Food Critic Victoire Louapre on Paris Third-Wave Coffee
It was several years ago that influence from Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and North America took hold of the Paris coffee scene, resulting in the establishment of speciality coffee shops, independent roasters and a complete redefining of Paris' relationship with coffee. Food critic, Victoire Louapre shared with me her insight about this development and the shift in Paris' coffee culture.
I don’t drink coffee myself, but I’ve witnessed its development here in Paris. The Parisian coffee used to be an espresso, served at the comptoir for a few « Francs » or drunk at terraces along with a cigarette. Parisians weren't drinking coffee for the sake of coffee, it was an excuse to be gathered together, it was an easy drink to share in the company of friends, or even to be drunk standing at the comptoir in the morning while reading the paper. Coffee was a means to an end.
Now, people drink coffee as connoisseurs, they treat it like wine: pure blend, multi blend, different ways of extracting and/or serving it… And a sociological separation between those who know how to drink it, and the rest.
Some spots have become particularly famous for their coffee (Telescope, Fragments…), along with producers (Belleville Brulerie) and some restaurants even make their own coffee (Café Compagnon for Encore, Richer, and 52 Faubourg Saint Denis).
The price of coffee has really gone up, but interestingly not everywhere. In the bourgeois neighbourhoods of West Paris, the price of coffee is high but it is still cheaper than all other beverages on the menu. On the contrary, some places (such as the ones listed above) have very expensive coffee even though they are in more popular neighbourhoods — but always in «bobo» areas, which is the center of gentrification.