Where to Drink Specialty Coffee in Paris

13 December 2013

Wine, cheese, coffee and pastry- the bedrock of most idyllic Parisian holidays. And while the city delivers on nearly each of these crucial comestibles, they’ve fallen terribly short for years when it comes to the swill masquerading as coffee. That’s right, le café has been much maligned (I’ve alluded to this HERE and in this interview) and with good reason – the beans (typically Robusta) tend to be substandard in quality and over-roasted; the machines are old and ill-managed and the baristas are either poorly trained or completely indifferent (or both). I can no longer count on two hands the number of times I’ve been served espresso that had been sitting at the bar, completely forgotten in the shuffle of other orders (or in many cases, conversation that distracted the waiters), only to have it arrive cold and undrinkable. If you’re used to drinking watered-down coffee in your hometown – and this is by no means a reproach; the average home-brewed coffee seems to naturally produce a weak, tasteless product -you may not find Paris coffee that offensive. I started drinking coffee upon moving to Paris but it was really only once I traveled to London and New York, homes to […]…

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Paris Restaurants: the Barista List

26 September 2012

When I look at my monthly budget, over 50% of my finances go toward dining out. Blame the plethora of food options in Paris or my depleted inspiration in the kitchen, restaurant hopping has become a regular part of my urban lifestyle. Given that frequency, I confer with friends and café owners whose opinions I value for personal recommendations – as much as I try to stay abreast of new openings, there are  many under the radar, less publicized spots that I miss. Two of the movers and shakers whose tastes I trust are Nicolas Clerc and David Flynn of Télescope, my favorite and regular coffee shop (get the lowdown on them in my post HERE). They are part of an army of talented baristas who have helped to perfect the palates of a new breed of coffee connoisseur and have subsequently found themselves elevated to near celebrity status. And if their filtered coffee and flat whites are any indication, they know what’s good in and out of a coffee cup. In fact, it’s not unusual for Clerc and Flynn to serve up pitch-perfect restaurant recommendations to regulars and occasional out-of-towners. But where, precisely, would they go for a bite on those rare occasions […]…

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Télescope Café

23 April 2012

As if anyone needed another reason to spend time in the neighborhood surrounding the Palais Royal and its gardens, my favorite new coffee shop is mere blocks away. At Télescope, Nicolas Clerc (photographer-barista) and David Flynn (expert barista formerly of Le Bal) peddle the kind of exceptional coffee that makes bean connoisseurs everywhere reconsider Paris as a suitable stomping ground to fuel their obsession. Of course it helps that these two apt roasters have equipped their earthy, rue Villedo café with first-rate machines. They are the first in the city to use the Über Boiler from Irish brand Marco which precisely regulates the quantity of water and temperature necessary to produce a consistently perfect, flavor-locked brew or infusion. My first visit was two days after they opened for business, right at 8:30am. I was so impressed by the machinery and their poised expertise that I immediately felt compelled to imbibe myself with what would turn out to be an inordinate amount of coffee. I began with the sumptuously rich crème and a toasted Poujauran tartine topped with jam for a breakfast so sublimely simple and delicious I mentally scheduled my next visit on the spot. Then just as I looked […]…

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