Brazilian coffee beans, I suggest you try it in a freddo espresso or a cold flat white, as it works great with milk. Personally, I would recommend oat milk. You can also pair it with a delicious cookie or an energy ball from the shop’s tiny window.
28, Lekka Street, Syntagma, Athens, +30 210 3222426
I think no introduction is necessary for taf and its coffee varieties, all of which can now be found in the small shop on Emmanouil Benaki Street. It’s a new service launched in May called Taste Experience. Use the QR menu to select one of the 14 different coffee varieties on offer. They are ground on the spot (they keep them portioned in a freezer) for you to enjoy a delicious cold or hot espresso. To help you, a “taste circle” appears in the app to guide you in choosing the coffee that best suits your tastes. For a freddo espresso, I would recommend the Ethiopian variety of medium acidity with notes of blueberry and milk chocolate aftertaste. As for cappuccino freddo, I would suggest a Colombian variety (they have four) whose chocolatey character works well with milk. Of course, in the Benaki coffee shop you will find all of taf’s famous blends and single origin coffees.
7, Emmanouil Benaki Street, Athens, +30 210 3800014
2 Goulies kai 2 Boukies (2 Sips and 2 Bites)
It is probably the coolest specialty coffee shop in town. Tania and Nikos know how to make you feel at home. They have five different single origin coffee varieties: a chocolate one from Brazil, a fruity one from Ethiopia, a balanced one from Indonesia, a more special one from Guatemala and, finally, a quite interesting one from El Salvador. So if you’re a freddo cappuccino fan, go for the Brazilian one, which works great with milk, whereas if you prefer a “strong” freddo espresso, then try either that from El Salvador or the one from Ethiopia. Also, here you will find delicious desserts brought daily by Takis’ bakery in Makrigianni, hearty sandwiches made by Nikos and, lately, burgers from Po Boys in Psirri.
8, Dragatsaniou Street, Athens, +30 210 3473444
Small, corner, glass-clad, the Morning Bar is an instant eye-catcher. The inner hall is mainly occupied by the open kitchen located in the centre of the space, above which hangs a potted lamp. Three or four benches next to the windows complete the Swedish-style setting. They source their coffee from the Greek company Area 51 and have a Brazilian variety, which is the main one, and another that changes depending on availability – when I visited they had a variety from Colombia. The balanced, chocolatey character of the Brazilian variety works perfectly with milk (plant-based or animal). The sweet and savoury snacks, prepared daily in the open kitchen of the shop, deserve your attention. I suggest you try the pistachio cake, if you’re lucky enough to catch a slice before it disappears, and the fluffy cinnamon rolls.
36, Odyssea Androutsou Street, Koukaki
Rule of 4M
According to the Italians, to make a “perfect” espresso, one must follow the rule of the four “M’s”. That is to have a good blend (miscela), the right grinder (macinadosatore), an espresso machine (macchina per espresso) and of course an experienced hand (mano). This rule inspired the name of this particular café, which is located in the narrow streets of the so-called “Lower” Pagrati. Christos Pranis, the owner, collaborates with many Greek roasters. For instance, the blend of the Greek company Mokka is the shop’s main variety. This blend, a mixture of three different Brazilian coffee beans, offers a balanced brew with a sweet and chocolatey character. Ideal for both freddo espresso and freddo cappuccino.
5, Agiou Spyridonos Street, Pagrati, +30 211 1162560
Here we do not have to choose our coffee according to its country of origin or its brewing method, but according to the characteristics we want it to have: long aftertaste, sweetness, acidity, body, complexity, etc. So, before we place our order, we pick two pieces of paper from in front of the espresso machines, on which the above characteristics are written, and create our own blend. The barista “blends” our coffee on the spot, using the necessary proportions from the coffees in front of him, in order to produce the desired result. An interesting game that offers a different perspective on coffee.
71 Poseidonos Avenue & 3 A. Papandreou Street, Glyfada, +30 210 6928050
8, Kapsali Street, Kolonaki, +30 210 69002141
Samba Coffee Shop
Simple lines, white background and several wooden surfaces; at the corner of Solonos and Lycabettus Streets in Kolonaki lies the coffee shop of the Greek company “Samba Coffee Roasters”. In short, it’s the perfect place to stop for a quick cup of espresso or to grab a filter coffee or cappuccino to go. Of course, it offers the full range of the company’s coffee varieties. So, for example, you might find a “balanced” Brazilian one, a fruitier one from Guatemala, a slightly more acidic one from Ethiopia, or just about anything else it’s hosting at the time. What you will definitely find is their famous Latin American blend.
36, Solonos Street, Kolonaki, +30 210 3637283
Crop by Slam Dunk
It opened just before the first lockdown on a small street in the heart of Athens, Fokionos. It is located at the entrance of the sports shop “Slam Dunk” and is just 4sq.m. It has no tables and only offers coffee to go. So, here you will find the NBA blend, created especially for this shop from three different origins (Nicaragua, Brazil, Ethiopia) and is made to order. They also have two single origin coffee varieties, one from Brazil and one from Ethiopia – these change from time to time – which you can enjoy either in espresso or filter coffee.
8, Fokionos Street, Athens, +30 6959999544
Be it morning or midday, the espresso machine is constantly running at full speed, preparing one espresso after another. The space is purely industrial, enhanced by wooden and metallic details and the characteristic black tiles on the background of the bar. Vassia and Spyros Lappas are the ones behind this project. Siblings who did not pursue a career in their studies (biology & business administration respectively), but instead became involved with the precious green bean. The coffee varieties you will find here are sourced from Area 51 Coffee Roasters and change regularly depending on availability. Of course there are no tables, as it is purely a take away spot, but in the retail area you will find packaged coffee for home consumption.
25, Spyrou Merkouri Street, Pagrati, +30 210 7236758