Brewing Something New: Some of the Best Coffee in Paris

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Café Lomi serves some of the best coffee in Paris.

It’s starting to feel like a routine to note that Paris has been getting significantly better at producing things it was once mediocre at. Craft beer, cocktail bars, cupcakes and friendly customer service are often cited as being among these. Excellent, expertly roasted and brewed coffee is another.

This is something of a surprise. After all, Paris stood at the epicenter of a blossoming European café culture from the 17th century, when the caffeinated drink became popular among writers, intellectuals and philosophers.

Famous denizens from Voltaire to Diderot reportedly fuelled their debates around human rights, monarchy and other topics by guzzling inhuman amounts of coffee at places like the Procope, claiming to be Paris’ oldest café.

Yet despite the capital’s long affiliation with intellectual heavyweights occupying café tables for hours on end, it also had a reputation for mediocre– or even terrible– coffee. Foodie types complained about overly bitter, scorched, grainy and lukewarm espressos served with a frown.

But as with so many other things, the city has turned that reputation around, at least in some places. Decades after its Anglophone counterparts started brewing top-quality coffee and training skilled baristas, it seems that Paris has finally woken up.

If you’re a discerning coffee drinker, this is all a welcome change. Sure, some may lament the abandonment of tradition, or the influx of hipster culture in the city.

But let’s face it: if you’re looking for a quality roast or an impeccably executed latté, you’ll want to read further. Without further ado, here’s where to find some of the very best coffee in Paris.

Café Lomi

An espresso at Café Lomi, Paris. Courtesy of Lomi/Official Facebook page
An espresso at Café Lomi, Paris. Courtesy of Lomi/Official Facebook page

Café Lomi diverges from the other gourmet coffee shops on this list in one major way: its location. Far from the scenic Seine river or the hip Marais district, Lomi calls the bustling neighborhood known as “La Goutte D’Or” (the golden drop) in the northern reaches of the 18th arrondissement its home.

Inside, you’ll find a charming space with an industrial yet cozy feel, friendly staff– and, most importantly– exceptional, house-roasted and brewed coffee. 

With appealing seating that includes some comfy leather couches, this can be a nice place to get work done– with one major caveat.

There’s currently no wifi on offer here. But when you’re working on a project that requires deep thinking and offline time, this can arguably be ideal.

I asked Barista Tom what makes the café special, and he immediately brought me to the back room to see the in-house roasting equipment, and then introduced me to the roaster himself, Paul. 

The two explained that Café Lomi actually emerged out of finding a great location to roast painstakingly sourced beans. It caters to a mostly French clientele, although all its baristas speak English. 

Read related: Idyllic Spots for Afternoon Tea & Pastries in Paris

They tell me that given the location in La Goutte D’Or, the café welcomes many random visitors who stop in unexpectedly and are pleasantly surprised by the wonderful coffee and tasty treats.

You can thus expect a more eclectic crowd here than at some of the more centrally located coffee shops in the capital. After you’ve caffeined up, head to the nearby Marché St-Ouen flea market to get a genuine taste for the area.

Getting There & Contact Details 
  • Address: 3 ter rue Marcadet, 18th arrondissement
  • Metro: Marcadet-Poissonniers (Line 4)
  • Tel: +33  9 51 27 46 31

Telescope Cafe

Télescope Café is a small, simple café on the outskirts of the Palais Royal in the ultra-central 1st Arrondissement. With a tiny menu and pared-back décor, Télescope puts the spotlight on its coffee, which is exceptional. Although no longer roasting its own coffee beans, this café imports high-quality beans from around the world.

My café filtré (filter coffee) was made using a pour-over, and took about five minutes to be ready. For this reason, you may only want to order it if you have a bit of spare time.

There are about four tables where you can enjoy your coffee, and outside lies a tiny, makeshift terrace. Heaping bags of coffee beans, coffee-making devices, and granola are for sale on a shelf next to the counter should you want to continue the trend at home.

There are also a few nibbles available should you get peckish, but we recommend you come for the coffee rather than for the food.

Read related: The Best Things to See & Do Around the Louvre Museum

We recommend enjoying a café crème in-house while perusing the morning papers (they have all the best Francophone ones available). If it’s a nice day, you may even wish to grab your drink to go, and head to the adjacent Palais Royal for a stroll through the lush gardens and covered galleries.

Getting There & Contact Details 
  • Address: 5 rue Villedo, 75001 (1st Arrondissement)
  • Metro: Pyramides (Line 7, 14)
  • Tel: +33 1 42 61 33 14

Lockwood

Coffee served at Lockwood is sourced from the much-lauded Brulerie de Belleville
Coffee served at Lockwood is sourced from the much-lauded Belleville Brulerie

From the brothers who created the much-buzzed-about coffee shops Belleville Brûlerie, Ten Belles and Le Bal comes Lockwood, an ultra-hip café and cocktail bar located in the old textile district known as Sentier.

Situated in close range of the pedestrian-only Rue Montorgueil area. Thomas, Olivier and Christophe Lehoux have taken the coffee and cocktail world by storm, curating a flurry of cafés and bars around Paris and Sydney, Australia.

