La Cafeotheque 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.

coffee grinder controls

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.

Which was a lovely gesture, but I don’t have a coffee grinder. I used to grind my own coffee for years until I realized that I couldn’t deal with the noise in the morning. (Plus the coffee grinder that was recommended for me by all the coffee people was $359, and to fit it in my kitchen, I would have had to choose between getting rid of my stove or my refrigerator. Um…)

La Caféotheque espresso/expresso

After we had two very good cups of café express (or whatever the plural is in French), I shyly edged my way over to the counter person. Figuring that it might be odd to ask him to grind up some coffee from elsewhere, I gently mentioned that I had been gifted some intriguing coffee beans, and could he possibly grind them for me? I even offered that he was welcome to make himself, and the rest of the staff, a few cups of the coffee to taste for themselves.

make coffee not war coffee beans

It was one of those moments that I try to explain to visitors that happens if you’re fluid in France, or if you’re traveling anywhere perhaps, and you find yourself having an impromptu experience. It happens when you meet up with people who have mastery of something and they are truly interested in sharing their craft. It’s when chocolatiers invite you into their laboratories (which happened to me this morning, in fact) or a chef pulls you into the kitchen just because you’ve taken the time and shown a little interest. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, I stop whatever I’m doing (and neglect any plans in the immediate future), and stop to learn and listen.

coffee roaster clean coffee

Young sommelier de café and roaster Pierre-Jacques, took a look at the bag, stuck in his hands and grabbed some of the beans, immediately evaluating them by smell and by look. He said that this coffee would be best served prepared in a filter cone, and went off to ready the pot and the coffee.

green coffee beans checking the beans

While he was heating up the pot, the porcelain filter cone, and the water, he had the roaster going by the front door. He’d added a measured amount of green coffee beans and let it run until they were at just the right temperature and roast and at various intervals, the timer would go off and he’d bolt from his seat to check the progress of the beans.

The front door of the shop was propped open to allow some of the smoke to escape. But even so, sitting in the front room of the store, you really were up close to the beans. (So if you come, you might want to grab a seat farther away from the “action.”) But people came in from the street, intrigued by the roasting smell, to watch the metal arm of the machine cooling down the hot beans as they poured out of the metal roaster.

sampling coffee sampling coffee

We talked a little about what makes beans special, and how unfortunate is was that coffee was not as appreciated as much for the flavor in Paris as it is for a social drink – and for the caffeine buzz. Without any trace of snobbery, at La Caféothèque, coffee isn’t revered as something trendy, but as a way to connect to the various plantations, and as a way to appreciate beans grown by selected estates.

(That said, many of the coffees served here are more wine-like and sharp, rather than deep-dark roasted, which might be more to the local tastes, who prefer things équilibre.)

ground coffee in filter filter coffee

And sure enough after he prepared the coffee, he took a big, deep sniff in the tiny cup to ascertain the flavors. Barley and hops were present and since the coffee was not too overpowering (unlike French roast coffee, which are nearly incinerated and the name is said to come from over-roasting beans as a way to hide the taste of inferior taste of poor quality coffee from the colonies), it was interesting to pick up the small subtleties in the steaming cups in front of us while we sipped and chatted.

coffee roaster pouring coffee

Just last weekend, I’d taken a stroll over to La Caféothèque for a cup of coffee. When I got there, the place was absolutely packed full of locals sipping various cups and it was gratifying to see their shop doing well.

And today, what started as a get-together for coffee turned into an afternoon of tasting, and talking about roasting. But it was also a chance to get better acquainted with one of the little – and somewhat unusual – places in Paris.

La Caféothèque
52, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville (4th)
Tél: 01 53 01 83 84
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30am to 7:30pm

On another coffee-related note, I was making my way around the city this week and revisited a favorite, plus found a new coffee place. (Although it’s not really a “place” if it’s on two wheels. Or is it?)

