After making it through high school and six years of university without succumbing to the allure of caffeine, I thought I was home free. Then I moved to Paris.
It was 2007 and I was 27. After catering a student film and surviving a misguided foray into PR for an electronic rabbit, I landed an editorial project manager position with a boutique communications agency. Like all good French firms, the company provided its employees with tickets restaurant—a kind of subsidized voucher that can be used in place of cash at restaurants, boulangeries and other places where prepared food is available. Like all good French employees, we went out for lunch all the time. Following every meal, everyone but me would finish with un café. It’s so de rigueur that every once in awhile, despite my best efforts, I’d end up with an unordered espresso in front of me. Rather than strain my limited French with an explanation to the server, I took the easy way out and (quite literally) sucked it up (availing myself of all the sugar provided naturally). Before long, I was deliberately ordering and eagerly anticipating the post-lunch espresso (sans sucre).
Fast forward to 2013 and I am a full-blown addict with an admitted tendency toward snobbery. The Pacific Northwest will do that to a person. Fortunately, Paris has upped its coffee game considerably over the past five years. Although there will always be a place in my heart for an over-roasted, poorly extracted café en terrasse, today you can find high-quality beans and top-notch baristas at a small (but growing!) number of coffee-focused spots in the city. Here are five of my favourites:
5, rue Villedo
47, rue de Babylone
53, avenue Trudaine
10, rue de la Grange aux Belles
Black Market Coffee
27, rue Ramey
Order like a pro
If you want an espresso, order un café.
If you want an americano, order un café allongé.
If you want a filtered coffee, order un café filtre.
If you want an espresso macchiato, order une noisette.
If you want a latté, order un café crème.
Find your fix
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