American (coffee) in Paris

American coffee

While in Paris, I saw tourists of all nationalities, and merchants or vendors making open efforts to draw them in. And of course there were restaurants for every conceivable region. But we didn’t see anything specifically American — nor did we expect to — until we stumbled across this café on the Île de la Cité.

Which led to a question: is American coffee really all that different? My wife didn’t have any coffee in France (she’s quite prejudiced in favor of Portuguese coffee), and I don’t drink the stuff at all, so we were clueless. I’m wondering if anyone else can offer input. Is this an attempt to draw in American tourists, or are be others who would be attracted to American coffee — enough to make such advertising worth it?

About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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12 Responses to American (coffee) in Paris

  1. Lies says:

    When in Italy I was told to take “Americano” which would be ‘regular’ coffee (i.e. the drinkable, simple coffee I grew up with in Belgium), as opposed to the (slightly, ahum) stronger brew you would generally get by default when ordering just “coffee”. Maybe they call it that because it’s what the American tourists would drink who can’t handle the strong mediterranean coffee?

  2. ana says:

    in my experience, an american coffee is a sort of watery espresso, but i don’t know if that’s standard everywhere 🙂

    • oregon expat says:

      “Once I brought some very nice coffee from Guatemala to the coffee importer in Le Havre and made them try some. They said it was too good for the French.”

      LOL! Okay, that explains. No wonder my wife wouldn’t drink the stuff.

  3. syrin says:

    MJ should do the same as my mother: everytime she travels outside of Portugal, she packs her favorite coffeemaker (http://bit.ly/lit3nY) and a bag of portuguese coffee (well, technically it’s not portuguese because we don’t produce coffee, but that’s not really important) so she can brew her own coffee. Yeah, we’re snobs like that. 😀

    • Sandy says:

      delta cafés does the coffee roasting and coffee packaging in Alentejo, so doesn’t that make it Portuguese? and that’s the BEST coffe in the world!

  4. Birdie says:

    In the case of that particular restaurant, aren’t they simply translating “Cafe Americain” to English? (You know they don’t serve Folgers there anyway…lol)

    • oregon expat says:

      Ah! You mean as in “Rick’s Café Américain”? That could be it…in which case they made a rather dreadful translation error. Also, I saw no sign of a piano.

  5. M. says:

    Yay for us tea-addicts. No problems with quality of coffee 😉

    • oregon expat says:

      Hear hear! Although I did make an attempt to get a hot cocoa. This turned out to be a mistake, as I paid 3.60 euros for a cup of hot cocoa made with (ugh) water.

  6. Jorge says:

    In europe, the espresso is the centerpiece. You rarely find a drink that is over 5 ounces, and it will contain at least 2 shots of espresso. Also you rarely add flavors and the such. The chocolate they use in mochas is a dark, rich, not overly sweet chocolate that compliments the coffee, not covers it up. In america, the coffee takes the back seat. The drinks are rarely UNDER 12 ounces. A 12 oz drink generally contains 1 shot and the 16 and 20 oz drinks contain only 2. The syrups including chocolate are extremely sweet and its customary to always add at least one shot of syrup, many times several shots to one drink. Its also customary to put whipped topping on damn near every drink. Thats the american style. Yes, an “americano” is watered down espresso, but american coffee, as in the american coffee style, is basically something starbucks invented… A horrible perversion of what true coffee is. I know this cuz ive been a barista for 10 yrs now, so i know a thing or two 🙂

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