A slice of coffee heaven in Athens

Friday, 1 March, 2024

Words by Katie Burnett

I had a couple of days in Athens before World of Coffee 2023 began. We had chosen two places we really wanted to spend time at and drink coffee at: The Underdog and Foyer Espresso Bar. 

I had been to Greece once before when I was too young to clearly remember the experience, but an image that was burned into my 11-year-old mind was walking past two men in their late 60s sitting at a café with massive cappuccinos, spending the day in the city and walking past them again on our way back to our hotel. They were in the same seats, with a few more cigarette butts in the nearby ash tray and half-empty mugs in front of them. Now, in my figurative old-age, I was ready to do the same. 

We arrived in Athens at around 10am and went straight to The Underdog. The Underdog has a great brunch offering, which we planned to come back another day for, as well as an extensive and exciting coffee-based drinks menu. We were drawn to the filter coffee menu and ordered 3 different coffees for the 3 of us to share. The coffees were bright, balanced and clear.

The Underdog is built on a foundation of coffee excellence. In Greece alone, the team have won the Hellenic National Barista Championship twice, placing 4th in 2018 and 2nd in 2019 at the World Barista Championships. They have won the Hellenic Coffee in Good Spirits Championship 5 times and the Hellenic Latte Art Championships twice. Never mind the UAE, Austrian, Czechs, English and Turkish coffee professionals that they have successfully worked with and supported in the competition space.

The Underdog doesn’t have a big, fancy entrance. In fact, if there wasn’t the simple sign outside, you’d think it was the entrance to an apartment building. Step in through the red door and immediately you are met with a small flight of stairs up to the floor where the brew bar and espresso bar are.  Busy baristas and wait staff move around the space and the customers all seem to know each other. 

If you are after a café with an offering of different coffees to try, this is the one for you! Depending on the day, you can find coffee from Colombia, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador and Indonesia being served and you’ll also find this variety on their retail shelf, so you can take home some of the deliciousness. We came back a couple of days later and finally got to try their brunch menu, which we all enjoyed. Beware though, wait times for coffee and food can be quite long depending on the day you go. The food and coffee are exceptional, so if you’re happy to wait a bit, it’s worth it!

Next up, Foyer Espresso Bar. Foyer had moved to their new location 4 days before we visited them. This is a small, takeaway and street-seating focused café. They are in a busy area of Athens where their regulars are there to grab a quick coffee on their way somewhere else, or to enjoy feeling the busy city moving around them. Foyer is a multi-roaster café, supplied by the likes of Coffee Collectif, Onyx Coffee Lab, Five Elephant, Mok Coffee, Koppi, Fried Hats and Manhattan Coffee Roasters.

Foyer was started with the intention of spreading the love for great coffee. As "forever enthusiasts", the team are rooted in their purpose of gathering the coffee lovers in their community and making the circle bigger. "We’re glad that our small café has turned into a place that the local community can gather and coffee lovers can get to meet over a cupping or a coffee related event." They collaborate with many European roasters to create a curated experience for their customers. Walking into the space, you can feel the passion of the team and their eagerness to share delicious cups of coffee. P.S. definitely try their selection of cakes, they are amazing!

These are two must-visit cafes on your trip to Greece. They are trendy spaces with exceptional coffee offerings and they shine a light on the progression of coffee culture in Greece towards high-quality, curated experiences. 

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