The first time I went to the tiny corner coffee spot in the Passage des Panoramas and had an espresso, when Antonio Costanza handed over a small cup with just a tablespoon of dark liquid with a gentle froth on top, I knew I had found a man not only after my own heart, but one who came bearing authentic Italian espresso.

His coffee is shipped from Rome, and I’ve never been disappointed here. Well, I take that back. Once I came with a friend from Seattle, who was eager to have a good cup of coffee, and we arrived and the sold metal gate was nearly rolled down to the ground. I peered underneath and asked him if he was, indeed, closed, and he said yes. But he said he would be happy to make us both coffee. And he rolled up the gate and prepared us each a nice cup.

gocce di caffè

Gocce di Caffè (25 Passage Panorama) is open from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

A bit later, while wandering around the Bourse (stock exchange) on a sunny afternoon, I noticed something really unusual: an espresso machine mounted on a bicycle. Those of you who live in the United States and are now used to food trucks might not think this odd. But in Paris, it’s a definite first. (Although I have seen men who sharpen knives on occasion riding bikes, fitted with grinding stones, riding around town.)

velo cafe velo cafe

I spoke with the owner of Vélo Café, who is from Denmark, expressing wonder that I came across her, here in front of the stock exchange. She told me is was very (very) difficult to get the right permits to do what she was doing in France. And when I told her how fun it would be if she could have a stand at a market, she said “I’ve been trying. But it’s very (very) difficult.”

Aside from her moxie, I also admired her coffee grinder, which was substantial. To prove her point, she insisted I get in the seat and give the bike a spin around the square.

velo cafe espresso velo cafe

I didn’t actually go far – okay, I just posed because she wanted to take a picture of me on the bicycle – (or maybe she was trying to help me work off all that caffeine I’d had?) – but it was really fun running into her. And the coffee, while not as tight as an Italian espresso, was better than most of the coffee around town—and a huckuva lot more fun to order. She’s only there on weekdays, but perhaps one day you’ll find her at a market near you. Or better yet, near me.

Related Posts

Delving Deeper Into Coffee

Ciao, Illy

Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles

Coffee Parisien

Making Perfect Espresso at Illy

Where to get a good cup of coffee in Paris

10 Things I just Learned About Coffee

Joe the Art of Coffee

Pocket Coffee Haiku

(*I’ve written about this topic in a chapter in The Sweet Life in Paris, in greater depth.)


  • April 22, 2011 12:01am

    I love the ‘make coffee not war’ slogan!

  • April 22, 2011 12:09am

    What a great idea the Velo Cafe is! I wish I could say I am a coffee connoisseur but definitely not. More of a tea guru. The best cappuccino’s, however, that I cannot find here in Canada, has got to be those I drank in Italy. Most of them were great and it was rare you would be served a terrible cup. Starbucks on the other hand cannot measure up, no matter how I ordered it.
    Quelle domage!

  • April 22, 2011 1:06am

    This is the sweetest post about coffee from someone who takes her coffee black.

  • April 22, 2011 1:16am

    Calgary has been innundated over the last few years with “third wave” coffee shops. Most of them do make a fantastic cup of coffee, but yes, at times it gets somewhat elitist behind the counter, when all you want is a Ristretto….

  • Pat
    April 22, 2011 1:45am

    I scrolled through the pics first and noticed the hottie on the velo. Didnt realize that it was you behind those Foster Grants!

  • April 22, 2011 2:00am

    This is so interesting! I used to be more of a tea drinker and really getting into coffee recently even though caffeine doesn’t really do much for me.

  • Maya
    April 22, 2011 2:16am

    The question for me is do they make tea. ?

  • April 22, 2011 2:55am

    It’s a welcomed trend, for sure. Frenchies look at me like I’m crazy when I say “cannot wait to get back to NY for some good coffee.”

