How coffee is drunk in France


Are you about to plan a trip to France, and are you already imagining yourself at a coffee shop table sipping a good espresso? Actually, all countries have a different way of making coffee, so it’s only fair that you know that in Paris, for example, you will rarely be able to find espresso as we know it in Italy.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have alternatives, on the contrary! The important thing is to know in advance how to drink coffee in France, so you can order it the right way and according to your preferences.

How to drink coffee in France: the different preparations

In most cases, the coffee served in French coffee bars has almost nothing in common with Italian coffee. It is, in fact, a coffee-flavored drink, longer and sour in the aftertaste. The domestic version is prepared with a typical French coffee maker called a French press, patented by an Italian in 1929.

Be prepared to take notes, because the types of coffee are many and all different from each other:

  • Café au lait: a drink in which the amount of coffee is greater than the amount of milk.
  • Café crème: very similar to café au latte, but milk is replaced by cream.
  • Rallongé or allongé: long coffee, prepared with twice the amount of water as coffee.
  • Renversé: lattes with twice the amount of milk as coffee.
  • Noisette: very similar to a café macchiato, which turns hazelnut in color with the addition of milk.
  • Café gourmand: one of the various coffees mentioned above, but with the addition of sweets or pastries. In fact, it is served at the conclusion of the meal. Of these, the most popular is probably the café gourmand, which in France is consumed at any time of day, often even during meals.


Things to know if you order espresso in France

If you are a lover of real espresso, don’t give up hope. Espresso in France exists, and you can easily recognize it, but you must be careful to order it the right way.

As anticipated, it is not prepared in all cafes, but in the right ones, you can walk in and ask for a ristretto, to be pronounced strictly with the accent on the “o.”

After a few minutes, you’ll see a classic espresso cup arrive, inside which the coffee almost reaches the rim and, if you’re lucky, with a velvety crema similar to the one we’re familiar with.

Although the taste may not be quite what you expect, drinking coffee in one of these places is definitely an incredible experience, especially if you decide to do so in a charming literary café.