The Parisian coffee culture is famous around the world. Melbournian coffee culture is arguably as famous (just ask a Melbournian). But the two cities could not be further apart when it comes to what matters to their respective coffee culture vultures. I can speak with sincere authority on this topic as I have consumed copious amounts in both cities.
Coffee in Melbourne - WHAT MATTERS
- Froth density
- Froth art: quality/creativity/relevance.
- Origin: local/fairtrade/single origin etc.
- Distance: between the roaster and the grinder.
- Seconds: between grinding and brewing.
- Attitude: of the barista.
- Vessel: mismatched vintage/wonky/matte/modern/glass. (NB unsaid rule: thou shalt never drink from ….[shudder] a mug).
- Machine: must be retro and have an Italian sounding name.
- Decor: understated fusion of minimalist/industrial/Scandinavian influences preferred.
- Lighting: Low-hanging pendant lights should far outnumber all other forms of illumination.
- Ambience: almost but not-yet-discovered musical genius in the background blended with an inoffensive level of spoons clashing, glasses stacking, machines frothing, brewing and overheard exclamations of “Thank God, I’ve been dying for this [3rd, 4th] coffee all day".
OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE
- Extent of the queue out the front.
- Length of the barista’s beard.
You should feel extremely cool after drinking your coffee, but nowhere close to the level of intangible cool-factor exuding from all the staff you’ve encountered since joining the queue 3 hours earlier.
I could go on. I won’t. I think we’ve all suffered enough (even just the thought of coffee in a mug…ew).
Coffee in Paris - WHAT MATTERS
THAT YOU ARE IN PARIS DRINKING COFFEE THAT IS ALL .
Enough about that other bullshit. Do not complain if the beans are burnt, the waiter is rude and it comes in a mug overflowing with froth. What matters is that you are in Paris. Like Denuto (up there with Aristotle etc) once said, it’s the “vibe of the thing”. Drink that shit and shut-up. Notice the magnificent architecture right in front of you. Soak up that sexy French accent nearby. Count the Peugots. Watch those fluffy doggies trot. Drink, pay, saunter….to a museum. Or a fashion show. Along the Seine. Or to your small apartment to cook dinner, bathe children or scrape yesterday’s weeta-bix (weird European brand) off the floor. WHATEVER. PARIS.
Yes okay, I’ll admit there have been a few decent coffee places popping up of late. Melbournians love to lay claim to the origins of these cafes - eg they must “be from Melbourne,” they must have “been to Melbourne,” or they must have “heard of Melbourne.” Friends who care about me have been tagging me on articles like this and this - helping me find some homestyle comfort or maybe to just to STOP MY WHINGEING but believe me, these cafes are hard to find and (usually*) on the far side of town. So unless you’ve got half a day up your sleeve to go on a “good coffee” scavenge hunt, I’m afraid you’ll be forced to accept that mug-o-bitter-froth and vibe it up. Americans love to say “oh but THANK GOD for Starbucks” and yes I agree it’s ok IF YOU’RE DESPERATE but didn’t you know that Starbucks went bust in Melbourne because they did not stock enough queues or beards. Plus, having your name called out in public is tres uncool.
To finish up, I have to tell you I really hate it when THE TRUTH gets in the way of a good story. BUT VERY RECENTLY (after I’d begun to write this article - obviously), A NEW CAFE POPPED UP IN MY ‘HOOD. The coffee and the vibe in there is SO GOOD there just HAS to be some kind of Melbourne story behind it. Maybe the owner’s cousin’s friend’s brother-in-law’s poodle went there once. Probably.
Here’s a snap of the liquid gold I now have at my fingertips.
The only problem I have now is what am I going to whinge about? Between the new cafe and the AFLlivePass thingy there's not much left!
Do me a favour and leave me a suggestion. Or better still come and visit, we’ll go out for coffee.