Sunday, January 18, 2009

La Caféothèque de Paris

A visit to La Caféothèque, by your traveling reporter, Jazzy Jeff

Every time I go to paris, there is only one address to go to for my cup of joy. It’s a little gem known as la caféotheque, on the banks of the seine river, right in the middle of the city. The service may be a little bit slow but it’s what’s in the cup that matters to me. The experience is akin to that of a wine bar, of course we’re in France, so that would be normal.
There’s always a café du jour, this time it was a special Yirgacheffe. I ordered a lungo and espresso. One of the owners and Barista Gloria uses a Rocky grinder (why not a better one?) and a La Marzocco machine to pull the coffees. Once prepared she sets it up on a neatly designed ceramic tray and serves it with some cookies and water. “Bonne degustation!” she says with a smile.
Wow, this is how coffee should be drank in France, at least in the future, or at least for specialty coffee. The taste of the lungo: clean, red berries, flashes of acidity, some chocolate. The espresso, as expected a little bit harsh and sour, not because the extraction was wrong, but because the beans were roasted on the light side. Any bean they have in store can be selected for a tasting, and they have quite a lot. I counted at least a dozen, because of the owners; mostly Guatemalan.

Their selection (- a few) when I was there:
Brazil: Fazenda Samambaia
Columbia: La Ceja Supremo.
El Salvador: Escocia Harry, El Jocotillo, Finca El Zapote.
Ethiopia: Limu Organique Kemal Abdelia.
Guatemala: Antigua Classic, Pulcal, Rainforest Coban, Chitul-Tirol, Volcanic San Marcos, Barrancas, Fraijanes Plateau, Santa Ana.
India: Monsooned Malabar.
Kenya: Gethumbwini Estate.
Rwanda: Région Butare, Mugombwa.

All were aptly described.

The store featured a small 1, 2 or 3 kg roaster. Which is almost constantly in operation, it also features a little gene roaster for samples. Bags of green coffee adorn the place and give an almost rustic feel, there is a solid connection with the raw natural material.

Gloria said there were tasting sessions for anyone who is interested in knowing more about coffees. In our conversation she mentioned that she experimented with the participants by making a blend and comparing it with all the single ingredients of it. Her belief and argument was that a blend always deludes the flavors of the individual components. Needless to say the shop only serves single origins.

Paris is a difficult city for coffee, I call it the capital of robusta, thank god for this diamond in the rough.

Thanks Jeff for the post.
The adress of the Caféothèque is 52, Rue de l'hotel de ville, 4ème arrendissement.

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