June 22, 2020
It’s looking increasingly unlikely that many of us will be going abroad to foreign shores this year. So we thought it would be nice to give you a taste of some of our favourite holiday destinations from the comfort of your own home. So this week we’ll be looking at France. If you think about coffee culture Paris will feature right up there with Rome or Barcelona. So let’s see how you can make coffee like a Parisian.
As we like to say it’s all about the beans. And if you’re looking at France you have to look to Indonesia. Why? If you ask for ‘un cafe’ in a Parisian cafe you will be served an espresso. And the beans most widely used in France (and indeed most espresso) will hail from Java, the largest island in Indonesia, or Colombia. These beans produce a much darker and rich roast which the French (and probably you) will love.
Some of us may remember how to order this from our GSCE French lessons — ‘Un café au lait, s'il vous plaît’. But if you were in a Parisian cafe the term you would want to drop is ‘Noisette’. This is the French equivalent of a Macchiato and making one is very easy. Firstly, prepare your espresso and then simply top with frothed milk. Because the starting point for this coffee is an espresso, go for a darker roast.
Not to be confused with the Noisette, a cafe creme is the most similar thing to a Cappuccino you’re going to get in France. You might have spotted there is a little rivalry between the French and the Italians in terms of coffee and the cafe creme is no exception. This coffee is generally made at breakfast time and is typically served in a bowl. Again, espresso is the key coffee ingredient here but hot water is also typically added and the milk doesn’t necessarily need to be frothed to pass muster as a cafe creme. You can also use a drip method to make a cafe creme. A word of warning though, if you’re in France don’t order this coffee after 11 AM unless you want to get some funny looks!
We have seen there’s a little rivalry between the Italians and the French when it comes to coffee and despite the name, the French press was actually invented by the Italians. The general rule of thumb when it comes to French coffee culture is espresso in the cafe and the cafetière at home. A good place to start for making a French press is our brew guide. As a general rule, the French prefer an oilier bean which produces a stronger and darker roast.
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