Till the Bitter End

Till the Bitter End

posted in: Food & Drink, Ordinary, Paris | 4

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.

Strada Cafe

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.

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4 Responses

  1. Oh I am sorry you had to wait that long to find your perfect coffee! The left side coffee in the pic looks great! That’s exactly what I was trying to make the coffee looks like the other day by shaking the milk bottle and produce a foam 😉 Glad you found that place. Enjoy it!

  2. I have certainly had a pleasant day dream or two where I was simply enjoying the afternoon at a small outdoor table in front of a French cafe. I’m sorry to hear the coffee is a little hit or miss, but I’m happy to hear it’s on the up swing! Do the cafe’s at least tend to have free WiFi? Are the pastries/cafe food at least, generally good?

    • You may enjoy knowing that it’s pronounced (wee-fee) here, which is adorable. I have rarely tried at one of those outdoor cafe joints, but have seen it available in several of the coffee houses and restaurants we have been to. There are also a lot of public places where the city offers it for free. We also haven’t tried a ton of food from the outdoor places – have mostly gone there for just coffee or drinks. We’ll still need to work on that and let you know.

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