Over two weeks in June 2016, Sprudge.com’s intrepid founders Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen embarked on a whirlwind tour of Europe, taping podcasts and having a nice coffee time along the way. Last week we brought you an episode from our first tour stop in Dublin, featuring interviews with champion from around the world as a part of the Urnex Ambassador Program at the 2016 World Barista Championship. This week we’re taking you to Paris.
First and foremost: sign up now as a subscriber to the Coffee Sprudgecast and never miss an episode. The Coffee Sprudgecast European Tour is sponsored by La Marzocco, Cafe Imports Europe, and KitchenAid USA craft coffee equipment.
The scene: a busy Monday evening in a little non-descript square in Paris, just up from the Canal St. Martin. That’s where the team at Belleville Brûlerie have set up shop with La Fontaine de Belleville, an extraordinary new cafe that melds traditional Parisian sidewalk cafe culture with a mindful, exciting range of food and beverage offerings and delicious coffee. The only real visual difference between this and the many other typical sidewalk cafes in this city is the presence of a La Marzocco Linea PB and a tasteful wall of Belleville roasted coffee. Other than that, things are exactly as they should be at La Fontaine, a cafe in continual operation since 1915.
Over a little bistro table on the back wall of Fontaine we transformed this cafe into a salon, interviewing some of the most influencers in Paris coffee today. They included Antoine Netien, co-owner and master roaster at Coutume Café, the enormously influential Parisian coffee roasting brand now with locations in Tokyo and Osaka; Mihaela Iordache, a Romanian classical guitar prodigy who gave it all up to follow her ardent love of coffee, and is now the head roaster at Belleville; Nicolas Piégay, whose KB Coffeeshop in Pigalle was among the first to serve good coffee in the French capital; and David Nigel Flynn, an American expat in the grand Parisian tradition whose influence has helped transform coffee in France, and who today co-owns Belleville Brûlerie and La Fontaine de Belleville.
Over delicious French microbrews and natural wines, we talked about the current state of coffee in Paris, where it goes next, and the unique challenges each of these fascinating professionals face in their own expression of coffee as a craft. Giant gorgeous plates of ham were passed; the street scene went on all around us, the cafe packed both inside and out; and for an evening we became part of the irresistible rhythm of Paris, a city wrapped in both celebration and mourning, a moveable feast eternally between meals.
We hope you enjoy this very special episode of the Coffee Sprudgecast, because we sure enjoyed producing it. A very special thank you to our gracious hosts at Belleville Brûlerie and La Fontaine de Belleville.
Next up on the tour, a whirlwind stop-over in Berlin to tape an episode with Five Elephant Coffee in Görlitzer Park. Guests include Jessica Godfrey (Acme & Co.), Simone König (Good Spirits), Cory Andreen (Berlin Coffee Festival, Brew Box) and Kris Schackman (Five Elephant).
The Coffee Sprudgecast European Tour is sponsored by La Marzocco, Cafe Imports Europe, and KitchenAid USA.
Photos by Elizabeth Chai.