Coutume Café

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

When I first moved to Paris last April, my friend Meg from suggested we meet up at her new favorite café in the 7th arrondissement, Coutume Café. They allegedly had the greatest coffee and espresso known to man, and ever-skeptical of superlatives, I thought to myself, “Oh, I’m sure it’ll at least be passable.” You see, I had no way to anticipate what I was about to experience: a professional baristo working with some of the world’s finest beans, expertly roasted in-house by an acclaimed perfectionist torréfacteur – both there for the sole purpose of culling pure excellence out of one of the most luxe and technologically advanced espresso machines ever conceived, together with a series of other coffee extraction methods on the bleeding edge of haute café. I would make the 2 mile roundtrip walk to Coutume every morning for the next 6 months. I also learned never to question Meg’s highly refined tastes.

Ever the addict, I always made sure to arrive at Coutume within minutes of it opening (shot above). Not only did I need my caffeine fix, but knowing how popular the café was becoming, I never wanted to risk having to wait in line, while being taunted by the aroma of a fine Vanuatu or Costa Rican brew. Especially on weekends, when virtually every table in the house would be taken for brunch, timing was critical. I also had a favorite preparation, which they kept in limited supply; I couldn’t live knowing it had been sold out minutes earlier. What was that special something? Behold…

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

It goes by many names – cold extraction / “extraction froid”, Kyoto style, cold drip, slow drip, 24-hour drip. No matter what you call it, it’s a 3 litre bulb of water that releases one single cold drop of water, every few seconds – for the better part of an entire day – into two 200g columns of coarsely ground beans. The resultant coffee is not only the most incredibly flavored and nuanced you are ever to experience, but the caffeine content will absolutely blow your ************* mind. Should you be lucky enough to arrive on a day when they’ve prepared a cold extraction with Ethiopian Nekisse beans, your life will be forever changed. A longtime lover of coffee in all its forms, and no stranger to some of the most renowned pulls/brews/drips in the world, I have never before or since had a cup of coffee that even approaches it.

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

One could argue the siphon above is an even more dramatic spectacle. In fact, it’s so fun that, together with the Kyoto drip, I plan to give these apparati a future entry all their own. And I might just have to do another post all about Coutume’s La Marzocco Strada below. One of only 125 in the world, it’s an espresso machine so sophisticated that you can connect your computer to it and program variable pressure profiles for the pull of each espresso, by grind, by bean, and by every other factor imaginable.

Kevin is truly one with the Strada. It’s his baby, and access to it is explicitly the reason he moved to Paris. Co-owners Antoine and Tom searched far and wide for the ultimate baristo, discovering Kevin in Iowa. After rounds of interviews, they felt sure they’d found the right guy . . . but they could only have him if the Strada was part of the package. Here he is letting off a little steam . . .

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

When you order your espresso, be sure to know the preparation you’d like, because they will ask, “Would you like a French EXpresso or an Italian ESpresso.” If I didn’t go for my cold drip, I’d almost always get a quad Italian. Single, double, triple, quad and beyond, I’m 99.9% sure it will be light years ahead of anything you’ve ever had.

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

Now, most cafés wouldn’t be so concerned with making sure the to-go cup was finished with latté art. Coutume’s a little different that way. There’s excellence at every turn . . .

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

As mentioned earlier, they have an awesome Saturday and Sunday brunch that starts at 11. I always opted for a simple scrambled eggs with home fries, but there’s a full menu with tons of other options, to appease your international brunch sensibilities.

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

Should you find yourself in need of either Tahitian or Madagascan vanilla pods, Coutume can help you out. They have two large jars perched above the pastry case, which not only contains delicious pastries from La Pâtisserie des Rêves but from their own in-house team. How can you not love that?

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

Don’t you just want to step inside right now? . . .

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

Being back in the States, I miss it so much. I’m even having them send me a staff t-shirt so that I can wear their name with pride, whilst I approximate their majesty with my newly-arrived Kyoto style drip tower.

Coutume Café :: 47 rue de Babylone, Paris

If you’re already in Paris, I suggest you head to Coutume as soon as possible. If you’re a coffee lover soon to be in the City of Lights, it should go with out saying that this is a requisite stop. And for all of you, keep an eye out for my next entry on Coutume, where we’ll see exactly how the beans are roasted by Meilleur Torréfacteur de France 2011, Antoine Netien. That’s right, Antoine was just named the greatest roaster in France, and the behind-the-scenes photos are going to blow your mind.

Coutume Café
47 Rue de Babylone
75007 Paris
Phone: +33(0)145515047
Facebook Page: Coutume Café

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28 thoughts on “Coutume Café”

  1. I just went there last weekend. I found this place on Parisbymouth, it is truly amazing. It became my favorite café in Paris instantly. I can totally understand how you feel about this place. The thought of going back there tomorrow makes me so excited.

  2. So how exactly is the kyoto drip served. Chilled, room temp, heated in some way afterwards? If you can recall; what is that heating element in the siphon image? Thanks in advance and looking forward to top 38 list.

  3. I want to jump on the Eurostar and head over to Paris after reading your articles on PP. If i win the lottery, i'm going to move to Paris and work my way through your entire list of patisserie places.

  4. Dude, where were you when I was there?
    I go to Paris every year and I'm staying there for a month or two but since now I hadn't have a decent espresso there. Ok, there were a couple of exceptions and small bruleries but nothing exceptional.
    Do you have any other suggestions for drinking a good cup of coffee?

  5. I know Kevin from Iowa City, IA and his fine work at the Java House there. He makes a wonderful cup of coffee, and his latte art is incredible. My wife and I are going to visit Paris in December, and we cannot wait to taste the coffee and treats at Coutume. Thank you for the wonderful article and pictures.

  6. Great post and really nice pictures. I am curious. how much do they charge for the Kyoto drip? And where did you find your kyoto drip machine/contraption?

  7. I do agree that Cafe Coutume is by far one of the best coffees in Paris, BUT when visiting Paris you do have other rather excellent options in different neighbourhoods such as Cafeotheque at 52 Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville near de Marais district or Espresso e Ristretto at 64 rue Charenton not too far from Bastille………and I could think of at least three more, but…………….time 4 coffee now!

  8. Is it true that unlike most of the abominations I've tasted in Paris, Coutume uses real milk not that disgusting UHT rubbish? Okay, that is rather strongly worded but I am from Australia where no self-respecting cafe would use UHT milk … even an outdoor coffee cart would be ashamed to use that vile stuff!!

  9. Making espresso at home should be an effortless and a comfortable experience, without sacrificing the quality. There is nothing wrong with the "hands on" method of making espresso. In the fast paced life with little time for making coffee, fully automatic machines offer great convenience.
    My recent post: Best Espresso Machine Under $200

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