Percolating in Paris: A New Coffee Scene

For a long time, the prevailing opinion of visitors to the French capital has been that the coffee in Paris is terrible. Well, it may be time to revise this long-running truism to “coffee in Paris was terrible.

This Fall has seen a veritable avalanche of openings (HolybellyBelleville Brûlerie, Fragments, Fondation, Coutume Lab) that have enriched the city’s specialty coffee scene with brews that are crafted by trained baristas using freshly roasted high-quality beans. And the local offer promises to get even better with upcoming launches of Lockwood and Rêves des Abyssines. So why are our cups of good coffee now running over like never before?

What To Expect When You’re Cupping

Cupping is an intimate act.

Sniffing, slurping, then spitting one’s coffee in a room full of strangers is an easy way to look crazy, unless one is standing at the tasting table at Belleville Brûlerie. Then it is not only acceptable, but encouraged as part of the cupping process.

The table plays a key role. Cupping, the process coffee professionals use to evaluate the quality of coffee beans and analyze flavors and aromas, requires a lot of glasses and therefore, a lot of space.

Beaujolais Nouveau Death March: Our 2013 Report

Having already taken on the unprecedented challenge of publishing (and thereby endorsing) a detailed guide to Paris’ best Beaujolais Nouveau parties, the editorial team decided to put its money where its Mouth is and attend as many as possible in one night.

Meg Zimbeck called it “the Beaujolais Death March”: a tipsy trek from the 14ème to the 11ème. Along the way we met winemakers, shared bottles with strangers, used car roofs as bars, and, completely by accident, obtained actor Willem Dafoe’s opinion on Beaujolais Nouveau (“I prefer full-bodied reds,” he said, before ducking into an anonymous café in an unsuccessful bid to avoid paparazzi).

The Redemption of Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau is rather like gin – people who won’t touch the stuff usually have a legendarily bad story to tell involving a harrowing experience with the worst product imaginable. At its worst, Beaujolais Nouveau is indeed something less than a wine, a creepy under-aged creation of greenish grapes rouged up with sugar and sulfur. But just as the last two decades’ international cocktail renaissance has redeemed gin for many drinkers, so too does Paris’ booming natural wine scene contain the redemption of Beaujolais Nouveau – a quaff that, at its best, is a dashing, sun-dappled débutante of a wine, a pristine and lively beverage whose unseriousness is a big part of its charm.

Des Gateaux et du Pain Opens on the Rue du Bac

DGDPDes Gateaux et du Pain has just opened a new location at 89 rue du Bac. That’s two doors down from Pâtisserie des Rêves, a short amble from the chocolate mousse bar at Patrice Chapon, and a few steps away from prune Armagnac ice cream at Le Bac à Glaces. You 7ème-ers are some lucky bastards.

In Bûche de Noël season there is already a line of hundreds to pick up cakes at Pâtisserie des Rêves. With a rival Bûche pusher setting up a few meters away, we expect the sidewalk to completely collapse.