Where to Get Good Coffee in Paris
Only a handful of years ago, if you loved coffee and came to Paris, you probably would have found yourself saying, “what the hell is wrong with this place?” Given the city’s size, and its reputation as a culinary capital, it did in fact seem odd that there was seemingly no good coffee to be found.
I remember moving to Paris at the beginning of 2013, coming from Coffee Mecca Portland, Oregon, and being shocked at the lack of specialty coffee. But thankfully, things have changed. There are now several independent roasters and lots of coffee shops where you can drink to your heart’s desire.
I have covered the Paris scene for the last two years over on Sprudge, and watching the evolution from coffee deadzone to respectable coffee destination has been fun. In fact, there are so many places now that there is even a map devoted to them. As a coffee lover who has extensively explored the Parisian coffee scene, the Specialty Coffee Paris Map from Blue Crow Media comes highly recommended. Being a map lover, it’s also nice to have something you can physically hold in your hand and to help guide you around the city. Snag one for yourself here.
Let’s just have a quick discussion of why you should care about what coffee you drink:
It’s an everyday product that really should be a luxury product. It takes many hands to produce. It comes from the other side of the world. It’s a crop incredibly sensitive to climate change. In my opinion, for those of us who can, choosing coffee that’s ethically sourced by people who care about quality and the working conditions of producers isn’t an option, it’s an obligation. So for me, specialty coffee is less about playing into a trend and more about respecting a product and the people who produce it. If you already take the time to think about where your carrots, potatoes and kale come from, and care about how they were grown, you should do the same when it comes to coffee. Treat your coffee like you treat your food. And for the love of god, stop drinking coffee pods already.
So, all that all being said, when people come to Paris, they often ask if I have any favorite places to get coffee. Or just where to get good coffee full stop. How does one pick a favorite? The answer always depends on a variety of things, like what kind of coffee the person likes, what location they want coffee in, if they want just coffee or a meal, of they actually don’t want coffee and just want a smoothie in a good cafe vibe, etc. All to say: there are a lot of great places depending on what you’re looking for, and I have been meaning to compile this list for quite some time. Also, I am tired of copying and pasting the same email, so the next time someone asks, they are just going to get this list sent to them. Because the list is long, I’ve starred some of my extra special favorites that I love and go to regularly.
Trust me, there’s no excuse to be drinking bad coffee in Paris. So get a copy of the Specialty Coffee Paris Map, because it will make for a pretty poster on your wall once you return home, and go coffee exploring.
Not one of the well known coffee places in town, but here you can get filter coffee made on a Moccamaster and a chocolate pistachio croissant. Probably one of the best things you will every try, I promise.
Hidden on an alleyway and overlooking a park, sitting here on a sunny day almost feels like you’ve escaped Paris. Go for tea time in the afternoon, and get the Chemex.
If you’re in Paris on a Saturday, stop by for a cupping. The team at Belleville (who supply coffee to a lot of places in town) knows their stuff, and there’s a reason why they have built a cult following in town.
Cozy with a Scandinavian vibe, yes please.
Super small and super cute.
The “original” when it comes to the independent Parisian coffee scene. Opened in 2005, for a long time it was the only place in town to get something other than industrial stuff. And the green wall in the room overlooking Rue de l’Hôtel de ville is worth a visit in and of itself.
The coffee is solid, but let’s be honest: I go here for the Micheladas and the guacamole.
A co-working cafe, this is the place to go if you need to get some work done. And drink too much coffee in the process.
This one is perfect for anyone coming to Paris and going on a shopping spree. While I avoid the area around Galeries Lafayette like the plague, it is promising to know that you can get a decent cup of coffee. And on top of it, made by the 2015 French Aeropress champion!
Off the beaten path when it comes to Paris’ coffee spots. The funkiest thing on the menu? A shot of espresso served with a piece of Bleu d’Auvergen cheese, meant to be dipped into the espresso. Try it.
A new player in town, that serves up bottles of cold brew and shakshuka on weekends.
Filter coffee and a Swedish kanelbulle, what more could you want? Cafe Smörgås is an excellent spot for an inexpensive, healthy, organic lunch, with creative concoctions by my friend Lina. And after you’re done with lunch, then indulge in a fika.
One of the places I first ever went to buy whole coffee beans when I first moved to Paris. Love the fact that they do a special monthly coffee drink, it’s always creative.
This one gets a special mention simply because I go to it when I need a Nordic fix. Housed in the Institut Finlandais, it feels just like any good Nordic cafe should.
Besides being devoted to making truly excellent coffee, what’s cool about CREAM is the decor, which maintains a distinct Parisian feel.
Surprisingly, the sometimes overly touristy Rue Mouffetard is home to a cool little coffee space. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood.
Hands down some of the best espresso in town. Owner Chris Nielson is a true coffee aficionado. Let him make you some and you won’t be disappointed.
If you want to geek out on coffee, go here. Owner Youssef Louanjli knows his stuff, and his coffee is dialed.
While it’s on the other side of town from most of the specialty coffeeshops, a trip to visit Hexagone is highly recommended. Coffee is roasted in Brittany by the lovely Stephane Cataldi and the attention to detail here is top notch.
I cannot say enough positive things about Holybelly. It’s a favorite spot for breakfast, lunch and coffee. Since opening in the fall of 2013, Nico Alary and Sarah Mouchot have done an amazing job of running a place that’s as innovative with their menu as they are friendly.
There would never be a reason for me to go to Faubourg Saint-Honoré if it weren’t for Honor. This is the street that’s home to places like Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Louboutin. Not really my jam. But Honor totally is. The funky cafe is housed in a courtyard, and it almost feels more like a cool greenhouse structure than a cafe.
Having been on the scene for quite some time, KB Cafe recently started roasting in collaboration with The Beans on Fire. They also feature a variety of roasters from around Europe, like The Barn and Five Elephant.
This place is more for buying beans than drinking coffee, and while you’re at it, pop into the other popular places that sit on Rue de Nil, like Frenchie to Go and Terroirs d’Avenir.
Coffee and cocktails, this is where afternoon coffee turns into an early dinner drink.
Loustic was yet another cafe that I frequented regularly when I first moved here, happy to have found a little cafe haven. It has a cozy, neighborhood feel, and owner Channa Galhenage has made sure that the quality is always excellent.
A good way to check out the French coffee scene as they feature a rotating selection of French coffee roasters.
As a contributor to Steel Magazine, and a lover of anything that has to do with bikes, I am a little biased to the Steel cafe. Come for the coffee, drool over the bike accessories.
The original spot is in the Marais, but I like the one on the Left Bank. If you’re in this neighborhood and it’s warm out, come for the cold brew.
Gluten-free treats galore!
At Télescope, Nicolas Clerc is devoted to ensuring you get the best out of your cup, and serves some of Europe’s top roasters.
One of the originals in terms of a specialty coffeeshop, these guys have been doing an excellent job for quite some time now. I love it for the sign they often have sitting outside, and that’s written on their matchbooks that they have at the counter, “drinking good coffee is sexy.”
This is a new project that I find pretty cool: collaborative roasting. Currently there’s a weekend cafe, but there’s more to come in the very near future. I am really excited to see what’s ahead for them.
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