Want a taste of what infidelity can get you? Come to Paris.
If you came to Paris five years ago and were in search of a good cup of coffee, you would have quickly gotten bored (not to mention unsatiated); the offering of specialty coffee shops was practically nonexistent. You would have found yourself in a coffee dry spell. Nowadays, however, that has fortunately changed, and for the “coffee traveler,” there are plenty of places to visit.
But while the outside, coffee-loving world might be well aware of the Paris specialty coffee explosion, that doesn’t mean that things are always the same on the inside. Despite notable press, both international and French, there are still those to whom the specialty scene is completely foreign. “Even after two years, new customers were still coming in each week and asking us how long we had been open,” says Channa Galhenage of Café Loustic. ‘Two years’ was the reply, to general astonishment. I thought to myself—if this is still happening after two years, we have a problem and we need to get the message out.”
Galhenage partnered up with three other cafes in town who were experiencing a similar issue, Blackburn, DOSE, and Matamata, all of whom have been around for at least ten months. Teaming together in the hopes of not only promoting their own businesses, but challenging customers to explore the diversity of the Parisian coffee scene, they decided they would implement an “infidelity card,” like a customer loyalty card, except that you’re encouraged to go and get it filled up at other places. This type of “disloyalty” card has been employed in the coffee industry before, although the use of the word infidelity (infidélité in French) is a little cheeky.
“We called it an ‘infidelity card’ because you can choose between four different ‘lovers’—a great coffee experience four different ways,” says Galhenage. Check out all four of the places and you can answer: which way is your favorite?
And while the infidelity card may be a nod to the fact that there are great cafes in Paris that have yet to be discovered by the masses, it’s also a fitting example of how collaborative the scene in this city has become. “The coffee community in Paris is extremely enmeshed. There can be a few people who are not very collaborative, but they are rather rare,” says Grégoire Reversé of DOSE.
If only infidelity was always so beneficial.
Anna Brones (@annabrones) is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Paris, the founder of Foodie Underground, and the co-author of Fika: The Art Of The Swedish Coffee Break, available now from Ten Speed Press. Read more Anna Brones on Sprudge.