Paris in Person | Coutume Black Only
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Coutume Black Only

We already wrote about the specialty coffee place Coutume café, made by dedicated people who were one of the first players, if not the very first ones, to set up the specialty coffee scene in the city. They not only serve one of the best coffees around, they roast their own beans too. The newest projected is the launching of a new space dedicated to coffee tasting – a “soft” opening was today and we had an opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes and talk to the owners about their coffee vision.



Can you guess where the door is at ?


Unlike in the realm of French politics, the domain of haute-gourmandise coffee is where transparency abounds



Taking the coffee game to the next level was their goal. In their own words, starting the scene was great, but they don’t want to sleep on the laurels – instead, they seek to continue spearheading the coffee evolution. New ideas mean new gear; also, new tasting space, new production facility and a completely new monster-roaster. As they confidently claim, it is by far the best equipped, most modern and edgy roasting facility in Paris, France, and one of the best in the world. Check out the industrial-grade roaster :


It’s huuuuge in real life. Photo doesn’t do it justice.



What makes this space interesting is the proximity of the roasting facility. Just behind the counter there is a thin glass wall – completely transparent – through which you can see the roasting taking place. That way, you know that you are getting your coffee fresh, as it’s made right in front of you. The back of the store, just next to the monster-roaster, is the separate cupping space, protected from the rest of the facility by a glass wall, so as to isolate the tasting and let you fully profit from the smell and the taste of your coffee.




Also, they keep their green coffee behind (yet another) glass wall, in a tightly secured space, so as to maintain its optimal freshness prior to the roasting. There is a whole lot of scientific equipment that goes into this process; evaluating the freshness and the quality of the bean, adjusting the roast to its specific qualities, personalizing a profile for each bean, using lasers (seriously, they actually use lasers) to determine the state of the core of the bean, and a lot of other stuff we didn’t necessarily understand as no one here holds two PhD’s from organic chemistry and particles physics. One of the most inspiring things we got from this visit is just how much effort, thought and planning – not t mention heavy duty equipment – goes into making a single, small shot of espresso. The folly, the ambition, the grandeur of man ! How much effort & skill, resources and most of all time goes into making a cup of coffee – definitely something to think about. And an occasion to quote Blake – “To see a world in a grain of sand (or in a grain of coffee, in this case)”…




The main thing however is the purism they seek to maintain. As the owners say, their goal is to make this a cupping space, so tasting grand coffee only will take place. Meaning, no milk allowed – just a pure, black, straight coffee. No cappuccinos, no macchiatos, no mochas. Much like with chocolate (that we are if not experts, then very enlightened connoisseurs), if you wish the gourmet experience, you go for high percentages, you seek out single origins and you don’t consider milk. This is the exact same agenda they maintain here – keep it black, keep it simple.



But still make sure to add a couple of rustic details here and there, just to make it extra hipster-y



So, do you feel like a coffee snob, or a generally gourmet savvy person ? Want to test your coffee skills? This scene from Mulholland Drive makes (any) sense to you as you experience something similar on daily basis ?




If an answer on any one of these questions is “yes”, stop by the Coutume Atelier in 8 rue Martel and have a go at their single origin, grand cru coffees. And if you don’t like their craft, make sure to ask for a towel and react the same way the mafioso in the movie did.