  • Wendy
    April 22, 2011 3:29am

    Cafeoteque means well. They concentrate on beans and roast, they make coffee with sincerity, and they want to teach. The problem is that they make the same mistake as everybody else in France– they grind way too coarsely. Tamping doesn’t correct for too-coarse grind any more than careful folding makes up for soggy half-whipped egg whites in a genoise. There’s simply a fundamental disregard of basic extraction principles in France. Too coarse = underextracted (watery, sour, blond– every espresso in France). Too fine = overextracted (bitter, burnt, rough).

    The Italians get that– the single most important M in the Italian saying about 4 M’s (translated from Italian, the grinder, the hand of the barista, the blend, and the espresso machine) is the grinder– which is why you get consistently good coffee there. Has anyone ever seen a French barista adjust the grinder setting after watching a shot pour? A cafe serre isn’t a finer grind to produce a thicker, more concentrated product. It’s the same watery mess cut shorter on volume.

    The critical role of grind holds for other methods, like French press. Too fine = overextracted, over-caffeinated. Get it right, though, and it’s delicious. Grind fineness x time divided by volume = extraction for any method.

  • Nancy
    April 22, 2011 6:41am

    I made the lemon semifreddo from your Ready for Dessert book. It was delicious. My family loved it! I actually had to guard the amaretti cookies from being eaten up before I used them for the cake (I baked them using your recipe too).

  • Attracting Abundance
    April 22, 2011 6:44am

    Ah! Coffee Heaven. This post will make me dream of coffee the whole day. Thank you for sharing.

  • Gavrielle
    April 22, 2011 7:36am

    Argh, don’t get a New Zealander (or an Australian) started on the subject of coffee. We are coffee crazy and VERY fussy. I read the other day that our capital city Wellington, with a population of 200,000, has seventeen coffee roasters (London has three). Which is all very well until we go overseas and try in vain to find a decent coffee! Luckily, some Kiwis and Aussies have opened cafes in London, which takes care of that, but France – oh dear. And I’m sad to say I’ve had a lot more bad coffee than good in the US, too. There seems to be a trend there for giant sugary flavoured drinks where you can’t even taste the coffee, and even the plain black stuff is too often sadly weak and feeble.

  • April 22, 2011 8:02am

    “It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, I stop whatever I’m doing (and neglect any plans in the immediate future), and stop to learn and listen.”

    You are a wise—and lucky—man.

    I spent a month in Paris 3 years ago and was shocked at the mediocre coffee (that I found) there. Glad to know the times they are a-changin’.

    BTW, your photos are really lovely, and so evocative of the artisan’s passion… to wit: the earnestness in the face of the “sommelier de café”.

  • April 22, 2011 8:05am
    David Lebovitz

    Gavrielle: Interestingly, some of the good coffee places opening in Paris are owned in part, or in whole, by people from Australia. Aside from all the great food I heard is down there, you’re fortunate to have good coffee, too.

    Wendy: One of the other reasons I don’t grind my own coffee is because when I was learning how to make espresso in Italy, I was told that unless you spend the money and get a grinder that’s similar in price to your espresso machine, you’re better off having your coffee ground professionally, where they can get it fine enough. (And have it packaged correctly, too.) And I’ve found that true, and only one brand available easily to me works well in my espresso machine.

    (And I stopped using a French press because the coffee was not good, and switched to a Bialetti for café au lait, in the morning.)

    Yes, I wince almost every time I watch a café barman make coffee (as mentioned, I talked about that in depth in my Paris book, I won’t go into it here again…) but anyone who is working toward elevating the bar of decent coffee in Paris, I’m happy to support.

