Imagine walking into a café where fox cookies welcome you at the door, an Alice in Wonderland-esk clock hangs above, and matcha on ice awaits you. You’re not sure what other out-of-place things you will encounter, but you’re ready for anything.
[51 Gallerie de Montpensier 75001 (Paris, France; 1st district)]
In the two short years that Café Kitsuné has been playing in the Paris coffee game, they have dominated the arena. Their plain white cups with fancy black scrawl can be seen all over Paris: in the hands of tourists roaming the streets, in front of buskers collecting change, in the gullies littering the metro. Once, I even saw a patron bring one into Boot Café (my second home). (ノ-_-)ノ ~┻━┻ Call it beginner’s luck, but whatever Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki (founders) are doing, they’re definitely giving Starbucks a run for their money. Either way, it was time to see where all these to-go cups were coming from.
Quality of Service:
I kid you not, I was greeted by cookies in the shape of foxes! I… wow… yup… a thousand creativity points to Café Kitsuné. For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese, kitsune (狐) means fox. Instantaneously, memories of unexpected kawaii experiences in Japan flooded my brain. Understandable considering this café is the offspring of Japanese fashion & media mecca: Maison Kitsuné.
Even on a low-key Wednesday afternoon, the lineup was out-the-door and all the tables were occupied. Two lovely lady baristas diligently manned the espresso machine and patiently waited on the ceaseless queue without losing their cool.
Quality of Product:
On this visit, I was delegated (by my dear friend, Armand who told me [about 10 blog posts ago] that I was an idiot and going about finding a job in the wrong way. Yup! That guy!) the exciting/arduous task of getting someone who doesn’t drink coffee, doesn’t like coffee, and doesn’t go out of his way for coffee to somehow drink, like, and accept coffee. I needed to change his life. Challenge Accepted.
I thought I’d ease his palate onto le petit noir by adding a little chocolate into the mix. Plus it was a warm summer’s day, so let’s add some chill. Best solution: iced mocha latte (5.50 euros, 645 yen, 7 dollars); a double shot of espresso, a cup of steamed milk, a tablespoon or two of dark chocolate shavings/powder, and a cup of crushed ice. Cold, creamy, rich, with a touch of sweetness. What could go wrong?
Turns out, Armand doesn’t like dark chocolate either. ＼(●o○;)ノ
Mission Aborted… for now! I will convince you yet, Armand! Coffee is delicious.
For the more diehard coffee fans, Kitsuné imports their tasty beans from London-based roaster, Workshop Coffee Co.
Quality of Atmosphere:
It’s no wonder Kitsuné cups are showcased all over Instagram by tourists and locals alike. Palais Royal is at its doorstep and the Louvre is a mere hop-skip-jump away. You can’t get more city-central than this.
Inside is a single counter with plenty of leaning space and a few stools on standby, reminiscent of an Italian bar. But inside can feel a little cramped, so the patio is where you want to be (if you can score a table that is). Even if it’s completely occupied, you have the elegant palace gardens to roam. It’s quite mesmerizing.
When in Paris, follow the flock. They know where the good coffee is at. Just don’t take Armand with you. 😉
Helpful Coffee Tips:
Let’s talk a little bit about iced coffee. After you’ve pulled your normal shot of espresso and before you make it into an Americano, it’s imperative to subtract 20-30ml of water from your usual recipe. So, when the ice melts, it won’t dilute your coffee and make it gross and watery. If you do so then, you’ll be left with a chill yet flavorful cup of iced joe.
Now go out and impress people with your random coffee knowledge.
Japan is magical. There is no other way to describe it.