Results tagged Illy from David Lebovitz

Hyères, Provence

Hyères, Provence (France)

I had no sooner returned from Sicily, then I unpacked my suitcase, re-packed my suitcase, and headed back out, to Provence. Even though I’d just returned from a ten-day trip, my other half was doing a project in the city I went along for the ride because, 1) Who wants to be sitting in a hot apartment, alone, in the summer, when you could be by the sea? And 2) The icy rosé of the south was calling. (And drinking alone raises other issues.) So I went.

Our hotel was very basic, but I loved the bathroom colors, holdovers from France in the 70s, or perhaps the 80s? Or someone was exceptionally good at recreating vintage French bathroom fixtures and colors. As I was happily lathering myself up after the humid train ride, I kept thinking that I’ve finally mastered the French curtainless hotel shower, and gotten it down.

Hyères, Provence (France)

Except when it was time to stop soaping up one side, and move to the other. And I realized that it’s that switch that I’ve yet to master; the moment when you need to swap the soap-holding hand with the hand holding the pommeau de douche (nozzle head), and a fountain-like spray of water breaks loose all over the bathroom. I’m not sure how one does it, especially when there is no holder for the shower nozzle. But I guess that’s why they load hotel rooms up with towels.

Hyères, Provence (France)

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La Caféothèque de Paris

coffee roasting

I’ve pretty much said everything I could about the “coffee issue” in Paris here*, but one place that’s trying to buck the trend is La Caféothèque, a shop and café that roasts coffee beans from all over the world. It’s also one of the (very) few places in Paris where I’ve seen a person preparing café express (espresso) correctly, using a tamping device, and actually taking great care with the coffee they’re serving.

A place that roasts and grind their owns beans is no longer a big deal back in America. Of course, it’s gotten a little overdone with all the pomp and circumstance just to get a cup of coffee. (I prefer the Italian model of lining up at the counter, having a quick, well-made shot, then moving on, rather than the whole big to-do in certain places just to get a cup of coffee.) But in Paris, it’s practically unthinkable to roast your own beans, or spend a lot of time preparing the coffee. Yet a few savvy and concerned coffee lovers have opened a handful of coffee shops that specialize in using good beans, properly roasted, and preparing the coffee with care and attention to flavor. It’s a trend that many of us here are hoping will continue.

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I was meeting a writer who is researching coffee at La Caféotheque, who’d brought me a lovely gift of coffee beans, just-roasted, from one of those groovy coffee places back in the states.

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Where to Find a Good Cup of Coffee in Paris

Telescope coffee in Paris

Because of all the changes in the Paris coffee scene, I’ve updated this post in 2013 substantially since I originally published it. It’s been a wonderful revolution taking place, as many people – some French, others from Australia and the United States, have been conscientiously been upgrading the quality of the coffee available in Paris.

A number of coffee-lovers, myself included, are disappointed in the coffee served in Paris. In The Sweet Life in Paris, I noted a number of reasons why the coffee tastes the way it does, from using inferior coffee beans to laxadaiscal attitudes toward preparing it.

However a lot has changed and while the corner cafés are still stuck brewing and extracting that bitter brew they’ve been doing since time began, a number of places have opened up and expanded the coffee offerings in Paris. Here are some addresses, and farther down below is a list of places that have opened recently, that coffee-lovers will want to check out.

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Below you’ll find a list of places where you can get well-prepared coffee in Paris:


A spate of other coffee bars have recently opened in Paris. Here is a list of them:

L’Arbre à Café
10, rue de Nil (10th)

Café Lomi
9, rue de Saussure (17th)

Télescope
5, rue Villedo (1st)

Café Pinson
6, rue du Forez (3rd)

Tuck
13, rue Lucien Sampaix (10th)

Le-Bal
6, Impasse de La Defénse (18th)

Coutume Café
47, rue Babylon (7th)

Ten Belles
10, rue de la Grange aux Belles (10th)

Le Rocketship
13, bis rue Henri Monnier (9th)

Café Craft
24, rue des Vinaigriers (10th)

The Broken Arm
12, rue Perrée (3rd)

Belleville Brûlerie
(20th)

Holybelly
19, rue Lucien Sampaix (10th)

Lockwood
73, rue d’Aboukir (2nd)

Foundation Café
16, rue Dupetit-Thouars

Fragments
76, rue des Tournelles (3rd)



And here are a few others:



Espressamente Illy
13, rue Auber (9th)
Métro: Opéra, RER: Auber

A concept store and café for Illy coffee. Located next to the Opéra Garnier, a machine precisely tamps the coffee into the filter holder with the perfect amount of pressure, assuring you of a real Italian espresso.