    Pat: That’s me on the bike, alright! : )

    Nancy: Thanks– as mentioned, it was all impromptu and was a great afternoon. I was happy to share.

    celiac husband: I’ve been to a few of the coffee hotspots in the states, and while I appreciate all the care that goes in to making the coffee they serve, I don’t think all of it merits the hype. Perhaps I don’t have the taste for it, but I tried the $9/cup coffee prepared over a halogen lamp and it tasted like tinted water (at least to me.) But people like different types and preparations of coffee and it’s nice to have so many options now in America – and elsewhere…

  • Norine
    April 22, 2011 9:35am

    Interesting post as usual, David. Nobody is talking about bean source. I’ve found I prefer African and Indonesian coffees. Those seem to be more robust without being burnt/sour. For some reason New World coffees (often described as bright and fruity) are not nearly so interesting to me. Nothing worse than French roast Columbian – shudder. Yes, I agree with you regarding the morning clatter of a cheap grinder. I grind a few days worth (usually in the afternoons) and keep everything in sealed containers in my freezer. Hard to justify the big bucks for a grinder. Now I am going to read some of your other coffee posts – may learn something :-).

  • Kiara
    April 22, 2011 9:52am

    That looks amazing, but a coffee shop open at 09:30? Why so late? Is that normal in Paris?

  • JenniferB
    April 22, 2011 10:13am

    I too deplore the neglect of coffee in France: a curious a blind spot for a people so absorbed in good food. In fact I have given up having a coffee in town on my weekly shopping trip; just grab a macaron to take home and enjoy with the very good Fair Trade Papua New Guinea coffee from Carrefour.
    As for grinders, I too gave up on the idea of an expensive but correct electric grinder that massages the grains rather than cutting them. But did discover the excellent Swiss Zassenhaus hand coffee grinder (, also on Amazon) designed to fit snuggly between your knees (when grinding I hasten to add, not to store) and infinitely adjustable. Small to take with you when travelling in France.

    There are also the Dutch wall mounted coffee grinders but as your apartment is too small to swing a cat, it may also be too small to swing the handle. Or a good swing would bring down the wall!

  • April 22, 2011 10:18am

    How nice for the impromptu bean-grind and coffee-sharing! Stuff like that impresses me: genuine kindness and willingness to be open (both on your end and on theirs).

    I’m not super-picky about my coffee. While I certainly have had my share of crap expressos here in Paris, most times I am just seeking the caffeine and the cheapest thing on the drink menu (for an allongé still comes in under 3€ at most spots. I get the allongé so I can nurse a cup as long as possible, even if it tastes like poo). Still, I have also had the privilege of having really superior coffee by baristas and shop owners who are (often) elitist, very particular and careful about the beans, roasting, and preparation, and it is true that once you’ve had a decent coffee, it’s hard to go back.

    Sounds like La Caféothèque has that nice balance of intelligently and carefully creating a good cup, but without being snobs about it. Very, very cool. I, too, hope the trend continues, and next time I’m near the area, I’ll have to give it a shot (or, rather, have them give me one! :) ).

  • Lynanne
    April 22, 2011 11:46am

    David, thanks for your recent review’s on coffee roasters/shops in Paris. We’re doing a self-guided Velib’ coffee tour tomorrow and plan to visit several of these newer spots I have yet to try.

  • April 22, 2011 1:31pm

    Thanks for this lovely post about coffee! I’m both Mint Tea and Coffee drinker and can’t start my day without these two. Have a nice day!

  • AR
    April 22, 2011 1:40pm

    For those of you who have the time and means to go just a little outside Paris, there is a great coffee place in Saint-Cloud (15 minutes from Saint-Lazare), called Seggali. They roast their own coffee and are very carefull about the amount of water too. It’s worth a shot (so to speak). You will never be able to look at coffe the same way.

  • April 22, 2011 3:34pm

    This post just made my morning, as I sit here drinking coffee and reading about your Parisian coffee experiences. It really surprised me to hear that a lot of the cafes in Paris serve so-so coffee. Looks like you have found some lovely spots — I love the Velo Cafe in particular!

