We made two significant discoveries over the last two and half weeks.
Max: How about coffee? You like coffee?
Lorelai: Only with my oxygen.
Discovery #1 – The Coffee is Bad
Seven days and 3 hours into our trip, I realized — the coffee is bad. I sort of knew this (in that I had heard this before), but I didn’t know this, internalize it, and appreciate the emotional toil this would take on someone who drinks coffee morning, noon, and night and has a relationship with it that is somewhat akin to how vampires feel about blood. It’s mostly espresso with one flavor profile: bitter. This is typically sweetened, which then elevates the flavor profile to bitter, with an unpleasant sweet aftertaste. It’s not enjoyable to drink, but boy, do I look great drinking it outside in a café. This Slate article does a nice job of explaining this bad coffee phenomenon in France.
Discovery #2 – The Coffee is Good
Seventeen days and 2 hours into our trip (and all of that time without a proper cup of coffee) — we discovered, sipped, and relished two amazing cups of coffee. We were heading toward the completely unmemorable sight of the Roman arena in the 5th arrondissement and stumbled upon what appeared to be a cute, seemingly-legit coffee house – Strada café. Being the adventure-seekers we are, we went for it.
First, the space is lovely – cute wooden tables, decently spacious, and lots of windows. We had a cup of filtered coffee and a cappuccino. The filtered coffee was the highlight – I was so struck by seeing something that resembled a simple, good cup of coffee, I held the cup right up to my face, stuck my nose in it, and inhaled deeply for about 15 seconds before taking a sip. It was fragrant and flavorful. The cappuccino was also delicious and topped with mood-appropriate foam art. While sipping, we did a little a research on the coffee situation in Paris. It seems that Paris does have a burgeoning craft coffee house scene, so there is hope. We will certainly do our part in supporting this movement. We also came across this aptly-named site that will help us in our coffee quests.