November 28, 2012
On a recent Culturefish “Must Do” walking tour around the center of Paris, our guide Pierre enthusiastically described a major turning point of Parisian culture. During the Age of Enlightenment, the city was a hotbed of thinkers and politicians who were getting hyped up on a new drug being served around town: coffee!
The famous Café Procope, Paris’ first café, was serving this new, caffeinated beverage to the likes of Voltaire – rumored to have consumed 40 cups of coffee a day – among a star-studded cast of other enlightened historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Rousseau, Diderot, and Robespierre. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 7 Comments »
September 28, 2012
As I parked my Velib on a rare sunny afternoon in Paris, just steps from the Canal St Martin, I could already tell I was in for a treat. I made my way up charming rue de la Grange aux Belles to the narrow storefront of Ten Belles, snuggled next to a lush, overgrown plant store (le Bleuet Coquelicot). I highly suggest a peek inside… adorable!
Ten Belles, this brand new Paris coffee house is a collaboration of the team behind Le Bal Café and Frogfight organizer, and well known Paris barrista, Thomas Lehoux. It’s intimate ambiance and focus on refined and meticulously cared for coffee make it the perfect stop for coffee enthusiasts, even attracting other known Paris baristas on their days off. Ten Belles served up one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had in Paris, and the charming baristas make it all the sweeter. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 12 Comments »
April 18, 2011
We’re a bit obsessed with Paris’ budding coffee scene as of late. At the heart of it all are the Frog Fights, where Paris’ best baristas compete to show off their brewing, frothing and presentation skills. This month the event took place at Coutume Cafe. Our girl about town, Sara Rahman, has the inside scoop. Stay tuned for the location of the next event! -Geneviève
Earlier this month, an eclectic crowd bulged from the seams of Coutume Café, the host of Paris’ 9th monthly Frog Fight barista competition. Cameras clicked, wine glasses clinked, and at the center of the huddle, 25 or so baristas took turns in pairs behind a gleaming espresso machine, shuffling to execute caffeinated masterpieces as quickly and elegantly as possible.
Certainly not the first item on the menu to tempt the flocks of foodie pilgrims seeking sensory nirvana in Paris, coffee is usually an afterthought in traditional French dining. Sort of like the benediction rounding out a Catholic mass: essential, yes; transcendent, only if your priest/server is endowed with certain god-given qualities rarely found in the earthly realm.
Fortunately for Paris and all of us who pray for mercy each time we encounter the flat, soupy stuff that passes for espresso in some of this city’s finest restaurants, something interesting is brewing in our back alleys. In the past couple of years, several hip coffee shops have popped up around town, surprising their easygoing clientele with something other than the atmospheric qualities French cafes always get right: really good coffee. The Frog Fight is part of this trend.
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Posted in Events, Food | 7 Comments »
April 15, 2011
Erica Berman is a serious coffee drinker. No joke. Long frustrated by Paris’ less-than-stellar coffee scene, she is overjoyed to see that some serious brewsters are finally taking hold of Paris. Be sure to check in next week for our review of Frog Fight, the buzz-worthy (and caffeinated!) competition where Paris’ best baristas battle it out. – Geneviève
Cappuccino from Coutume Cafe – Erica Berman
I don’t drink coffee in Paris. Why should I? It’s expensive and mostly bad and the waiters are often surly and unfriendly. No self-respecting coffee drinker should have to subject themselves to overpriced Parisian sludge served with a sneer.
I long ago gave up on the idea of great coffee in a sunny café by the Seine, and content myself to home brewed beans, leaving cappuccinos and friendly cafes for Italy.
Happily, changes are taking place in Paris. Just as the artisanal baguette was reborn after a long period of low quality bread on the Parisian bakery scene and interesting types of non Lipton tea are popping up in shops and cafes around the city, all of a sudden good, even great, coffee has arrived and a pro-artisanal coffee movement is on the rise, albeit only in a select few Parisian spots. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 58 Comments »
May 2, 2009
Photo Erica Berman
Despite my recent tirade and blog post ranting about the poor quality of coffee in France, I am pleased to announce that I recently had a fabulous cup of coffee in Paris. It was a coffee surprisingly worthy of any I have had in Italy, right in the heart of the Marais! Last Saturday after being jostled about in the Merci boutique (had to check it out – and found it overrated, overpriced, and overcrowded even if for a good cause, but lovely!) my friend Francoise and I made our way to the Marais and ended up at Pozzetto gelateria on rue du Roi de Sicile.
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Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 5 Comments »
April 9, 2009
Photograph: Alain Ollier
Considering how much coffee Parisians drink, it’s high time they started drinking it right. And now they can, thanks to La Caféothèque, a cozy coffee sanctuary located in the 4th arrondissement. Owned by Gloria Montenegro Chirouze, the former Guatemalan ambassador to France, La Caféothèque combines a mellow atmosphere with a sophisticated and principled approach to importing, roasting, and consuming coffee.
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