In my previous post, I made a big deal out of the fact that Paris has some sort of phobia for good quality coffee. However, there are some bastions of resistance to this collective coffee apathy. One such place is La Caféothèque, a small roaster/cafe just off the North side of the Seine. The location is good, but it is hidden. It is only a short walk from L’Hotel De Ville and very central.
The passion of the staff is obvious, even accounting for the language barrier (most of them speak varying degrees of English). All the coffee served is roasted on the premises and as such there is plenty to choose from, however, I opted for the coffee of the day, a small-bodied Guatemalan number which was nevertheless quite wily. An overall pleasant filter, that I would not have been disappointed with in a more coffee-friendly city. I had to wait a bit for my V60 (vee-soixante), but the barista was very kind and came and offered gave me a complimentary latte for having to wait. The latte actually struggled to shine, and I feel like the espresso failed to come through adequately (but it was free, so who cares!).
The ambience there is like any of the best in London, but much calmer and more chilled. There is something of a nice residue of the Paris intelligentsia with patrons reading and making notes in their notebooks. However, the inspiration from the English-speaking coffee culture is obvious as several filters are on offer (see the picture of the menu).
The barista here gave me a lot of information about the embryonic coffee culture in Paris. They have been roasting for years, but barely even make enough coffee to cover their own needs. They don’t sell to other coffee shops in Paris (a system that sustains London coffee culture) but they sell to some restaurants in France. From my short experience of their beans, I think they’re doing incredibly well, especially considering they are a somewhat isolated venture in Paris.
La Caféothèque website (in French)
Le Caféothèque photo blog on Rachael Khoo’s website that proved most trustworthy for finding coffee in Paris. In English, written by a wonderful food writer.