Years ago, I didn’t like coffee. Non. After working nights for a couple years it became a necessity, but only in the white chocolate peppermint mocha variety. As more time went by, I put less and less into each cup. (A lot of this was based on availability). Visiting Paris I always had espresso. It was necessary and a good excuse to use a WC. Then I was gifted my Nespresso maker…and I forgot all about the café served in Paris.

Living in Chicago has really spoiled me as well. There are so many places, Intelligentsia, Filter, the Wormhole (to name a few) that make outstanding coffee. Most of the time, it’s so good you can drink it black. Well balanced, and not too acidic, depending on the variety.

When I arrived in Paris almost three months ago, with my dreams of sitting in cafés, and people watching, I knew in the back of my mind that the coffee wasn’t all it could be. It all came back to me: these are not Italian espressos. This being said, I usually always have an espresso after meals and they can be quite good. Usually it’s a good sign if you see Illy as the brand of coffee they are using, but not always a guarantee.

So, I made a point to find some really great coffee* in this lovely city. I have followed many recommendations, and I decided to post several that I agreed with. 🙂 Enjoy! 🙂

Le Caféothèque
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This café, which overlooks the Seine, gathers coffee beans from all over the world, and roasts them on the premises. The front of the cafe is for the coffee bean roasting and grinding, as well as where to get some to take home. As you go in, the space seems to have expanded. There is a lounge area, so you could sit in a large group, if lively discussion was needed. And then the second part is more the table and chair variety. The decoration was very eclectic, and seemed to reflect the origins of the coffee. 20121121-220011.jpg20121121-220020.jpg
When I sat down, I found the menu covered the corners of the world. I decided on coffee from Guatemala. Espresso first, and then a cappuccino.** I wasn’t going to have one, but as this menu shows you, the proportions of espresso were higher. 🙂 Never knew…:) 20121121-220506.jpg
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The flavor was really great, strong and complex. That’s about all I know. 🙂 I’m not an expert, I just know it was good!!

Kooka Boora

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One of the winding cobblestoned streets leading to Montmartre is the storied Rue des Martyrs. Atop this street, overlooking Place Lino Ventura, is a wonderful place called Kooka Boora.

It’s a café that serves Australian coffee. I know. Well, I know nothing…it this is Australian coffee, then I need to import some of their coffee beans! It was absolutely fantastic. The service was wonderful. It is the same price to drink at the bar or at a table!

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The slice of ‘carrot cake’ I decided to try was out of this world. (Or maybe just 23 hours away by plane? 🙂 ) It was a cross between a spice cake with the grated carrots, and without frosting. The ginger lingered and it was pitch perfect for the fall afternoon.

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Café et Thés Verlet

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This lovely café is right on the Rue Saint Honoré. It is near the Palais Royal, and has been a coffee roaster since 1880. You can put together bags for take away, and they sell many varieties of tea as well, but I was on a coffee specific mission.

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The coffee beans are presented in an extensive menu. They are ground on the spot, and then your drink is made. I chose a blend from Kenya, and it was really well done.

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Love the little leaf saucers. 🙂

Coutume Café

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This café, in the 7th, looks like a smaller warehouse that is a laboratory.

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It has a long bar area, and all of the devices are on display for coffee making. You can also get your own beaker of water. Awesome.

20121121-231759.jpgThe prepare it four ways: espresso machine, siphon, conical drip and by an apparatus that makes cold-drip coffee. Apparently it is a long process, but the best way to extract the flavors from the beans.

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Of all the coffee they sell, (packaged into bags with labels of periodic table elements!) their proprietary blend is not for sale. I tried to get my hands on it, but it was explained to me that it’s a mix of many of the different coffees. I will have to develop a more sophisticated palate and conduct my own experiments. 🙂

So, in conclusion, after all the places I tried, these four made my list. Kooka Boora made the best coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life. I enjoyed getting a choice at

Le Caféothèque and Café Verlet, but I don’t know enough about coffee… However, Café Verlet gets points for decor with Coutume Café, who also gets points in my book for bringing so much science to the making of good coffee. 🙂

*At each place, I tasted an espresso first.
**Dairy and I are friends again!

Le Caféothèque
52 Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville
Metro: 7 Pont Marie

Kooka Boora Café
62 Rue des Martyrs
Metro: 2 or 12 Pigalle

Café et Thés Verlet
256 Rue Saint Honoré
Metro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre

Coutume Café
47 Rue de Babylone
Metro: 13 St-François-Xavier or 10/12 Sèvres-Babylone

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