Café Lomi

An espresso is a classic earthenware Inker cup from Café LomiI don’t know what the French for “hipster” is, but “Café Lomi” might be a fairly good stab. It’s the closest I’ve come in Paris to what I think of as a hipster café, right down to the undecorated walls, exposed air-conditioning conduits and bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The clientele was pretty hipster too; for example, I wasn’t the only one taking pictures of his coffee and every other person was on a laptop, Macs outnumbering Windows two-to-one. The clinching argument? It carries Caffeine Magazine. I rest my case…

Putting pointless classification to one side, Café Lomi is a café/roaster in the northern reaches of Paris. Café-roasters seem to be much more common in Paris than they are in the UK; of the limited number of third-wave Parisian cafés I’ve visited, Lomi is the third, joining La Caféothèque and Coutume when it opened in 2012. In Lomi’s case, it is a café at the front, and a roaster at the back, where the chunky Giesen turns out espresso blends and single origins both for use in Lomi and to supply other cafés and restaurants. Sadly you can’t wander into the back and see the roaster in action though…

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Café Lomi, with its tables outside on the wide pavement.
  • A panoramic view from just inside the door.
  • The tables down the left-hand side.
  • The tables in the middle.
  • One of the tables on the left-hand side with the Coffee Spot laptop, outnumbered by Macs!
  • The cluster of three tables in the centre...
  • ... and the four-person table beyond.
  • If there's a large group, you can always have the eight-person table by the window.
  • Or, if you're quick enough, why not grab the cosy corner at the back?
  • The cosy corner at closing time, with the brick platform beyond...
  • ... which houses these shelves of retail beans and kit.
  • Opposite is the last of the seating, this narrow, two-person bar.
  • You can sit there and look through the window at the training/cupping area.
  • But how does one get in? Ahh, through this fearsome-looking door!
  • The other side of the glass and the cupping table...
  • ... and all the toys beyond in the training room.
  • There's some interesting stuff on display here, like these green beans from DR Wakefield...
  • ... as well as Café Lomi's trophy cabinet!
  • However, this is where the action is: the roastery and warehouse at the back.
  • This is where Café Lomi turns puts these, sacks of green beans...
  • ... through this, the Giesen roaster...
  • ... and turns them into this, the finished product.
  • However, time to go back into the main body of the cafe.
  • There's some lovely light-bulbs in here...
  • Obligatory shot.
  • Although it's not all bare bulbs!
  • There are also some interesting pictures on the walls...
  • ... and a dubious taste in reading material.
  • The counter: one of the cleanest and least cluttered I've seen.
  • The cakes are to the right...
  • ... seen here in more detail.
  • Even the working area behind the counter is uncluttered and clean!
  • So, to business: the espresso machine and its grinders...
  • ... with filter (and tea!) behind it.
  • There is also a plentiful supply of water and glasses.
  • The succinct coffee menu...
  • ... and some of Café Lomi's copious output.
  • There are blends for other cafés...
  • ... and more in-house espresso blends...
  • ... as well as plenty of single-origins.
  • This was the house-blend while I was there...
  • ... and here it is, an espresso in a beautiful cup.
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Close to the Bouvelard Periphique, Café Lomi is three metro stops north of Gare du Nord (No. 4 line). Although not terribly convenient for the centre/tourist areas, it’s a good option if you’ve just arrived by Eurostar and need something to wash the taste of their coffee out of your mouth. Or, like me, if you’re on your way back to London and want one last coffee before you go.

The neighbourhood looks fairly run-down, not necessarily where I’d expect to find a pioneer of Paris’ third-wave coffee scene. Café Lomi occupies a large, rectangular corner plot, a couple of small windows down the right-hand side and large, floor-to-ceiling windows along two-thirds of the front, which stop it from being too dark inside. Three round tables sit in front of the windows on the wide pavement, while the spacious interior offers plenty of seating options.

An eight-person oval table occupies the space immediately in front of the window, while the counter takes up the right-hand side of the store. The door, on the far left, doesn’t offer an immediate path the counter; instead forcing you to negotiate your way through the tables. Two small tables hug the left-hand wall and beyond them is the cosy corner, with a sofa, padded stool and two comfortable chairs huddled around a packing-case-cum-table. Needless to say, that was taken when I arrived. In the centre of the room, three two-person tables form a little cluster, parallel to the oval table, with a round four-person table beyond that, opposite the cosy corner.

At the back, a brick platform on the left holds a shelf of coffee-related kit, beans for sale, and some large, potted plants, while on the right, there’s a low brick wall, with a narrow, two-person bar completing the seating options. The wall’s topped by a glass partition, behind which is what looks to be a cupping/training area.

A narrow corridor runs between wall and platform. As well as giving access to the cupping/training area, the corridor leads to an office and a large warehouse/roasting area right at the back of Café Lomi. Here you’ll find the green beans, the Giesen roaster and much of the finished product. Unfortunately you can’t just wander in, since at the end of the corridor is a fairly fearsome steel gate. Whether this is to keep the customers out or the roasters in, it’s hard to tell…

There’s more to Café Lomi than just coffee. It has a breakfast/brunch menu, offers salads, quiche and tartine for lunch and has a decent selection of cake. However, there’s no doubt that coffee is the main draw. You can have the house-blend or coffee of the day (“plantation du jour”, a single-origin Costa Rica Monte Copey during my visit) as espresso, while there’s filter through Aeropress or Chemex, with three single-origin beans on offer. While I was there, the choice was the plantation du jour, an Indonesian or an Ethiopian.

Had I had longer, I’d have compared the plantation du jour as espresso and filter, but since I had a train to catch, I settled for the house-blend. This arrived in a classic earthenware Inker cup and was very well made, but far too bright for my palette.

I’ll choose more wisely next time, or just get there earlier!

3 TER MARCADET • PARIS • 75018 • FRANCE +33 9 80 39 56 24
Monday 10:00 – 19:00 Roaster Café Lomi  (in-house; espresso + filter)
Tuesday 10:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Sofa, Bar, Tables (Outside)
Wednesday 10:00 – 19:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 10:00 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 10:00 – 19:00 Cards Visa, Mastercard
Saturday 10:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 19:00 Power Limited
Chain No Visits 1st September 2014

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6 thoughts on “Café Lomi

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