La Caféothèque de Paris

WHERE: 52 rue Hôtel de Ville, 75004 (4ème arrondissement)
WHEN: Mon - Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 12pm-6:30pm (+1h every day for the bean boutique) 
HOW MUCH: espresso 3€; crème 5€
METRO: St. Paul (line 1); Pont-Marie (line 7)
BEANS: Caféothèque, roasted on premises
FOOD: Homemade tarts and pastries
CONTACT: Facebook; Web; Tel: +33 1 53 01 83 84

As one of the premier pioneers in specialty coffee in Paris, La Caféothèque de Paris and its dedicated team deserve a special mention on this site. It was in part thanks to the initiative of Gloria Montenegro that Parisian coffee drinkers were reminded that there was more to coffee than big brand beans and burnt bitterness.   

Starting in 2001, Gloria would roam the city with a few fellow aficionados and provide samples of carefully-selected single estate brews to locals, in the hope of raising awareness of high quality beans, independent, local roasting and careful extraction. The idea was to appeal to the French appreciation of fine flavours and aromas, such as those characteristic of the exquisite wines and perfumes found in France. By tempting the refined French palate, Gloria would use these public tastings to win over locals and gain support for her atypical style of coffee, which to this day is exclusively single estate–no blends.

It wasn’t long before those sampling her coffee demanded it in espresso form, and so in 2005 she resigned from her previous job and dedicated herself entirely to coffee by opening La Caféothèque de Paris. After a visit from the president of La Marzocco in 2006, who claimed that “such good coffee deserves an equally good machine”, La Caféothèque became one of the first cafés in Paris to host a first class coffee rig. This was  a turning point for coffee in the city, as La Caféothèque was not only a hub for coffee culture, but it would also provide a setting for the likes of Thomas Lehoux (Ten Belles, Belleville Brûlerie), David Nigel Flynn (Télescope, Belleville Brûlerie), Channa Galhenage (Café Loustic) and more recently Emmanuel Buschiazzo (Réseau des Baristas de France),  amongst many others, to immerse themselves in specialty coffee in Paris.

Thirteen years after Gloria started her public tastings, La Caféothèque continues to play its part in an increasingly diverse Parisian coffee culture. The café, which is located right across from the astronomical real estate prices of Ile St. Louis, consists of a variety of Latin-inspired spaces in which customers can enjoy one of the twenty single estate varieties on offer. Committed baristas like Yadh, who proudly claims never to have served a blend in his life, make sure you get your money’s worth. Coffee may be accompanied by a homemade sweet or savoury pastry, otherwise the little piece of chocolate that comes with every order should keep you going for a while. By the by, knowing where/how to order can be confusing sometimes (perhaps a remnant of blissful Latin chaos), so if you’re not sure then just head straight to the bar and let them know what you’re after.

These days, Gloria, her husband Bernard and their talented daughter Christina take care of the operations side of the business. Besides all the upkeep, accounting, marketing and communications, this includes 50-hour intensive coffee courses for people who wish to work in the industry. While all this is going on in the training room, Eyayu, the resident roaster, is churning out ten batches per day of coffee ready to be sold or consumed on the premises. La Caféothèque is like a well-oiled coffee machine, where all the gears are tirelessly turning to produce the best cup possible. 

Gloria, by uniting her native Guatemala, her passion for coffee and her adoptive country, helped to initiate the development of a style of coffee that has grown and evolved in Paris over the past decade. Keep all of this in mind when you go to La Caféothèque, and you’ll appreciate a lot more than just the contents of your cup.


  1. Unless things have changed recently, they don't have roast dates and keep beans in vintage dispensers on the wall. Anyone looking for Third wave coffee will be disappointed here.