Café Malongo
50, rue Saint-André des Arts (6th)
RER: St. Michel

Café Malongo is one of the better brands of store-bought coffee available in France. In their café near place St. Michel, you can drink a decent cup of coffee, but specify exactly how you want it since they often extract coffee “French-style” (ie: watery) The have a kiosk in the Monoprix, near the gare Montparnasse, but the coffee is disappointing.



Caldo Freddo
34, rue Montorgueil (1st)
Métro: Les Halles

A wonderful little panini place serves really good Italian espresso, which you can enjoying standing at the panini-length counter.



La Briciola
64, rue Charlot (3rd)
Métro: Filles du Calvaire

Pizza from Naples is the specialty here, and the excellent espresso they pour, using Kimbo coffee, is a fine way to finish a meal.



Vélo Café
Place de la Bourse (2nd)
Métro: Bourse

This mobile cart serves coffee Monday through Fridays and the coffee is prepared by a friendly barista from Scandinavia. If you want your café express serré (tight), be sure to mention it.



Comme à Lisbonne
37, rue du Roi de Sicile (4th)
Métro: Hôtel de Ville or St. Paul

Portuguese coffee made with care. Be sure to try one of the delicious pastéis de nata tartlets with your excellent cup. (More at Comme à Lisbon)



La Caféothèque
52, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville (4th)
Métro: St. Paul or Hôtel de Ville

This shop is dedicated to roasting their own coffee, and aside from their café, offers courses in coffee-tasting and appreciation. The coffee is adequate, but they get points for making the effort to extract a proper café express. (More at La Caféotheque de Paris.)



Sugarplum Cake Shop
68, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (5th)
Métro: Place Monge or Cardinal Lemoine

Organic and fair-trade coffee, served in a bottomless cup, American-style in this laid-back bakery and café.



Pozzetto
39, rue de Roi de Sicile (4th)
Métro: St. Paul

Pozzetto is one of my favorite gelato shops in Paris, and one of the few serving the real thing. Ditto for the coffee, which is a true Italian espresso.



Cafés Verlet
256, rue Saint-Honoré (1st)

One of the classic Paris coffeehouses with Parisian-style coffee, although connoisseurs from elsewhere might be disappointed, and it’s not at the top of my list. (But locals seem to like it.)



Gocce di Caffè
25, Passage des Panoramas (2nd)
Métro: Bourse or Grand Boulevards

The delicious coffee served here is shipped in from Rome and pulled by a genial Italian fellow. For a true espresso, specify a caffè ristretto (café serré.) However since I initially wrote about it, this shop has been folded into Coinstot Vino, an adjacent wine bar. Barista Antonio Costanza is still making the coffee.



Kooka Boora
62, rue des Martyrs (9th)
Métro: Saint-Georges or Anvers

This Australian import is one of the latest places to bring good coffee to Paris. There is outdoor seating. (More at Kooka Boora.)



Nespresso
Various locations (click on link for addresses)

Nespresso has its fans and while I’m not as enamored of it as others, the pre-determined machines and capsules ensure the coffee is extracted to their standardized specifications. There are shop and cafés at various places in Paris, including on the Champs-Elysées.



goûtez un café rare





Related Entries and Links

La Caféothèque de Paris

Belleville Brûlerie and Holybelly

Good Coffee in Paris (Paris Coffee Blog)

10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris

Aussie Coffee for Paris (Financial Times)

Paris Favorites: Eating, Drinking & Shopping

How not to drink black tar in Paris (ChezPim)

Two Delicious Dining Guides to Paris

Making Perfect Espresso at Illy

Espresso granita affogato (Recipe)

Coffee and Espresso Makers For the Home

10 Things I Just Learned About Coffee

New wave hits Paris (The Age)

Chocolate Espresso Mousse Cake (Recipe)

Delving Deeper Into Coffee

Bad Coffee in Paris? (Lonely Planet)

Delving Deeper Into Coffee

Because I’m out of my mind, once I get something stuck in my craw, I’m not okay until I get it all figured out once and for all. I guess that’s why I’m a baker. Because I’m insane. When I got my new espresso maker, I became obsessed with that too, and I needed to figure out how to pull the best espresso out of it as I could, like they do in Italy.

So what did I do? I went to Italy.
Mais oui.

Coffee

Although I got a lot of questions answered there, new ones kept popping up when I got home. And when I posted about my trip there were some enlightening comments, especially from Greg Sherwin of CoffeeRatings.com. I clicked away, delving deeper into his site where there was much top-notch information and we began corresponding.

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Making Perfect Espresso at Illy

When I told a friend that I was going to Italy to learn how to make coffee, she responded, “You just dump the coffee into a filter and pour water over it. What else do you need to do?”

Well, since you asked, plenty.

