Around Paris: 7th: Coutume

11 09 2011

Coutume from the street

Though it’s only a couple of blocks from the much-lauded Grande Epicerie, Coutume‘s location on a nondescript portion of the rue de Babylone makes it feel further off the beaten path than it actually is.  Combine that with the mostly Anglophone staff and the artfully unfinished, postmodern-meets-neoclassical décor, and you’ve got a Parisian coffee shop that would be equally at home in New York or London, if not more so.

Coutume interior

I, for one, am glad that it’s here in Paris.  It’s pretty well documented that I am a tea-drinker, and the selection of organic teas here make me very happy.  They also take great care, serving each tea in its own individual teapot, with instructions about how long to let it steep for optimum flavor.  But I can appreciate a well-made cup of coffee, too, and Coutume has those in spades.

Café au lait

It’s actually something of a coffee-geek’s paradise, with single-origin beans roasted to perfection on the premises, and your choice of any brewing method from espresso to 24-hour cold infusion.  The most entertaining by far is the one brewed on these steampunk-y contraptions:

coffee contraptions

I watched the little one on the right with fascination as it boiled water, forcing it up into the beaker on top, at which point the barista poured in freshly ground coffee.  The coffee then slowly drips back down through a filter.  Nick pointed out that this method actually ends up brewing the coffee with just-below-boiling-temperature water, the better to extract the delicate aromas without overcooking the coffee.  Sounds good to me.

three mini-pastries

Coutume serves food, too.  The breakfast formule, with three mini-viennoiseries (croissant, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins), hot beverage of your choice (coffee, tea, or hot chocolate), and a glass of freshly-squeezed juice (orange or grapefruit) is a decent buy, especially for this neighborhood, coming in under eight euros.  They also have a more elaborate brunch menu, with eggs, bacon, and the like, and they serve organic sandwiches and salads for lunch.  For dessert, you can choose between pastries from La Pâtisserie des Rêves or ice cream from the Raimo cart in front.  (I haven’t been back since they re-opened for the rentrée, so I don’t know if this is a year-round thing or a special treat for the summer months.)

A place that takes coffee seriously is still a rarity in Paris, so I feel lucky that Coutume is only a short metro ride away from my apartment.  And we should all be glad that it’s open seven days a week, because what is Sunday without a leisurely cup of delicious coffee?

On this day in 2010: Like Flies to Honey?

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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23 responses

11 09 2011
Michel

I don’t live in Paris but have been there quite a few times and it is definitely rare in my experience to find such a coffee shop. I don’t go to Starbucks here and so I certainly wouldn’t go in Paris. We frequently stay in the 7th so I will add this to my folder for future Paris trips. Thanks for sharing.

11 09 2011
researchingparis

Wow – that place looks fantastic. And like a great meet-in-the-middle for Sunday brunch for you and I. What do you say? Next Sunday? :)

11 09 2011
David

I keep meaning to go over there. Wish they would open a place on the Right Bank!

11 09 2011
Christy Heflin

I love Coutume and have been a fan since their opening night. The guys that work there are warm and extremely knowledgeable about all different aspects of coffee. Their torrefactor (Antoine, I believe) has explained so much about coffee, from how to brew better with my moka (boil the water before putting it into the bottom reservoir so as not to overheat the grounds) to biodynamic coffee farming. These people really want to teach people about their passion. It’s a hike and a half for those who live on the right bank, but boy is it worth it!

12 09 2011
Fiona

Am sending this link on to my friend recently moved to Paris. She can’t speak in the mornings until she’s had at least two short blacks in rapid succession!

13 09 2011
Lynn

You’re talking about coffee, right?

20 09 2011
Kiki

;)

12 09 2011
Hannah

That steampunk-y coffee does sound wonderful! Good enough to make me ignore your mention of ickysquidgyraisins :P

12 09 2011
Chez Loulou

Love the look of this place! It reminds me of a place I used to go to in Seattle. I’ll meet you there in November! :)

12 09 2011
croquecamille

Michel – We recently, in a bout of desperation, bought a bag of coffee beans from Starbucks. The coffee tasted notably worse than any we’ve bought at local roasters here in Paris. Lesson learned.

researchingparis – Let’s do it!

David – I think you’d really like it. Now that you mention it, though, they’d probably do very well in the 10th, or the less touristy bits of the Montmartre hill.

Christy – I agree. Their passion for coffee is evident, and it’s definitely worth the trip.

Fiona – I think your friend will be happy to know about this. :)

Hannah – I don’t like raisins, either, but they managed to be tolerable in a warm-from-the-oven pastry.

Loulou – It’s a date!

13 09 2011
Jessica

Ooh, I’ve sort of been hooked on this place too! How come we’ve never run into each other?!?

How about another go and scheduling another rendez-vous??? Next week?

13 09 2011
Lynn

And when in Lyon, don’t miss the cutest café similar to this — La Boite à Café http://www.cafemokxa.com/content/2-la-boite-a-cafe — where you aren’t sure if you’re in a great coffee shop or in a science lab. The owners are an adorable married couple from France and NZ who we had lots of fun talking to and learning from while visiting.

15 09 2011
Lindsey

David – their goal is to open one on the right bank :) Tom, the Australian co-owner/founder would love a spot in the Marais (who wouldn’t?).

I love this place – the service is friendly and it gives me a reason to trek over to that part of the 7th (and make an obligatory stop in La Grande Epicerie, let’s be honest). I TOTALLY agree with you that it could easily be in NY or London (or even Philly!) but we’re lucky to have them in Paris. I haven’t tried their brunch yet but that’s on the schedule for this month.

15 09 2011
croquecamille

Jessica – Yes, let’s do that soon. I’ll email you.

Lynn – Thanks for the tip!

Lindsey – Ah, yes, La Grande Epicerie is hard to stay away from when you’re that close. :)

17 09 2011
hungry dog

Sounds like a nice spot! I’ll have to add it to my list for the next trip…

17 09 2011
Ann

Wow! A new place serving delicious “steampunk” coffee that’s right under my very nose?! Thank goodness I read your blog, Camille. You know my neighborhood better than I do!

17 09 2011
croquecamille

hungry dog – And when might that be? ;)

Ann – Well, I happened to find one place… I only just realized the other night how close you actually are to the Grande Epicerie!

20 09 2011
Kiki

this place just went on my ‘go to’ list…. sounds delightful – although it’s not (too) hard to get GOOD COFFEE (and I am talking espresso here sorry folks) but it’s not ‘God given’ either. So, any place who serves good stuff, deserves to be visited and praised.
thank you so much!

20 09 2011
croquecamille

Kiki – This place definitely deserves praise and visitors! :)

10 10 2011
Meg

I’ve been meaning to go here!

11 10 2011
croquecamille

Meg – Do! :)

16 10 2011
Esme

I was just in Paris and meant to stop by here but never did. I did however go to Quasimodo on your recommendation. I would never eat anywhere near Notre Dame otherwise-WHAT IS SUBWAY doing there on on the Sienne. Quasimodo was perfect-except for the 4 euros for an Orangina. I will let you know when the post is up.

Thank you.

16 10 2011
croquecamille

Esme – Subway is everywhere now. It’s a travesty. So glad you liked Quasimodo!




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