Coutume Café: The Science of a Nontraditional Café

Imagine walking into your high school’s science room, no matter how long ago that actually was. You notice the beakers, the test tubes, and the periodic table on the wall, while you take a seat at your assigned lab station. You remember, don’t you! You feel a tap on your shoulder and you turn to see your high school crush serving you a cup of coffee.

Don’t tell me that you’ve never had a high school crush. There’s always one! For me, it was my lab partner from Grade 10 Science. He had the intelligence of a panda, but gosh was he cute. But the purpose of this article isn’t to talk about long-lost, one-sided romances. Instead, I’m experimenting with a new style of writing: a café review. And what better place to start than with one of the first Parisian cafes to experiment with the third-wave of coffee?

Presenting…

Coutume Café

47 rue de Babylone 75007 (Paris, France)

Coutume is the brainchild of world-renowned coffee scientists: Antoine Nétien and Tom Clark. Since the significant result of their first venture, Coutume has become a global enterprise with 6 locations in Paris (Babylone, Instituutti & Les Ateliers), Tokyo (Aoyama & Futakotamagawa), and Osaka. Oooh my beloved, Japan ❤ Shh… be still my heart.

The enchanting thing about these two café owners is their marvelously ironic sense of humor. For example, coutume means custom or tradition in French. Yet, instead of filling the café with the decor expected of such a name: antiques and vintage relics, it’s designed to emulate a lab of modern science, complete with water served in chemistry flasks, menu items depicted with elemental diagrams, and stainless steel workstations. An ironic and witty idea to say the least.

Quality of Service:

When I arrived at Coutume, I was greeted by a barista with a smile that could launch a thousand ships. Parisian servers rarely smile, so this was a pleasant surprise. She directed me to my seat, gave me the menu and some water without my asking, and patiently waited for my order. To add to the barista’s already amiable first-impressions, she was fluent in French and English. In fact, all of the staff were, important for the survival of a café in the heart of Paris and a stone’s throw away from La Tour Eiffel.

Quality of Product:

I ordered a cappuccino, which was €4.20. Their current seasonal blend was the single-origin FAF Blend (Brésil). It was wonderfully balanced, evident from not needing to add sugar to my cappuccino. It had hints of chocolate and synced nicely with steamed milk. Yet, this isn’t your typical, one-note brew because the Brazilian blend ended with a shock of acidity, which was an unexpected delight! Cheers to its creators who clearly used scientific precision when creating this blend.

Quality of Atmosphere:

A typical crowd of young locals, expats, and tourists lingered about Coutume on this particular visit. Those working solo could type away undisturbed on their laptops either at the counter or at one of the metal workstations, and those accompanied by friends can sit across from each other at one of the 2 or 4-person tables or the long wooden benches out front, while listening to a mix of classic English and French rock.

Last remarks:

Overall, an enjoyable cafe experience at Coutume was had. I spent an hour writing postcards, listening to the locals banter en français, and savoring my coffee. And yet, I didn’t feel rushed or like I was taking up space. I’d definitely come back again, especially to try their tempting Sunday brunch menu, and maybe to reminisce about those simpler high school times.

As always, thank you for reading and joining me on this #internationalcoffeejourney

Comfort Rating:

4/5

four out of five

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