Before I arrived in Paris, I had grand ideas of French coffee. I was certain that it had to be better than American style, because I distinctly remember Europeans harassing me for American "brown water" coffee. The fallacy of this logic, however, is that it was Italians poking fun of American coffee, not the French. I remember the look on my host-mother's face this summer when I handed her a bag of my favorite Blue Bottle coffee, Three Africans. My heart broke first when she hardly looked at it, and it broke completely when I realized that after a week of instant coffee breakfasts, my cherished arabica blend had been thrown out.
It was then that I realized the French are lost when it comes to coffee. Watery espresso, instant coffee, and giant cafe vending machines rule the roost here. Fortunately, a coffee movement is happening in a few cafes in Paris. Cafes that serve both a balanced smooth espresso and bright flavorful drip coffee are difficult to find, but they are here. I frequent some a bit too often, even if it means traversing the city. I am not a critic, I just like good coffee, and I bet there are other Parisians that do too.
photos courtesy of dave bloom