  • April 22, 2011 4:38pm

    Hi David- Nice meeting you on Wednesday after class with Cristina. I’ve sourced your book and blog quite a lot during my time here and I think my most favorite recommendation of yours has been the chocolate covered spiced almonds at DaRosa. That will be what takes up so much room in my suitcase when I go back. :)

    I’ve mostly been drinking tea here, as I only drink coffee on occasion so I like it to be extra good and have been spoiled by great roasters and baristas in the US! I will be trying a coffee at Caféotheque this weekend along with an Opéra au thé vert or possibly a black sesame eclair from Sadaharu Aoki. I also plan to head over to Atelier Marais for a vinyasa class.

    I think it has recently opened. (But you may know better than I). I’ll let you know how the teachers fare. For a class in English from the comfort of your own small flat you can check out my website where I have a library of free podcasts. There is a class for just about everyone in there- from those with injuries who need a gentle class to those who want to balance on one toe and stick their other foot into their ear. Sourcing podcasts has been helpful for me while I have been here since classes are so expensive! Yet the community aspect of yoga is so nice!

  • suedoise
    April 22, 2011 5:10pm

    Go to Darty and buy yourself an electric “moulin à café” for a mere 40 euros then go to your nearest “brûlerie” for finely roasted quality beans. Or go to
    Lafayette Gourmet on boulevard Haussmann and sit down at its coffee bar where you can have a cup of coffee from a rather grand assortment presented and also buy whatever has attracted your taste buds. Very knowledgeable staff.

  • fran laughton
    April 22, 2011 5:10pm


    pardon my sucky french, but every time I read one of your posts “je adore” you more.

    i usually schedule my annual Jan in Paris sojourn to include many of your suggestions.

    Good coffee has been notably lacking in all my trips.

    I’m well in to building my itinerary for next year, thanks to you.

  • AnnaZed
    April 22, 2011 5:23pm

    Being a displaced New Orleanian my challenge in Los Angeles is to find the coffee of my life (my life blood itself) coffee & chicory or café chicorée. What do you think about that very French concoction? In Paris it is easy to find in little tins.

  • suedoise
    April 22, 2011 5:35pm

    I am a bit confused about the use of the name of a small cup of coffee.
    French coffee is never spoken of or ordered as express or espresso, one merely asks for ” a small coffee” i.e. “un petit café” and if you want that extra strong
    you add “bien serré” as you order. ¨
    If a petit café is too strong then ask for café Américain which is un petit café diluted in hot water no fun to drink but a clever cheap way of resting as you walk around Paris. Certainly cheaper than beer, mineral water, wine.

  • April 22, 2011 5:37pm

    Since coffee isn’t a priority for most French people, how do they stay perky? Is there some other secret that have? : )

  • Linda H
    April 22, 2011 5:48pm

    My personal favorite is Sumatran coffee, and, fortunately there is a coffee roaster/shop near me, and, fortunately, they know what they are doing.
    As with your experience, I find the atmosphere does get too thick near the monster roaster in spite of a big vent system. The place is more pleasant and quieter when they aren’t roasting.
    Another plus is the Austrian lady making desserts back in the kitchen. She turns out cakes to die for. I guess I’m just bragging because it’s so rare to find such a place in rural Illinois! It’s very much not Europe here–except in that shop.

  • Stefan Winter
    April 22, 2011 7:21pm

    Hi David, next time you are stateside, try STUMPTOWN coffee. They are from Portland, OR, however, they have a few shops in Seattle and even Manhattan as well. Their organic blends are simply amazing. My favorite is Holler Mountain Blend and I’m certain they would grind it for you.

  • Melissa
    April 22, 2011 7:43pm

    David the absolute highlight of this post- for me- is taking the moment to politely ask and then graciously accept an invitation into someone’s “world”. This is the magic of living, abroad or in the same spot you were born. Be open, seek good things, and embrace them- then share. Thank you so much.

  • Thea
    April 22, 2011 7:47pm

    Such the cutie pie on the Velo Cafe bike, such the pose and grin! Lovely to see, thanks for sharing.

    You’re right about Australians knowing how to make coffee. When we visited Melbourne, at a small lunch bar the large express machine constantly was agoing and produced quite fine expresso.

