About a year ago, I visited Paris with my daughter. This I have written about here. Since then, I’ve met up with some of the key players in the Paris coffee scene both in Sweden and in Vienna. Chris, who then worked at Kooka Boora, came to stay in Stockholm for 6 months, and made a pretty big impact on the Stockholm scene as a barista in the Kafé Esaias crew. And David, then at Le Bal, I saw perform a Tamper Tantrum talk on this years WBC, on the Paris coffee scene. Besides that, I had drinks with the Coutume crew at the La Marzocco party in Vienna, so the Paris scene has probably outside Stockholm been the one I’ve been most up to date with, and thus mostly keen on returning to (the others being Berlin and Perth).
First stop on my Parisian coffee crawl was the much anticipated Telescope Café, situated very close to Opera. This could be one of the most slick and minimalistic cafés I’ve seen, but still with a hell of a lot of soul and very inspirational! The quiche were brilliant and the coffees just beautiful! Everything seemed like a designers dream, however presented very casual! In many ways, I find Telescope to be sort of the opposite spectrum of Revolver in Vancouver (if that makes any sense at all), however as inspirational!
The main reason for me to go across town, up to La Gare d’Est, was to meet up with good mates Chris and Thomas. At Ten Belles, it was really pumpin’! Ten Belles is owned by Thomas Lehoux, who I have had the pleasure of meeting at several occasions. Thomas is one of the friendliest dudes in the industry, and the place reflects that really well! Chris, mentioned earlier, was here too working the machine and serving us Swedes some super delicious coffees, roasted by Telescope! Had a lovely homemade pie before heading up to Le Bal.
Le Bal has shifted coffee from Café Lomi to Has Bean. Not that it made any difference to me, as I ordered a glass of wine. Chris girlfriend Emelie was working, so we had the opportunity to talk Swedish and ask about tonights dinner in Montmartre. It was nice seeing Le Bal again, and I will definitely return for coffee on my next visit to Paris. This time around, it was poor timing for us though.
As the night time took us out to party and quickly turned into morning before we hit the suburbs and the bed, it wasn’t until late morning we found ourselves in central Paris again. I really wanted to revisit Kooka Boora (now named KB Café), the place where my daughter had the pancake breakfast every morning, where I met the friendly baristi and had some wonderful juice. This time around though, I took my girlfriend to a semi packed joint where the people behind the counter didn’t really seem to know what they were doing. There was nothing vegetarian available, so I ordered an espresso and a cappuccino and sat myself outside waiting. Some good fifteen minutes passed as our Swedish friends also had found their way there. Realizing it was too much of a wait, they ordered take aways, and left shortly afterwards. Me, I asked for my drinks two times before I left the place half an hour later, ending up getting nothing. By then, it was only half full and they still didn’t seem to know what they were doing. Very sad, and annoyed, I never want to set foot there again.
Instead, for coffee I went to Coutume. Now, outside there was a huge line. And it didn’t seem to move fast. So after a few minutes, I saw a Japanese coffee tourist move to a stool at the bar, so I followed his steps. Before doing so though, I asked the guy at the line if Antoine or Tom were around, the two guys who owns Coutume. The answer was no, but he wanted to know if I was Jesper, and if so my visit was expected! This really blew my mind! I sat down at the bar, and had a chat with the two friendly baristi from Iowa. I was presented two solid and consistent shots of espresso before heading to Palais de Tokyo, but as I was sipping it, I thought about how great it was to see a café have a line on a Sunday, and noone seemed to be minding the wait, but rather anticipating a really good time! Then I said goodbye, and left with a smile! Paris café culture seems to be really happening!!
There was one place I wanted to go, but didn’t have time to this trip, and that was the new space of the Café Lomi crew! Also, last night Antoine of Coutume was flooding instagram with pictures of a new place in town, so there are lots of things happening in Paris, and I am extremely exciting to be going back next summer for an extended stay! In many ways, I find Paris more interesting than London these days! And bare in mind, I do love London!
NP: Lifelike Sequencer