17 April 2011

Finally, real coffee in Paris

About 12 months ago, I wrote about New Yorkers finally getting the real taste of coffee, with Australian baristas from Melbourne, which has a well-known cafe and coffee culture, sharing their expertise.

AFP (through France24) has reported that Paris is now finally getting 'gourmet' coffee, also courtesy of experienced Australian baristas. Excerpt
It's famous for its sun-kissed sidewalk cafes, but Paris has lagged well behind New York, London and Sydney as a Mecca for connoisseurs of fine coffee -- until now.

Gourmet coffee bars and small-batch roasteries are popping up in the French capital, introducing locals to thick rich espressos, artful lattes and the idea that a cup of Joe can be savoured like fine wine.

"Coffee is a big part of the culture" in Paris, said Tom Clark, co-owner of the Coutume Cafe, which recently became the city's newest coffee bar and specialty roaster when it opened its doors on the Left Bank.

"It's just that it's not been respected... It is a living product. It has to be handled with care."

Driving the trend is an entrepreneurial network of young expats like Clark, an Australian living in France for three years who grew up on artisanal coffee, and well-travelled French contemporaries like his business partner Antoine Netien, a champion roaster in Melbourne before his return home.

"Before I went to Australia, I was drinking coffee with no idea how it was made," said French bartender-turned-barista Thomas Lehoux, who now mans the coffee machine at Eggs&Co, a hip Left Bank brunch spot.

"Most French people don't have any idea that coffee can be like wine."
Read more. It may come as a surprise to many people that despite its cafe society, the coffee in Paris is not that good at all.  It would be much the same in Germany, where the coffee is also 'industrial' served with cream and sugar.

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