  • a.o.
    April 22, 2011 8:17pm

    Good coffees and teas can be purchased by weight at at “La Brûlerie Obercafé” 58 rue de la Folie Méricourt Paris 75011.
    The “shop” actually looks like a warehouse but the selection is good and the prices very competitive.

  • zee
    April 22, 2011 8:54pm

    I have a very ordinary Braun grinder that probably cost around $20 and has had one broken blade for years. And it’s perfectly easy to grind to any degree of fine or course just by controlling how long I run it. Yes, it’s noisy, but when that matters I throw a towel over it to muffle it.

  • Bonnie Powers
    April 22, 2011 9:15pm

    Speaking of vélo à café—while in Warsaw we saw a “Barbe à Papa” en vélo!! (cotton candy on-the-go). Talk about weird!

  • leslie
    April 23, 2011 6:56am

    Hi David, love your blog! And I love this place also… so happy you wrote about it. And just an update on burgers in Paris, I really love Joe Allen’s cheeseburger, it’s the best I’ve found here in Paris. Cheers!

  • Skippy
    April 23, 2011 7:56am

    “It’s when chocolatiers invite you into their laboratories (which happened to me this morning, in fact)”

    Wait…what? Please tell me you’re going to give us details!

  • Jenny
    April 23, 2011 6:14pm

    I loved what you said about that impromptu experience when you show a little interest in someone who has mastery over their craft and they open up and invite you into their kitchen. Truly a magical moment and what a special person you are. I used to travel for work and noticed that when I asked my counterparts at other companies to talk to me about how they worked, they opened up to me and talked for hours even though they probably shouldn’t have. Sometimes we would become friends and have kept in touch over the years.

  • April 23, 2011 6:39pm

    Hi David,
    I thought that was you! Sophie and I were sitting outside the cafeotheque having, respectively, macchiato and iced coffee, when you came by the other day, but I was too shy to say hello and tell you how much I enjoy reading you. Lovely blog post about a wonderful place in Paris!

  • Karen
    April 24, 2011 3:16pm

    David–thanks for highlighting Le Cafeotheque. While in Paris for 10 day last May, I hunted this place down. I have made a career of coffee, and was delighted to find such a fantastic coffee experience in Paris.
    I was greeted when I walked in by, of all things, two American baristas who were working in Paris for a year. I returned every day to sit at the bar, and talk coffee, art, music, food and the like with the local regulars and the visiting baristas.
    Cafeotheque became one of my fondest memories from my trip.

  • April 25, 2011 5:32pm

    I had my first Italian espresso the other day, and it was fabulous! Just a tablespoonful of coffee, but incredibly intense. And this in a very ordinary bar in an ice-rink in the Dolomites! I didn’t try the espresso in the hotel after dinner – I prefer tilleul (tiglio) then – but my friends and my husband, who all take their coffee with milk in it (which is an awful thing to do to perfectly good coffee, I think) said it was lovely. Their breakfast coffee wasn’t just so nice, though, until this morning, when the machine they kept it in ran out and they made a big jug-ful for latecomers like me!

  • Maya
    April 26, 2011 3:08am

    I have never had a cup of coffee. I think it’s because my parents were such addicts and it brought back bad memories of my childhood. I like the smell of cafe. I never drank tea because I disliked it with sugar but when I was 19 discovered it “Russian style” Black and was mesmerized. I had both good tea and mediocre tea in Paris. Good in Mariage Freres and bad in Lauduree. I think I will stick to Rose wine in Paris this coming Septmember when I’m lucky enough to go back to Paris.

