« The Caféothèque is where the coffee revolution in Paris first kicked off seven years ago, created by the doyenne of ‘coffeology’ Gloria Montenegro, a former Ambassador of Guatemala, today an unofficial ambassador for quality coffee from all over the world. Gloria goes at least twice a year to visit coffee producers in South America and Africa. At the moment, the Caféothèque stocks and roasts coffee from 23 different countries, but aims to go up to 31 so they can offer a different country every day of the month. The café is next door to a vast artist’s residence, La Cité Internationale des Arts, which ensures a lively cosmopolitan clientele, while its picture-postcard location on the banks of the Seine means tourists are always dropping by as well.
From the outside the café looks quite poky, but once inside you discover a rabbit’s warren of intimate salons. The cosy backroom behind Caféothèque’s boutique has a piano, a big trunk filled with kid’s toys and one wall lined with dozens of drawers containing their stock of unroasted coffee beans from all over the world. The next lounge is decorated like a comfy living room, with customers quietly reading – books rather than Kindles; it’s that kind of place. A gallery space hosts art exhibitions dedicated to coffee, then there is a bar where the baristas work with a showcase of tempting cakes and quiches. The biggest surprise is the last room which boasts a mur végétal tropical with 20 different coffee plants growing out of the wall. A word of warning – don’t be fooled by a bowl of ‘nuts’ placed on the bar, as these may look like pistachios but are actually unroasted coffee beans, and can easily break a tooth.