Tasty Things to Do in Paris: Third-Wave Coffee
I recently read that the French philosopher Voltaire allegedly consumed between 40 and 50 cups of coffee a day. In a world where most of us drink exorbitant amounts of the black potion—to load up on caffeine rather than to savor its taste—Voltaire’s addiction, while excessive, wouldn’t have aroused much attention. But third-wave coffee, a movement emphasizing the quality rather than the quantity of what we drink, has recently come trickling into the cups of savvy American aficionados. At the core of this revolutionary coffee culture lies hyper-artisanalization, or perfection of every production step, from growing to serving, as well as an emphasis on contact between growers, roasters and processors. Additionally, quality beans and on-the-spot (micro)roasting produce every cup of java third wavers sip on. Over the past few years, a handful of new spots in the Parisian café scene have begun brewing this gourmet breed of coffee (and adding to the list of tasty things to do in Paris), which would certainly have been too delicious for the coffee-addicted Voltaire to have resisted!
5, rue Villedo, in the 1st Arrondissement. 01 42 61 33 14.
Open Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.; Sat–Sun, 9:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
In early 2012 this Franco-American duo joined forces to finally bring top-notch coffee to Paris at Telescope Café, a markedly minimalist third-wave java joint in the 1st Arrondissement. The concise menu avoids distracting from the true star of the show: carefully selected, expertly roasted coffee served perfectly to coax out even its most subtle pleasures. Coffee nerds and caffeine addicts alike can rejoice over the low prices (café, 2 euros; crème, 4 euros), competitive with any ol’ street café. If you’re looking for Wi-Fi, you’re out of luck. Why not grab a sip and claim a bench in the nearby Palais Royal instead?
47, rue de Babylone, in the 7th Arrondissement. 01 45 51 50 47.
Open Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat–Sun, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Given the area’s large concentration of expats, it’s no surprise that Coutume Café has taken root on the rue Babylone, just a few blocks from the chic Bon Marché. A chipped-paint aesthetic and industrial-meets-shabby-chic decor dominate the café’s interior, stuffed with Anglos and Frenchies alike working away on laptops while sipping on some of the most refined coffee in town. Now and then, small crowds of businesspeople pop in for a gourmet espresso at the bar. Patrons can consult with a staff of helpful baristas when deciding between the signature vacuum or drip brews.
24, rue des Vinaigriers, in the 10th Arrondissement. 01 40 35 90 77.
Open Mon–Sat, 9 a.m–7 p.m.; Sun, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Like Coutume, this spot showcases the high-impact combination gone viral in coffee shops of the world: quality coffee and solid Wi-Fi. You wouldn’t know from the packed workstation, located in the backroom of the sleek black-and-white interior, but making yourself comfortable with your laptop comes at a high price—8 euros, to be exact. On the other hand, as the name suggests, coffee served here isn’t a commodity but a craft, a distinction that each sip will reveal. Don’t want to stick around? Get your coffee to go and embark on a walking tour of the canal Saint-Martin.
10, rue de la Grange aux Belles, in the 10th Arrondissement. 01 42 40 90 78.
Open Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sat–Sun, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
It’s no wonder that renowned Frenchie chef Gregory Marchand recommends this coffee stop as one of his top three bons plans in Paris. The cutesy hole-in-the-wall reminiscent of a wooden box offers one of the city’s best culinary coffee experiences sur le pouce—not to say that patrons can’t hunker down for some serious reading in the fun-sized interior. But there’s no Wi-Fi here, so it’s best to leave the laptop at home. An ever-changing menu of tasty snacks, baked goods and fun variations such as iced coffee supplement the exquisite coffees.
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