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Orbit

What brand/kind of coffee is used in French cafes?

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I just got back from Paris, and loved the coffee in the cafes. I know it's espresso, but is there any particular brand(s) they use that would be available in the US? Any tips on making the perfect cafe creme?


Edited by Orbit typo (log)

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why do  I suspect every corner cafe owner will tell you he uses his own special private brand and roast....?


by and large European coffee is "stronger" than that in USA.  rather a lot of most Europeans I've traveled with in USA consider it just hot brown water.  they do have other descriptions . . .


it's the blend of bean, the roast, the grind and the prep.  it's not so simple.....


here's a fairly comprehensive list:
http://www.coffee4dummies.com/european

which you may be able to source local depends on (gasp!) where you are; mail order sources abound.

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Well, it depends on the café, of course. Illy is one of the brands that seems popular, and it also happens to be available in the US.

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My local bar/tabac used Lavazza, an Italian brand most recently (closed due retirement a couple of months ago).  This is easily available to private customers in Europe, we buy it mail order on-line.  I'm sure you must be able to find the brand in the USA, Lavazza is a huge firm.  We buy kilo bags of beans but they also sell pre-ground and in smaller packs.

 

Other places that I know, hotels in particular, use the Grand Mere brand https://www.cafegrandmere.fr. Available in supermarkets as well as wholesale in France.  I've not seen Illy in Paris in recent years but it is another well known Italian brand.

 

Often a bar will have its coffee cups, saucers, accompanying biscuits or chocolates supplied by the firm it buys coffee from.  Might be worth looking at the logos of Lavazza, Illy etc to see if you remember these same designs on cups you drank from of the small biscuits often provided with your espresso.  Might help you find the brand you liked best.

 

Hope this helps!

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All the restaurants I worked in used whatever the coffee machine supplier brought round. Many places rent their machines cheap or for free on the understanding that they buy their beans from the machine supplier. Many suppliers make up their own mixes from half a dozen different beans and most are fine. I still buy my beans from a roaster in Avignon near where I used to work. His 80/20 arabica/robusta blend from, usually, Vietnam/Mexico/Columbia/other Central American countries is always excellent.

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Please don't take this the wrong way, I have an acquaintance that lives in Paris, he is Italian, when we visited him years ago, he said this to me:

"France has the best food, but crap coffee. If you want great coffee, go to Italy"

 

I snickered at his comment for several reasons, but to me, although French coffee is drinkable, it certainly is roasted too 'dark' for my palate. 

Hey, it makes it taste consistent though, which is commercially a plus I guess? on the other hand, charbucks seems to roast their beans using a photon torpedo, which explains the cost and the taste.

 

..or maybe I'm just a coffee snob ha ha ha

 

THAT SAID though, I noticed similar to @AlaMoi that most 'coffee' in Paris belongs in the espresso spectrum; even those from a Subway 'cafe' vending machine. So high possibility that it's the concentration/strength that the original poster @Orbit is tasting.

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Espresso is not a coffee-bean-roast , but an extraction technique.

 

way back when  [ probably just USA ] , remember there was French Roast , Italian Roast , and Viennese Roast ?

 

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/blog/2009/05/20/italian-roast-vs-french-roast/

 

https://www.coffeemasters.com/coffee-roasting-levels/vienna-roast/

 

darker roasts have more ' punch ' and as you go darker , you loose varietal flavor of the beans

 

in Spain they roast even darker

 

the above refers to drip.

 

a blend for espresso , oddly , is a lighter roast than the above.

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4 hours ago, iggiggiggy said:

...on the other hand, charbucks seems to roast their beans using a photon torpedo, which explains the cost and the taste.

 

 

 

you and I are obviously siblings separated at birth. I loathe Starbucks' coffee.

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6 hours ago, kayb said:

 

you and I are obviously siblings separated at birth. I loathe Starbucks' coffee.

Not the only two, there are , I would guess, multitudes of we no not ever starbuckians.  

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I find coffee in France stronger but not better. 

 

Agree re Starbucks. There is a reason they add all those things to their coffee. It's bad otherwise. 

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A lot depends on the brewing method. I'm not partial to French press coffee and I have tried dozens of these brewers over the years.

 

For a while in the '80s we had a nurse who was from France. Did not care for the coffee from our Bunn coffee machine, although I bought one of the "premium" coffees and ground the beans fresh. None of the nurses or the doc liked really strong coffee. I would make a small batch for myself as I was always first in, and would have it in a thermos - I liked dark roast and fairly strong.

 

She had her own pour-over set up and used pre-ground Italian Roast - dark and oily - and at least one and a half times the amount of grounds for a usual mug.  It may have looked like espresso but it did not have the flavor of espresso.  Her family in Nice owned a small hotel and they catered mostly to French and European guests because "Americans and the English" are "too much bother."   In particular, they complained that the coffee was too strong, tasted "burnt" and asked for "American coffee" which wasn't going to happen.  She said the Germans, the Swedes and the Russians never complained.  She said she wouldn't drink coffee in American restaurants because it was just "colored water" and tasteless.

