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New Paris Coffee Scene Reflects the Third Wave’s Arrival

April 17, 2011

It’s not that Parisians don’t drink coffee. After all, they gave us the “French roast” and the “French Press”. Though wine is the savored beverage in France, coffee is rapidly making inroads on that turf with a third wave coffee perspective that is growing coffee bar by coffee bar. Fueled by baristas from Australia, Canada, Guatemala and the US, the new appreciation of artisanal coffee starts with attention to the beans, the machine used and the ambiance of serving a beverage emphasizing its unique merits. In the past and in many of the traditional French coffee shops, coffee serves as a cheap after-meal drink which allows a café goer to sit and enjoy the Paris views long after the meal. So the lattes are traditionally made with Robusta beans of less than fresh quality, roasted with little attention and thrown into a machine to the cup - hardly an artisanal espresso. Today a coffee lover in Paris is learning that coffee’s characteristics can be likened to the appreciation of fine wine. The former Guatemalan ambassador to France opened a café two years ago and started the wave rolling. Baristas took 30 hours of training, creating a new profession for France. Now there are trained baristas in newer cafes and latte art competitions are being held. Yet with all this, the traditional “industrial roaster” still sells 2,426 cups of coffee daily and feels little threat. Many Parisians, like Italians, also stand at a bar on their morning jaunt to work and gulp down an espresso, not pausing to savor its flavor. Once they taste the better flavors of the gourmet coffee espressos, things will change. As one customer quoted in the article stated, the traditional cafes are avoided and she now even has her own coffee machine. That watered-down brew is a thing of the past, as she has definitely caught the third wave. In Paris, it’s only a matter of time.






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