It's coffee. Right behind oil. Athens doesn't have any oil rigs, but there are plenty of espresso machines to keep us supplied with dark liquid. Athens has lots of options for getting a caffeine fix that have nothing to do with carafes that have sat too long on the warmer plate.
With temperatures in Athens this weekend dipping into freezing territory, it's a great time to warm your hands and your insides with a perfectly-made cuppa' joe. Here are some picks for the best cups.
Take a (free) tour of Jittery Joe's Roastery and learn how coffee berries become coffee beans and take on their delicious roasted flavor (and take home some of the grounds). Jittery Joe's has quite a few outposts around town, but the Roastery is the best place to get an idea of just what goes into your mug. Call beforehand to guarantee you're there when the beans are getting baked.
1000 Faces Coffee has a new-ish outpost at Trappeze Pub downtown. 1000 Faces is a locally-based roasting company that specializes in organic, shade-grown, fair-trade brews. They also love to teach people about all the many ways a coffee's flavor can vary, and host tastings (called "cuppings" in the coffee world) at their downtown outpost. Test your tastebuds--maybe you can parse out the body, mouth feel, bitterness and acidity. Or at least learn what that means.
For a well-prepared mixed coffee beverage, try the bar at the National. Their Victoria Arduino Italian espresso machine and savvy baristas press out perfect lattes, breves, cappuccinos and americanos.