Are you about to plan a trip to France and can already see yourself sitting at table in a bar sipping an excellent espresso? Every country actually has its own way of making coffee, so you need to know that in Paris, for example, it won’t be easy to find the same espresso coffee we know and love here in Italy.
But that doesn’t mean there are no alternatives! Far from it! It’s important to know in advance how coffee is generally drunk in France, so you can get your order right and choose the kind you prefer.
How to drink coffee in France: different types of coffee
In most cases, the coffee served in French cafes has almost nothing in common with Italian coffee. It is, in fact, a longer coffee-flavoured drink with a more bitter aftertaste. The local version is made using the traditional French coffee maker called the French press, patented by an Italian back in 1929.
Be sure to take notes, because there are many different types of coffee:
- Café au lait: coffee with milk. Here the amount of coffee is greater than the amount of milk.
- Café crème: similar to coffee with milk but with cream instead of milk.
- Rallongé or allongé: a longer coffee prepared with twice as much water as coffee.
- Renversé: latte with twice as much milk as coffee.
- Noisette: very similar to caffè macchiato. It turns hazel brown when you add milk.
- Café gourmand: any of the coffees mentioned above accompanied by cakes or pastries. It is usually served at the end of a meal.
Of these kinds of coffee, the most popular one is latte, which the French drink at any time of the day, and often during meals too.
Things you need to know when ordering an espresso in France
If you’re a fan of the real espresso, don’t give up hope. Espresso exists in France and is easy to recognise, but you need to be careful to order it correctly.
As we said before, not all the bars make espresso but if you go to the right ones you need to order a ristretto. Emphasis on the “o”, obviously.
After a few minutes, you’ll see a familiar espresso cup show up, in which the coffee almost reaches the brim and, if you’re lucky, a velvety cream resembling the one we know so well.
Even if the taste won’t be what you expect, drinking a coffee in one of these places is definitely a one-off experience, especially if you decide to try it out in a charming literary café.