Visited: 6/10/07Paris has never had a good espresso reputation nor it should! A little bit like Barcelona, everyone is drinking espresso however, generally speaking, it is not at all drinkable. It is impossible to stumble across good espresso unless you know exactly where to go. After doing some research I was left with a very short list.
Soluna Cafés (52, rue de l’Hotel de Ville). This coffee shop and rostery offers a very rewarding experience. Undoubtedly the best place for coffee in Paris, they roast different single estate coffees in small batches daily. The selection is rather vast, a whole wall of choice, a very good selection of South American coffees. The shop owner Gloria has been involved with coffee for a very long time and is very knowledgeable in the field, more so on sensory and enzymatic. Frequently she runs education classes for her customers, which is an amazing cause especially in Paris. All the coffees are coming directly from estates, so they do not use a middle man and do pay the plantation owners a good price.
They are very big on appellation, so they take a “premium wine” approach.
Plantation – Estate – Region – Country … Always emphasising the plantation and estate first. A great approach that every quality roaster should take.
They only offer espresso through their LaMarzocco FB80. I believe that they are one of few places in Paris that uses LaMarzocco I mostly saw cimbali machines. As they roast so many different varieties they do not have a freshness system as such. They pre grind the coffee into a container every hour and measure out the right dose on order. I had a chance to go behind the machine and pull some shots, I must say the Guatemala coffee that I was using was outstanding. Their roast profile is always under the 2nd crack so the beans retain their oils. The beans are always cooked right through on a longer roast time, which is great to see.
I must give credit to Gloria and her team for doing what they do, it is really special inside that shop. The passion, commitment and dedication is most certainly there. You get a whole experience from the plantation all the way to the cup, indeed a very rewarding experience. This place is an absolute must to visit and I hope to make it there again one day soon.
Bodum (103 rue Rambuteau) This shop you will not find in any guides at all. This is a huge bodum shop that sells everything and anything ever made by bodum. I accidentally bumped into it whilst exploring tourist sights. Inside you will find a LaMarzocco Linea with a bodum badge over the top of the logo. Rather funny yet offensive at the same time. The coffee was half decent, you could certainly drink it. This shop is worth going as they have all the vac pots, even the vintage ones that are rare to find. They also have a new line of thermal cups as well as interesting plungers and various kitchen ware.
Cafe Verlet (256, rue Ste Honore) This shop is worth mentioning as they have a very cosy atmosphere and very stylish interior. Using a faema e61 legend the coffee is nothing special at all, a very long, bitter and overextracted shot is not at all pleasant. The presentation is their main priority. They serve their coffee in a leaf shaped saucer with a cube of dark chocolate, they might as well, because the coffee is 2.70 EURO. This shop is conveniently located near the Louvre so if you have some money to burn you can check it out.
I loved Paris, for its beauty and rich history. I was very glad to find Soluna Cafés, they truly offer an unforgettable experience that you will not find anywhere else in Paris. Make this espresso bar a must on your list. I recommend doing your espresso run on Tuesday – Saturday as many places are closed on Sunday and Monday.