 

She was picky about the water.  When she first came to work she brought her own but we had Sparklets water and she used that for her coffee.  (I also used it for mine - the rest of the crew didn't care.)

 

So you do have to have good water, filtered - bottled water is a waste, most of it is no better than tap water - in my opinion it's a rip off.  I have a Berkey water purifier and all the water I use for coffee, tea, cooking, drinking, goes through it.

 

Pour-over brewers are simple and effective.  Many of the automatic brewers are just glorified and more expensive pour-overs.

I have a Ninja Coffee Bar  (got it free to evaluate a few months before this model was released)  And it is actually just a pour-over that is automated and measures from one cup to a full carafe.  I do a mug at a time because I can't stand "stale" coffee.  I have other brewers that use pods but I only use the refillable pods with my own coffee because the stuff in the pods is overpriced crap.

 

I've gone on too long with this.  Good luck!  Get some Whole bean French Roast or Italian Roast,  grind the beans fresh each time and use a bit more per cup than is usual.


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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I just discovered cold brew coffee this summer,.  I use the packs that Starbucks makes and mix the finished brew with milk and vanilla syrup served over ice....it's really good stuff.

sorry for the hijack.


Edited by lindag (log)
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What brand of coffee do I use in my french press?  I use Topeca, a local roaster, and grind to order.  

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On 10/21/2018 at 9:35 AM, rotuts said:

Espresso is not a coffee-bean-roast , but an extraction technique.

 

way back when  [ probably just USA ] , remember there was French Roast , Italian Roast , and Viennese Roast ?

 

https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/blog/2009/05/20/italian-roast-vs-french-roast/

 

https://www.coffeemasters.com/coffee-roasting-levels/vienna-roast/

 

darker roasts have more ' punch ' and as you go darker , you loose varietal flavor of the beans

 

in Spain they roast even darker

 

the above refers to drip.

 

a blend for espresso , oddly , is a lighter roast than the above.

 

Completely agree w.r.t: Espresso!

 

In my humble opinion, French, Italian, Viennese Roast, belong to the same family as https://www.kingsford.com/

 

Spain roast even darker? oh noo..   on the topic, this summer I recently visited a nano-roaster in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia and check this out: they 'roast' their limited lot peaberries twice.. twice.. to get the 'shininess' they claim. The taste profile they're shooting for is 'Starbucks'... mercy mercy me... 

 

I prefer my espresso as SO (single origin, not significant other, oh no, I'm not that 'in love'), ranging from City+ to Full City+ the darkest. Never ever will I put shiny beans thru my grinder, they gum it up quite fast...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/21/2018 at 8:52 PM, gfweb said:

I find coffee in France stronger but not better. 

 

Agree re Starbucks. There is a reason they add all those things to their coffee. It's bad otherwise. 

 

This. Yes and yes. An order for 'un Cafe' would get you an espresso there. Some shops can understand and make you an 'Americano', but why prolong the suffering?

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What did you like about it? When I was in Paris for two weeks a couple of years ago I had uniformly terrible espresso everywhere. Not Starbucks terrible but definitely leaning in that direction.

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That David Lebovitz article is from 2007, and describes acceptable espresso from that era. If you're looking for really good, though, most of what he says is obsolete. Good coffee is a very young idea (relative to good wine, good booze, good beer, good tea, which have all been pursuits for over two thousand years). We're learning about coffee in leaps and bounds year after year. Illy's idea of coffee got left behind by the 3rd wave.

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There are a few 3rd wave" coffee spots in Paris, and a few more 2nd wave.  You can get decent beans.

 

You just gotta know where to go to get a decent cuppa, or brew it at home or in your air BNB. Or not drink it.

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On 11/3/2018 at 5:08 PM, weinoo said:

There are a few 3rd wave" coffee spots in Paris, and a few more 2nd wave.  You can get decent beans.

 

You just gotta know where to go to get a decent cuppa, or brew it at home or in your air BNB. Or not drink it.

 

I don't doubt there are a few good spots. My point is that it's not like Rome, where almost every cafe will do a pretty good job, or Portland, where almost every one will do a pretty great job. In Paris you'll either need coffee-nerd knowledge very, very good luck.

 

In Rome, it's not even 3rd wave-style espresso. It's super traditional, and not particularly interesting. But it's made well, it's familiar and satisfying, it tastes good. What I had all over Paris was just poorly crafted. 


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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Slacker!  Here I thought you were a coffee nerd; and the nice thing about coffee-nerd knowledge, is that it's pretty easily obtainable. 

 

By the way, I agree with everything you write about both Rome and Paris (though even in Rome now, they're doing some 3rd wave, and it's good).


Edited by weinoo (log)

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