As I was walking along the Seine today, I thought I smelled baking bread. Strange, I thought, I didn’t think there were any bakeries around here. And what bakery is baking at 4pm? Then, a few steps later, the smell was stronger. And stronger. Ah, not bread at all. They were roasting coffee beans at La Caféothèque, and the smoke was trailing out into the street. I could smell it from blocks away.
Just before I moved to Paris, my gay best friend Miko gave me a ceramic pour-over coffee maker to bring with me as a farewell gift because, “You won’t fucking survive without coffee.” Almost as soon as I arrived, I bought a small grinder – the best from Corporate Coffee Systems. The problem: it was a bitch and a half to find whole beans, let alone quality whole beans, in Paris. You would think that a town with as rich a café culture as Paris would have some decent joe, but sadly, not so. Most espressos you find have that burnt, watery, flat quality that comes from pre-ground beans and hastily pulled shots.
Thank god for fellow coffee drinkers. A few friends recommended La Caféothèque, which, loosely translated, means “library of coffee.” Not only do they pull the best shots in town, with a crema that you can balance a teaspoon of sugar on for oh, five seconds, but they have a wall full of single-origin beans that they carefully roast in-house, available to take home. Their foam is tight and rich, their baristas are kind, and the space is huge (by Paris standards), beautifully lit, and always lively with conversation in several languages.
52, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville (4th)
Tél: 01 53 01 83 84
Music to sip by: Awake My Soul [Mumford & Sons // Sigh No More]