Is coffee becoming the new wine for Parisians?

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
Is coffee becoming the new wine for Parisians?
Photo: AFP

Forget tasteless espressos on a Paris terrace. The capital is taking the coffee trend seriously. But for how long?


It seems a new specialty coffee shop is popping up on every street in Paris these days.
And the attention to good coffee is long overdue, says Australian Tom Clark, the co-founder of Coutume, one of the top Paris cafes according to Google, TripAdvisor, and just about every blog post on the topic.
"When I came to Paris in 2006 I was expecting great coffee," he said in an interview with World Radio Paris
"But it was probably the worst coffee scene on the planet, barring Antarctica."
Listen to the full interview below, including Clark's take on the best coffee in Paris, when a coffee is too expensive, and his blind taste test.
Paris relied on its beautiful terraces, but needed a change, something Clark introduced with Coutume, which has since opened in Switzerland and Japan. 
And since, the city has steadily seen more and more specialty cafes springing up, offering a focus on filtered coffee, "cupping" tasting sessions, and admittedly more expensive drinks. 
And Clark sees big things for the French coffee scene, comparing it to the rise in the interest in wine.
"Wine has done an amazing job at valuing itself and that's where we are going with coffee. Fifty years ago in France, to my understanding, there was vin rouge, vin blanc, and you could use a bit of water to make it more or less drinkable," he said. 
Photo: Coutume Cafe
"That's not the case anymore. Any supermarket has amazing wines. And you see on the wine label the tasting notes, its varietal, its terroir, its producer. If you look at a specialty coffee packet you will get all that," he said.
So will the French keep lapping up the new wave of coffee, or will it prove to be nothing but a trend?
"I think we are going down the specialized path. Our generation wants to know where something has come from, how its made, why you did this,” Clark said.
"The snobby hipster approach may work for a little bit but it’s got a shelf life."


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