Imagine walking into a café with one chair, one table, and one cup of coffee poured just for you… but in Narnia.
*feature image: Liz Merwin, artist at Patchwork Zombies
[10 rue du Nil, 75002 (Paris, France: 3rd district)]
L’Arbre à Café is the final product of wine and coffee connoisseur, Hippolyte Courty. Originally a roaster-only establishment, l’Arbre extended its empire and opened its cafe doors in 2014. But don’t let its young age fool you because the craftsmanship created from its artisans are anything but inexperienced.
Quality of Service:
The barista who took my order was kind, patient, and the ultimate multitasker. She gave me constant updates on the progress of my order while serving multiple pour overs for another customer to taste test.
Quality of Product:
I ordered a Flat White, which was 4.50 euro (~500 yen, 6 dollars). For those new to the world of coffee, a flat white is similar to a cappuccino, but has a higher ratio of coffee to milk; therefore, the coffee dominates the flavor while the milk gently supports it, creating a rich, velvety mélange.
My beverage was made with l’Arbre’s single-origin blend, Kent d’Unna Naturel sourced from Tamil Nadu, India. It did not disappoint. This is by far the best coffee that has passed my lips. It’s rich in flavor with a punch of spice. Check out other blends from their Grands Crus collection.
Of course, I couldn’t walk away with out purchasing Café (aka the coffee bible) by Hippolyte Courty. The perfect way to hit two birds with one stone: learn about the world of coffee and French.
Quality of Atmosphere:
Finding l’Arbre is like discovering the wardrobe to Narnia. You have to believe it exists for you to find it because it’s tucked away along a side alleyway hidden from the main street, making it impossible to happen upon its unassuming storefront. But sometimes we must go through the darkest cave to find the brightest light and once you do, you will discover an intimate boutique with one counter, one couch, and one table.
I would return to l’Arbre à Café even if things never happen the same way twice.
Before you leave, a few words of advice from one coffee consumer to another: never tell your barista that the coffee tastes burnt. Cuppers, roasters, and baristas (at least experienced ones) will never serve you a purposely over-roasted or burnt brew. That would be a shameful waste of the sacred bean. Instead of “burnt”, you might be confusing this flavor with bitterness.
Coffee flavor falls on a spectrum with acidity on the far left, bitterness on the far right, and sweetness in the center. The aim of a coffee recipe is to have the perfect balance between acidity (fruity, spicy), sweetness, and bitterness (nutty, chocolaty). Too much acidity means the espresso will taste sour; too much bitterness and it will taste, well…, bitter. If your beverage is tasting a little on the sour side, politely ask the barista to brew it a few seconds longer; conversely, a few seconds shorter for slightly bitter coffee.
Let us go on and take the adventure that shall fall to us. ~C.S. Lewis