It’s hard to believe O Coffeeshop has only been open for two months. Nearly everyone who walks into the Left Bank cafe run by Tim Teyssier and Matthew Sloane beams a knowing “Bonjour, ça va?” at the owners, as if to old friends. That’s the beauty of the 15th arrondissement: it’s a little village tucked within the pulsing Paris metropole. And O Coffeeshop is right at home on Rue de Lourmel, flanked by small cheese shops, butchers, bakers, and produce vendors, some of whom provide ingredients for the cafe’s small but tempting lunch menu. “We work as much as we can with the people around us,” says Teyssier. “We get bread from the bakery next door, all the ham and charcuterie next door as well, and we go to the market for fish.”
O Coffeeshop is a canny reflection of the 15th arrondissement itself: office workers pop in for an espresso on their way to the Metro; moms park strollers on the colorful tile floor while they wait for a takeaway; expats and the occasional tourist chatter away over lattes and slices of Teyssier’s mythic grilled banana bread. Teyssier and Sloane also happen to live in the 15th arrondissement, which makes for an easy commute. “It’s just five minutes by skateboard from my house,” says Teyssier with a laugh.
O Coffeeshop has come a long way from its original incarnation as a nomadic bicycle-powered coffee pop-up. “From the beginning, the idea was to have a cafe. The point of the pop-up was to figure out what we wanted to do, what works,” explains Teyssier. An eight-month residency alongside Boneshaker at The Beans On Fire gave Teyssier and Sloane the time to find a location and do the work to make it the welcoming space it is today. Now instead of perching on a tricycle, the La Marzocco Linea PB and Mahlkönig EK 43 grinder are permanent fixtures that greet customers when they first walk in.
Having a permanent location means Teyssier and Sloane can do things like serve lunch, which they do every day, as well as an all-day brunch on Saturday. Each day of the week has a theme—Wednesday is croque monsieur, Friday riffs on Hawaiian poke bowl—around which is built the plat du jour. “The purpose was to have a good coffee…and not the usual fare, like sandwich, soup, and quiche.” Teyssier says. His famous banana bread is still on the menu, though, along with dense, chunky brownies and thick cookies bulging with chocolate chips—all baked fresh each morning in the cafe kitchen. “It was really important for us to have an open kitchen, to keep everything clean and open for everyone to see,” says Teyssier, as he arranges slices of banana on a generous bowl of homemade granola and yogurt.
It’s rare that a sense of community shines through so strongly and so quickly in a cafe. But Teyssier and Sloane have built community literally into the fiber of O Coffeeshop; many friends had a hand in the cafe’s realization. “Everything we do is about collaboration and working with people who have a passion,” says Teyssier, pointing to the bright yellow surfboard hanging on one wall, a gift from a friend who makes them in his garage. The building design, the furniture, and even the t-shirts Teyssier and Sloane sport under their denim aprons all started as collaborations with friends.
The surfboard is a wink to their shared love of surfing, though neither has had much time to ride in the last eight months. Hopefully that will change as they settle into the new routine of a cafe with a fixed address. “We just need to find a good rhythm. Everything is about rhythm, and a balance between work and pleasure,” says Teyssier. “We can’t surf every weekend, but we can’t work 14 hours a day either. We want to be here for the long run.”
Photos courtesy of O Coffeeshop.