  • April 26, 2011 5:51am

    There is so terribly much of snootery about coffee anymore. It is interesting that you share what is good in France. I hate French Roast. That stuff will grow hair on your tongue! Anything robusta sucks. But it would be remiss of me to say BLEAH! without saying what I DO like. Thai coffee is wonderful, as is Jamaican Blue. I keep Spat Civet in my vault.
    All of this ballyhoo about coffee houses,…(I can’t believe you used the “g” word)… as much as I like the atmosphere of our local coffeehouse, I won’t even go there if it involves sitting down to a table to have conversation with a friend. The machines are loud and annoying and they never seem to stop.
    And I have yet to be impressed with the “baristas” at Starbucks. These people are rude. And when some punk kid still wet with diaper rash acts like they’re ‘it’ and I’m ‘sh*t’ because she’s a bonafied Starbuck’s coffee jockey, I just want to slap the snot outta her. They take on the pose and the attitude as if they were rock stars, too damned dumb to even know WHO the customer is. And…THEY DON’T CARE. With all the hype built around Starbucks, it doesn’t change that their coffee sucks. (Okay, okay, so, in my ‘opinion’ it does.) Best latte I ever had was off a coffee wagon on a university campus. This is sort of like how you can get the best tacos and burritos and tamales from the tamale wagon as opposed to the gringa food the restaurants serve up and pass off as authentic.
    The small cafe owner who adores coffee and romances the beans is the one I will always do business with. It starts with the gorgeous, oily beans….

  • April 27, 2011 1:20pm

    Hi David

    Yet another great-sounding place to check out when I’m next in Paris. Despite having lots of chain coffee shops here in London, we are lucky enough to have some really good independents. I’m pretty picky about my coffee and, for me, the long-standing’ Monmouth Coffee’ is still the best, closely followed by ‘Flat White’ on Berwick Street Soho. Recently we’ve seen a few good newcomers such as Nude Espresso in Spitalfields E1 and Prufrock at 140 Shoredtich High Street E1. This last one is perhaps the most interesting in terms of the care taken – it’s simply a man with a machine at the front of a mens’ clothes shop called Present but he’s also recently opened up in Leather Lane EC1. I haven’t yet spotted a cycling espresso vendor in London but we do have the classic Italian 3-wheeled vans which have Piaggio espresso machines in the back. The links below may help anyone coming to London looking for a good cup of coffee.

  • April 28, 2011 3:11am

    Dang, I always learn something new about French culture when I read your site. I’m surprised to hear they are just starting to make proper espresso. I assumed they were just as meticulous with their coffee as they are with everything else. Loved the trivia about “French Roasting”.

  • April 28, 2011 10:29am

    Gavrielle mentioned there were only 2 coffee roasters in London. Fortunately the situation is far better than that. I can come up with at least 10 within London off the top of my head and I’m sure there are many more. See my comment of 27 April for my choice of the best cups of espresso in London.

  • J. Theriault
    April 29, 2011 2:00am

    You know Davide, it may seem like a pedestrian act, at this point of the age of the web, to have a food blog. But I just have to say that your little excursions make this here man in San Diego very happy to be alive and in the present moment. Life can be a real bullshit ride sometimes and you just have to find peace and happiness where you can. Keep on doing what you are doing and just know that at least one soul is truly enjoying your perspective.

    – J.T.

  • Sasha
    April 29, 2011 4:49am

    The sack on the chair says that it’s coffee from the 2006-2007 crop. Is coffee kept around that long?

  • nina
    April 29, 2011 7:14pm

    My husband thanks you for this post. We just returned from Paris and he went to check out Cafeotheque the day before we left. He absolutely loved the ristretto and the fact that finally he found a good coffe place in Paris.

  • Gael
    April 30, 2011 12:58am

    It seems odd that the French put so much attention to all other aspects of food but seem to do the minimum when it comes to coffee.

  • May 2, 2011 12:48am

    Hello David,
    Thank you for this great post. Even if I’m a tea lover, I’m always searching for the perfect latte or a great cappuccino.
    I suggest you to discover this places, you’ll love their coffee!
    1. Le Bal Café: 6, Impasse de la Défense, 75018
    2. Kooka Boora: 62, rue des Martyrs, 75009 (great muffins also!)
    3. Espresso e Ristretto: 67, rue de Charenton, 75012


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