It turns out I'd given up one day too soon. My impression of Athens was saved by one tea salon and another tea shop that I found within a block of one another. The tea shop I was looking for specifically, while the tea salon I just happened upon.
First the shop:
The Greek word for tea is tsai, and the shop is called Tsaina (www.tsaina.gr). The tea seller was very helpful and the tea was displayed beautifully. Here, look:
After I drooled over quite a selection of Oolong and black teas, I chose a few that'll be reviewed here soon. There were plenty of green and flavoured teas as well, but I packed enough green for the trip and am not remotely interested in flavoured tea. The Anglicised version of the address is: Likavitou 9 Athens in the Kolonaki neighbourhood, where it seems some of the best shops are.
Then I went around the corner to the tea salon and it was called To Tsai. 'To tea'? Yes, I can agree to that.
The place was perfect, and because I'd rushed out the door to see as much as possible on the last full day in Athens, I'd not had nearly enough tea in the morning. This would quickly be rectified by the friendly owner. I ordered a Chinese green tea called Jade Fire, as well as a very tasty Nepalese Darjeeling. Here I am obsessing about the steeping times:
The address is: Al Soutsou 19. The website is entirely in Greek, but there's allegedly an English page in the works. Maybe they'll have it ready by the time you make your way to Athens. www.totsai.gr
Hate to say that this saved the trip for me, but it really was perfect to finally locate a bit of tea in the heart of Athens. Next stop: one of the Greek islands. Am sure there'll be no tea shops there, but now I'm prepared with plenty of tea packed in my luggage. Plenty.