Coutume Update

A very fine espresso in a hard to photograph black cup from Coutume, complete with carafe of water.The last time I visited Coutume, the (relatively) old, established player in Paris’ third-wave coffee scene, I arrived just before closing on a day when the espresso machine had just been repaired, having been broken all day. It was also my last stop before heading back home on the Eurostar.

This time, in a nice piece of symmetry, I decided to make it the first stop of my visit. So, having arrived from Nantes, I turned up just before closing on a day when the espresso machine had just been repaired, having been broken all day … Some things never change!

I was there at the invitation of Connor, one of Coutume’s baristas, who had been following my progress around France. He made me a lovely cup of an Ethiopian Nekisse through the V60, a rich, complex brew which matured as it cooled. While I drank it, I sat (out of the way) at the bar at the front and chatted with Connor about all the things that had changed since my last visit.

You can see what I found after the gallery.

  • Last time I was at Coutume, there were these roadworks outside. This time, there was a van parked out front, so, I'm afraid, this is still the best picture I've got!
  • Stepping inside, the front of the store is still the same was it was 18 months ago.
  • The staff would like me to point out I took these after Coutume had closed for the day...
  • ... which explains why no-one was sitting there.
  • In fact, everything had been set up ready for brunch the following morning.
  • I think, of all the tables, this one was my favourite.
  • Really though, not much has changed. Here's the counter from my last visit...
  • ... and here it is from the present visit.
  • I got to sit at the bar this time, where I could chat with Connor and watch him work.
  • The grinders, with the espresso and single-origin espresso.
  • However, if you venture towards the back... This is how it looked last time...
  • ... and this is how it looks right now.
  • The roaster, which sat here, has gone, and in its place is a new brew bar! Well, there will be a new brew bar in the next few weeks... Timing is everything!
  • The view from the back of the store.
  • Where are we again?
  • Coutume proudly shows off its baristas' achievements. Here from 2013...
  • ... and here from 2014.
  • Although the roasting no longer takes place at the back, you can still buy the beans...
  • ... and I am still as fascinated as ever by the light bulbs!
  • Although I can't believe I missed this beautfiul column the last time I was there!
  • Connor decided to make me a V60 with his favourite coffee of the moment...
  • ... which is this beauty from Ethiopia.
  • The first pour...
  • ... then comes the stir.
  • The second pour...
  • ... with plenty of rotation to ensure that the grounds are well soaked.
  • Finally, a top-up.
  • Now we just wait..
  • ... almost done.
  • It's ready! Connor lifts it off the scales...
  • ... and here it is, still in the same hard-to-photograph black cups.
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At first sight, not a lot has changed at Coutume. It’s still impossible to get a decent picture of the front of the store and the coffee is still excellent, with various beans on offer through the espresso machine (when it’s working!) and several other brew methods. You can also buy any of the beans to take home with you.

You still get a carafe of water with your coffee, which still comes in the same beautiful, although annoyingly hard to photograph, black cups with their black saucers, although Connor told me that the manufacturer had stopped making them, so the end of coffee photographer frustration is in sight!

Food continues to play a major part in Coutume’s offering (particularly at the weekends when brunch is extremely popular) and it still attracts the same multi-national crowd to its rows of communal tables.

However, if you work your way past the bulk of the seating towards the back of the store, you’ll discover a major change. Coutume used to roast all of its own coffee right there at the back of the store, but not anymore! Don’t worry, Coutume still does all its own roasting, it’s just moved operations to a dedicated roastery out in the 10th Arrondissement.

Partly this is to support two new branches of Coutume which have opened since my visit (Coutume Instituutti and Coutume Lab). However, it was also because, as Connor put it, Coutume got damn hot in the summer when the roaster was going full blast! He also told me that the café was pretty much at full capacity and they needed the extra space.

So, the roaster has gone and in its place is a shiny new… empty space. Yes, that’s right: timing, as ever, is everything. I managed to arrive just before Coutume started fitting out the new space as a dedicated brew bar which should be something to see. Oh well, as Connor pointed out, I shall just have to come back again for another update… Smart man that Connor.

Don’t forget the original Coutume Coffee Spot, which includes the complete write-up and an updated gallery.

47 RUE DE BABYLONE • PARIS • 75007 • FRANCE +33 1 45 51 50 47
Monday 08:00 – 19:00 Roaster Coutume (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Bars
Wednesday 08:00 – 19:00 Food Brunch/Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 19:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 10:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 19:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits Original: 24th May 2013
Update: 29th August 2014

You can also see what fellow-blogger Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato made of Coutume (she also visited Télescope).

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