The specialty coffee scene was slow to sprout in Paris but thanks to a brigade of entrepreneurial career baristas, the march toward change in consumption and taste is putting the city on the global bean map. At the vanguard of the movement are David Flynn and Thomas Lehoux, both veritable stars in the milieu.
David, formerly of Télescope, and Thomas, currently the co-owner of the Canal St. Martin coffee shop Ten Belles, pooled their talents and brought in Anselme Blayney, owner of Le Bal café, to open a roaster in the 19th arrondissement. In a quick few months, the trio's top-brass beans are popping up all over town in shops like Fondation and Holybelly.
The space is reserved for roasting during the week but opens for public cuppings on Saturdays from 11:30am-6:30pm - a prime opportunity to chat with and learn from the city's best.
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Cupping in Paris
What is cupping you may ask? While it is that thing used in Chinese medicine that leaves weird welts on your back, it's also the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of coffee. Much in the same way that a wine maker would sample wines to detect the flavors and aromas, professional coffee roasters practice cupping to measure the aspects of a bean. Coffee is brewed and poured into small cups. Roasters then move about the table, almost ritualistically sniffing and loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue. In Paris, hipster roastery, Belleville Brûlerie, is offering hour long cupping workshops to the public (20 euros) on Saturdays at their Belleville shop. You just have to sign up via their Facebook page and then you can slurp your way to learning a bit more about one of the world's most popular commodities.