I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Paris with our wonderful media expert (and my partner) Leigh Marino over the last 9 days. With all of the amazing museums, gardens, churches, and sights to see, we of course made lots of time to imbibe the Parisian café and coffee scene.
The differences are quite striking when going from a blend of rural and city coffee culture in the US, to the highly dense café scene in Paris.
For example, take-out coffee from a café is near nonexistent. You stand at the bar if you're in a hurry, or sit and allow it to be a prolonged experience. If you order a coffee it will be an espresso you're having, by the way, and if you need to be fancy you can have a cappuccino or americano, but don't figure on getting a quad-shot caramel latte with whip. (Actually I might recommend trying to order one just to see what reaction you get!)
Drip coffee was nowhere to be found: a coffee = an espresso
With oftentimes a hundred seats in a bistro, I might see one person on a laptop, too. Smartphones are nearly as glued to the people's eyes as here in the States, but people there haven't turned their neighborhood cafés into a mobile office.
Hanging outside Café Loustic, a third wave coffee shop
Instead, we saw a lot of animated conversations (and cigarettes!). Morning coffee, break time, and lunches were with colleagues or friends in most cases.
The third wave coffee shops were actually quite rare (probably 1 for every 100 cafés), where multiple origin options/brew methods were available. As a business that's so heavily invested in finding and offering amazing spectrums of flavor profiles, I kinda love that the busiest cafés are not the ones with the biggest selection of coffees. It's a culture existing around coffee, and not a coffee culture.
If you order a cappuccino in Paris, this is what you get!
A very light roast Ethiopian coffee with ridiculously delicious avocado toast at Télescope Café
We had an amazing trip and I would say, should you get the opportunity to go, drink in the cadence and life of the citizens every bit as much as the coffee. That's what's really shining over there.