Jun 14, 2012

Where we had coffee in Paris

Ah, coffee. Often when I'm traveling, one of the biggest things I miss is how easy it is to get a great cup of joe in NYC. We had been warned that the coffee (mostly espresso) in Paris was overall pretty terrible and that it'd be hard to get just a plain cup of drip. Looks like we got quite lucky on our first day. I used Yelp (forgive me) to find Télescope as it was just a hop away from where we were staying. If you recall, we were basically barely conscious at this point in our trip - coffee was in dire order. As soon as I saw the little aqua-colored espresso cups and saucers, I perked up.

Then we noticed the fancy pour-over device (that we've only ever seen before in the dearly departed RBC in NYC and please, can I have this built-in my kitchen one day) and REALLY perked up. We knew we had to come back. The only slightly confusing thing was that we ordered macchiatos and they tasted more like what cortados do here. Hey, I love cortados so that's fine. We chatted with Nicolas, the owner (?), and learned that the cafe just opened about two months ago. He gave us recommendations for other cafes and mentioned he loved Abraço here (!!). Clearly, I trusted him after that fact. :P I also loved that we bumped into the same people the few times we went; it felt like the perfect neighborhood spot. It also felt like the ex-pat spot as we heard much more English than French any time we were there.

One note about all these photos - I brought in photos from my iPhone, Contax 645, and 5Dmkii, so apologies for the inconsistency. It's driving me a little crazy.


Now, Le Bal was a bit of a trek for us, but we headed there one morning for coffee and brunch. We got some Chemex (shhhemex as they say there) and I think I had some sort of ham/egg/cheese sandwich. I think one thing we also noticed was just how leisurely everyone (staff and cafe-goers alike) is at Paris cafes. I've gotten so used to the pace here that if I feel like things aren't running quickly or efficiently, I get pretty antsy and uneasy. I mean in NY, at a busy brunch hour, the wait staff would be rushing you out the door, but there you can really take your damn time.


On that same day we had brunch at Le Bal, we wandered over to Kooka Boora (or I think it's known just as KB now). The menu was quite extensive - you can get regular drip, clever drip, aeropress, french press, syphon, and even a "degustation" of three different methods. Of course there was a long espresso drink list as well. We enjoyed sitting outside for a bit and trying to recover from our brunch food coma.


On our last day in Paris (aka the day J was still hungover from Ledoyen and we were on our way to L'Arpège), we made a quick detour to Coutume Café. The space was lovely but we couldn't stay for long.


Whew that felt like a serious mega-post. We did have some bad coffee along the way, but I won't be sharing those here. Overall, I'd say these places did us quite well and if you can only make one of these on any of your future trips to Paris, do go to Télescope!

33 comments :

  1. all of the wanderlust is consuming my soul! beautiful.

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  2. oh man. the one at Coutume, that first one with the bokeh redhead barista, is just downright dreamy! you should put that in your etsy shop ;)
    glad you had a good trip!

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  3. Lovely photos! You make me want to visit Paris again so badly!

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  4. thank you for this post alice, this is so great. lots of beauties here! :)

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  5. Your coffee posts are my all time fav! Love the photos, can't wait to go to Paris!!! *Sigh* Someday.

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  6. amazing :) thanks for sharing these wonderful places!

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  7. Great photos and addresses! I also published a list on my site with the top 10 (only 10 I shoudl say) places to drink a real coffee in Paris: http://frenchforfoodies.com/best-paris-lunches/top-10-paris-coffee-spots/

    Cheers,
    Rachel

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  8. Gorgeous!! You and your coffeeshops :)

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  9. Love coffee love Paris but what i would really love is an explanation of what all these assorted weird and wonderful coffees are as well as an explanation of what the different methods of making them are i'm totally at a loss!!

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  10. stop it. all this is making me crazy to go see this Paris loveliness for myself. so, so pretty! xx.

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  11. This looks fabulous! A dream alive via these pictures :)
    Eat Cake

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  12. the french seem to really take their coffee drinking seriously. these are some beautiful spaces and even though i'm not a coffee drinker, i would still love to just sit down in one of these and people watch.

    leyla.

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  13. *Sigh* So much beauty. I can almost smell the coffee.

    Putting Telescope on my list!

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  14. Oh, and I forgot to say that coffee shops in Portland are super serious about their brews but super laid back too! Come visit! :D

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  15. PAIRS + COFFEE = DREAMS :)
    xoxo

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  16. wow love the photos, I'm totally in love! I'm a big big fan of coffee since my 3 years old (but no, my parents never allowed me to have coffee before 17). For me I need a proper expresso, short, creamy and tasty after lunch (Italian way). I don't like filter coffee, only if I don't have anything else. Then I love lattes and cappuccinos all the way through. In London for instance the coffee is a nightmare, it seems black water from cleaning the machines, the only thing "decent" is the black coffee from Cafe Nero, and the lattes from Costa or Starbucks.
    But what I miss from Paris is really the gorgeous and delicious croissants!

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  17. Just a correction here as I worked at Kooka Bourra - it is owned by a Frenchman, Nicolas; not Aussies.

    Have to say it though - as much as the cafés look good in the photos, I still haven't been to anywhere hipper than Stumptown at the Ace Hotel in NYC.

    Australians like to show off about their coffee, but the American independents beat them overall hands down.

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    1. Thanks for that correction! And interesting that you feel Americans do coffee better. I have only heard good things about coffee in Australia but haven't had a chance to compare first hand yet.

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    2. I forgot to mention that the photography is really stunning - love it - a real talent.

      I've had coffee in both the USA and Australia, and the American independents win hands-down. And the Americans are so humble about it too, which is actually a little weird to us non-Yankees used to Captain America chest-beating.

      I'm betting that France will become the n° 1 country for specialty coffee within 5 years (though no-one believes me yet). This is because French culture is so predisposed to the wine culture that is almost identical to it, and everyone here drinks black coffee.

      I hope there'll be a few more good cafés open you can photograph (for a future coffee table book?) on your next visit...

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    3. I'm going to have to agree with Channa. I was just at KB cafe shop yesterday and I was quite underwhelmed by their coffee. My husband and I decided to try give this place a try after reading so many raving reviews but we were sorely disappointed. The taste of their flat white and cappuccino were indistinguishable, both tasting like room-temp milk with not even a hint of espresso. If that's what australian coffee tastes like, I think I'll stick to French espressos.

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  18. Oooooohhhh, I want to go RIGHT NOW.

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  19. Lilliana
    You need to broaden your horizons re London we have amazing coffee shops in every borough stop being smug and lazy and go and find them.

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  20. Great post...love the boys at Coutume and I love coffee!! Paris is starting to have a little coffee boom and about time!!
    Carla x

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  21. Beautiful pics and thanks for sharing all the great spots. Now I just need to get myself to Paris!;)

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  22. I've been to Paris more times than I can count but I'm seeing it from a different perspective through your eyes. My photos can't even come close to yours! I check your blog regularly for inspiration. A girlfriend and I are heading back to London for a quick overnight trip. I'll definitely see if we can squeeze Telescope in!

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  23. It's a shame I didn't get to any of these places when I was there. I always found the coffee to be terrible! Thanks for sharing your photos

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  24. thanks for all the recommendations next time I am in Paris. loving these lovely spots

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  25. your paris pics are incredible not to mention delicious. pretty sure i am going to to stop in at the places you mentioned
    in the october!

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  26. Sigh. Coffee and Paris, two of my favorite things.

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  27. I adore Télescope, but didn't know the two others. Thank you for sharing!

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  28. love the photos ! very useful list as I'll be going to Paris soon :)

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