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Illy barista Giorgio Milos shows off his skill, and one of my first efforts to match his

First of all, there’s an important distinction between ‘brewing coffee’ and ‘extracting espresso’.

Brewed coffee is steeping ground beans in hot water, which any fool like me can do, whereas making espresso involves a couple of crucial steps and the deft use of a high-pressured machine combined with several specific techniques. It’s not easy to make the perfect espresso, but anyone can make a pretty decent one, even using an inexpensive home machine.

And how do you know what a good espresso is?

It’s a very tiny cup of deep-brown liquid, just a couple of sips, not bitter-tasting, but rich, complex and lingering, which endures on your tastebuds for 10-15 minutes afterward—one singular, perfectly-extracted shot of true Italian espresso.

I was really anxious to visit Illy, since I’ve been having trouble getting just the right little shot to taste good at home. Mine was either too watery, or bitter and virtually undrinkable, even though I was using a very powerful espresso maker. But I was also curious why the espresso in Italy tastes so much better than it does anywhere else, even in the humblest caffè. So when Illy invited me to come to their roasting plant and Università del Caffè in Trieste, I cleared my calendar and jumped on a plane.

So what did I learn at Illy?
I learned that anyone, even me, can pull a great cup of espresso at home.
Here’s the 1, 2 and 3′s of it…

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Moreno Faina shows off a perfect crema while a barista keeps the Illy staff fueled all day long

1. Start with good coffee.

This seems like a no-brainer. But I have a friend who said his vinaigrettes never tasted as good as he’d like them to. When I pointed out that you can’t make a good salad dressing with crappy olive oil from Trader Joe’s, neither can you make a good cup of espresso unless you start with good coffee beans correctly roasted and packed.

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10 Things I Just Learned About Coffee

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1. One espresso has 2 calories.

2. The word ‘coffee’ is pronounced almost the same in every language around the world.

3. After water, coffee is the second most widely-consumed beverage in the world. (Tea is a close third.)

4. When you drink coffee, your brain shrinks a little, which is why some advise drinking coffee if you have a headache.

5. When making an espresso, 65% of the caffeine is extracted from the beans, whereas the French-press method of making coffee extracts 98% of the caffeine.

6. There are two hundred flavors components present in raw (green) coffee beans, but roasted beans have over two thousand present.

7. The first steam-pressured espresso machine was invented by a Frenchman in 1901.

8. In Italy, 80% of the coffee consumed is espresso while the other 20% are milk-based coffee drinks like cappucino.

Outside of Italy, those numbers are reversed.

9. The espresso-pod of coffee was invented in 1973 by Illy coffee.

10. 52% of all coffee imported into Italy comes through Trieste, whose harbor is almost entirely dedicated to coffee importation.

Speaking of coffee, I just returned from a visit to Illy where I was their guest at their Università del Caffè where I learned the art of making espresso. I had hands-on lessons from their expert barista, Michele Pauletic and delved into the craft of extracting the perfect little cup of true Italian espresso. Excuse the little bit of hyperbole, but it was truly a life-changing experience. And although I merely scratched the surface of understanding this complex drink, I have a much better understanding of what coffee is and how to get the best cup possible.

My view flying into Trieste, over the Dolomite Mountains

As soon as I come down from the buzz I got from all that coffee (one day I counted I had 9 cups of espresso), I’ll be focusing more on what I saw and learned…and I invite you to come along in the next few installments here, from my trip to Trieste.

Taillevent, Illy, Chez Dumonet, and O-Chateau Wine Tasting

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Taillevant & Le Cave Taillevent

Last month I had a fabulous lunch at Taillevent, the recently-demoted three-star restaurant, courtesy of some good friends from the states. But if our lunch was any indication, I don’t know who’s plucking the stars. And at 70€ it’s the deal of the decade: Three courses and lots of little extras. Plus they were very pleased to substitute any of the desserts which didn’t appear on the fixed menu for the selection offered. And to make the lunch even more special, another recent guest kindly bought me a bottle of lovely champagne…what’s not to get all starry-eyed over?

But whether or not you can make it to Taillevent, the restaurant, you should definitely visit their wine shop in the main Printemps department store. Run by Alison Vollenwider, with the help of Stéphanie (aka la petite), this wine cave is one of the most interesting in Paris.

Alison trained as a sommelier at Windows On The World with famed wine expert Andrea Immer, then worked in Bordeaux as a sommelier before settling here in Paris. Stop by and say hi—you’ll find plenty of reasonably-priced wines, starting at less than 10€, and lots of good advice from Alison. She’s friendly and knowledgeable…what more could you want from a caviste?

Update: Alison is now a proud mom and no longer working at Le Cave Taillevent.

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Illy

Ever since I got my new espresso machine, I’ve been trying to learn as much about the complex art of making espresso as possible.

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