Coffee drinkers, take note. The coffee list in typical Parisian cafes is depressingly brief. There is the ubiquitous cup of cafe, i.e. espresso; a long black i.e. Allonge; or a cafe creme, weakened by lots of steaming milk (but usually only ordered in the mornings). There is next to never an iced coffee, prompting my ex-roommate and her boyfriend to request a trip to Starbucks after spending days in iced coffee-less Nice. No latte, no cappuccino, no complicated mocha-mint-raspberry concoctions. Given how difficult it is to find a cappuccino in the city, much less a well pulled one topped with a flourish of latte art, I’ve been very happy with my orders at Coutume Cafe.
At this specialty cafe, the owners-cum-baristas pull expert shot after shot of espresso, fragrant and flavorful, neither acidic nor burnt, capped with golden crema. Ask for a milky drink and you get the added bit of artwork, nothing fancy, a leaf or a heart, but far prettier than the cups at most other places in the city. Besides espresso drinks priced at standard city prices, they also serve siphon-brewed coffees at a premium, the delicate process at which steam is slowly forced through coffee grounds and then re-condensed allowing the flavors to become sweeter, more nuanced. For home-brewers, Coutume also sells coffee beans, roasted in-house -the fragrance driving me nuts- to go.
While one can quickly down a shot in hurry, the cafe is a place that encourages lingering. The space is airy and quite bright, there is free wifi and good music, the baristas are super nice and good at what they do, and for the peckish, one can pick from a selection of pastries (some from nearby patisserie des reves) or the simple lunch fare, supposedly quite delicious in its own right. Sigh… If only my apartment was closer, I’d be here everyday!
Coutume Cafe: 47 Rue de Babylone, 75007, Paris