Have you heard about the Paris Coffee Revolution and wondered what it is? If you’re especially dependent on coffee to help you get out of bed in the morning, then you might as well know a little bit about the history of how it came to be where it is today.

It’s hard to imagine a world without good coffee, and believe it or not, it wasn’t until very recently that French café culture evolved into a love of coffee that actually tastes good! You might think because we so often picture France as the land of beautiful spots to drink coffee, that they’d have long been experts at brewing it. That, as it happens, is not the case!

Here’s a little bit you should know about the Paris Coffee Revolution and French Café Culture!

The French are no strangers to coffee. Some of the most well-known French figures in history loved the stuff! For example, Honoré de Balzac was known to drink the equivalent of fifty cups per day – in the form of straight coffee grounds! (Wouldn’t want to challenge him to a caffeine consumption contest!)

Voltaire is said to have consumed around forty cups per day! He is said to have replied to his physician, when told that he was being slowly poisoned by coffee, with, “Yes, it must be a slow poison, it has been poisoning me for over seventy years!”

Parisian culture has included cafés for centuries, ever since its first ever café, le Procope, opened in 1686. After all, most of us can hardly separate thoughts of Paris and France from images of lazy mornings on the terrace of a café with a café au lait in hand!

The Rise of Coffee Culture

While Paris was known for a robust café culture, the coffee culture revolution is relatively modern. France was long known for having harsh, over-extracted, and bitter shots made from coffee sourced straight from French industrial coffee giants.

Now, in the past few years, Paris has set about repairing its dismal coffee reputation. You could easily find an Instagram worthy place to take a picture with your coffee – but most of us wouldn’t want to do much more than take a picture with it, as drinking it could be a very unpleasant experience.

Fortunately for coffee lovers, and France’s reputation, this has begun to change. Today, Paris is leading the way in terms of specialty coffees in France, influencing the locations and cities surrounding it.

Until 2005, when la Caféothèque opened for business, you would have been unable to find any place serving high-grade, single-origin coffee in Paris. This café was the beginning of a Parisian coffee revolution, with both a roaster and a café.

Several years later, more cafés followed the example set by la Caféothèque, such as Coutume and l’Arbre à Café and Café Lomi. Now, in hindsight, it’s easy to single out 2013 as the year when specialty and high-grade coffees began to take off in Paris.

The Verdict

Several years ago, coffee lovers traveling to Paris were excited at the prospect of a magnificently brewed cup of Joe but would find themselves fantastically disappointed. Now, however, coffee lovers visiting Paris can rejoice! Because of the new demand in the coffee scene, more and more specialty cafés have opened up that serve coffee that’s worth more than a simple Instagram post – serving up brews that coffee lovers will actually want to drink afterward!