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A couple weekends ago, my friend Maggie and I road tested a rockin’ brunch place in the 7th arrondissement called Coutume. We couldn’t have been more pleased! Surprised by their reasonable prices (considering the area), the great food, and almost scientific coffee, the whole brunch experience ended up lasting a good three hours!

Coutume’s specialty is by far their coffee. Roasting the beans themselves, they have a large selection of pain-stakingly chosen coffee beans that once roasted, are used to produce their coffee beverages which are prepared in four different ways: expresso machine, siphon (very strong), conical drip, and the very rare cold drip apparatus. For coffee conoisseurs, there isn’t anything else like this in Paris, so a definite must!

However after a coffee or two, if you have the tendacy to get the jitters like Maggie and I, you might want to sit down and enjoy the 3 course 20 euro brunch. A to die for home-made muesli with apple compote and fromage blanc starts it off in addition to freezed squeezed orange or grapefruit juice. The next course can be a standard eggs and bacon with potatoes, or variations with salmon, or a breakfast burrito. Everything was just delicious and the service was unprententious and helpful, always a plus!

The ambiance, with its beaker water carafes and clipboard menus, was halfway between laboratory and trendy resto. With plants creatively growing out of sinks, bags of green coffee beans lining the back, unfinished paint on the walls, and a large roaster, one gets the taste of the craft and science involved in making good coffee while enjoying a warm luminous yet slightly industrial atmosphere.

Coutume welcomes the coffee drinker with his or her newspaper (or should we say iPad these days?), so don’t feel obligated to brunch if you just want to hang out at the coffee bar or study. We saw several people in there who were simply enjoying a great coffee while websurfing or reading! So give it a try, experiments in this “lab” are always a success!

Coutume

47 rue de Babylone

75007, Paris

http://www.coutumecafe.com/ (site in progress)

So you have probably heard of a salon de thé, but what about a salon de café? While coffee in your regular Parisian bistro is usually rather good (in comparison to American coffee which the French have tastefully labeled jus de chaussette, or sock juice) there is a place in Paris that is specialized in the art of coffee. It’s called La Caféothèque, or also known as Soluna Café.

I went awhile ago with my friend Tenke (who is a coffee freak), and who before arriving in Paris from Geneva, had researched the best places to get an expresso. Never without her coffee high, we began a coffee crawl that led us to La Caféothèque where we decided to promptly end the crawl and indulge in the myriad of choices there.

Located on along the Seine, it can be easy to miss, as there isn’t a big sign and no tables outside. Once you step inside though, you know you have arrived as the smell of coffee greets the nostrils. Coffee is everywhere in every sense. Grinding coffee can be heard, roasting coffee can be seen etc.. With the occasional live music and a small library, La Caféothèque is a relaxing place to enjoy great coffee from the four corners of the earth.

We ended up buying a bag of coffee, a very special kind for the coffee connoisseurs, called Jacu bird coffee. The owner, a fascinating elderly man that was full of stories, let us have a free cup before purchasing it, which obvious sealed the deal. Jacu bird coffee needs some convincing… considering that the beans were predigested by the Jacu Bird before being pooped out and then picked up or “harvested” to make our coffee….

Again, a must for coffee aficionados!!

La Caféothèque

52, rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville
75004  Paris
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