Related: Have a Cocktail or Brunch at Breizh Café Montorgueuil

Lockwood is the latest project of the latter two brothers. It serves as a café and sophisticated breakfast place during the day, and a spot for cocktails and aperitifs (before-dinner drinks) come evening. 

Drop by in the morning for a truly excellent cup of coffee roasted and brewed by the family’s very own Belleville Brûlerie (also highly recommended, by the way). The breakfast options are elaborate, delicious and simply beautiful to look at, too.

Approaching the coffeehouse, you’ll walk through a small terrace with two fur-topped birchwood stools and a striking table that appears to be fashioned from a tree stump. Fittingly named, Lockwood features a wood-heavy, warm aesthetic that continues throughout the interior.

Getting There & Contact Details 
  • Address: 73 Rue d’Aboukir, 75002 (2nd arrondissement)
  • Metro: Sentier
  • Tel: +33 1 77 32 97 21

Café Strada

Café Strada is a tiny, charming coffee shop tucked away on Rue du Temple at the edge of the Marais. The space is decidedly unpretentious, with eclectic furniture, local artwork, and a busy front counter.

The coffee is made with beans from local roaster L’Arbre à Café, and is simply delicious. You can also choose from a great daily selection of tartines, salads, and baked goods. 

My favorite thing about this café (besides the coffee) is probably the rustic wooden basket that sits on the counter filled with an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Choose any combination of them for a freshly squeezed juice.I talked to barista François to find out more about Café Strada. He told me that the coffee shop has a largely expat clientele with a very Anglophone feel. 

The staff of talented baristas is comprised of Canadians and Swedes, and you can feel free to order in English. Café Strada is a great place to stop by for some java on your way to the Centre Georges Pompidou, which is just a block away.

Getting There & Contact Details 
  • Address: 94 rue du Temple, 3rd Arrondissement
  • Metro: Arts et Métiers, Rambuteau
  • Tel: +33 1 44 61 09 28

Also check out the nearby Officine Universelle Buly, an apothecary and café designed in an old-world, throwback style that’s irresistibly glamorous. It also serves (in our humble sense) some of the best coffee Paris has to offer.

A strong, good Americano or "café allongé" at the Grand Café Tortoni, Paris. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved
A strong, good Americano or “café allongé” at the Grand Café Tortoni, Paris. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Café Loustic

Cafe Loustic owner, London-native Channa Galhenage, in front of the Paris espresso bar. Instagram post.
Cafe Loustic owner, London-native Channa Galhenage, in front of the Paris espresso bar/Instagram.

Lined with red tiles imported from Sevilla, vintage Hermès wallpaper circa 1960 and exposed brick, Café Loustic is a North Marais espresso bar that can certainly claim stylish cred. Take a seat here in one of the comfy booths clad with plush pillows and swinging tabletops.

Seasoned coffee expert and owner Channa Galhenage (pictured above in a recent Instagram post) says he made sure that Café Loustic offers top-quality coffee beans, and the drinks do not contradict his claims.

My café crème was decorated with elaborate latté art, and the freshly baked snickerdoodle was the perfect snack.

Galhenage, a London native, sat down with me to explain his vision for Loustic: a union between French “café culture” which celebrates the social aspects of drinking coffee, and the traditionally Anglophone “coffee culture” which celebrates the coffee itself.

Beans are sourced from Belgian roaster Caffènation, and the espresso is “always” a single-origin microlot. There’s also a special blend roasted specifically for milk-based drinks, and between two to four single-origin coffees specially for filter.

The selection is frequently changed up, so what you get during a first visit won’t necessarily be on offer the next time you pop in. And that’s part of the charm, of course.

Et voilà: a café that offers both top-notch drinks and the perfect ambiance for a good chat. You could be tempted to stay for hours, but know that you may be asked to put your laptop away should the café get crowded.

Getting There & Contact Details 
  • Address: 40 rue Chapon, 3rd Arrondissement
  • Metro: Arts et Métiers, Rambuteau
  • Tel: +33 9 80 31 07 06

Honor Café

Honor Café, Paris
Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

We discovered this tiny courtyard café while roaming recently around the fashion-drenched Faubourg Saint-Honoré district. In an area where coffee tends to cost a gazillion Euros (ok, we exaggerate a bit) and not necessarily fantastic, it was a delight to happen upon Honor.

Head inside one of the area’s intimate courtyards to enjoy coffee from this tiny purveyor, owned by the English-Australian couple Daniel Warburton and Angelle Boucher.

They source beans from local, much-lauded roaster Coutume to offer deliciously simple, well-made brews. The house-blended coffees are equally excellent, as are the homemade cakes and other light snacks served with a smile from the stand.

In the summer, perch in the semi-open back seating area to enjoy a moment of quiet — and some superbly roasted and brewed coffee. You can read our full review here.

Getting There & Practical Info
  • Address: 54 Rue du Faubourg St Honore, 75008 (8th arrondissement; walk through the doors at street level to access the inner courtyard and café)
  • Metro: Madeleine or Miromesnil
  • Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Closed on Sundays.
  • Email: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on About.com Paris Travel. It has been updated and expanded for accuracy.

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