When we think of coffee, our minds immediately take us to Italy. It is, after all, a coffee crazed nation where you can find some of the most delicious coffees around. But French coffee? We don’t often know what that even means, or what the actual types of French coffees are.
If you walk into your local coffee shop and ask for a French coffee, the person behind the counter will most likely look at you in a very confused way.
And rightfully so.
So let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of French coffee, and how you can also be a French coffee drinker for a day!
What Is French Coffee Actually?
I was fortunate enough to live outside of Paris for just under a year, so the world of coffee in these parts is something I am rather familiar with.
If you had to try and guess, you would most like associate coffee in France to being made with a French press, right?
Or maybe by using coffee beans that are roasted and produced in France?
Whilst this may be true, it actually isn’t the prerequisite for a coffee being classified as “French coffee”.
You see, French coffee more refers to the way in which people in France enjoy their daily caffeine.
It’s not really anything to do with the the actual coffee itself.
If you walk into any cafe in Paris and simply ask for a normal coffee, you will always be served with a small espresso.
On top of this, French people almost never add milk to their coffees.
I never hung out with any French person that wold order a cappuccino, iced coffee or even a flat white.
This just is not the way they do things!
As I said before, French coffee is not really related to anything to do with the actual coffee which you are drinking.
It’s all to do with the culture.
Sitting outside in Paris cafe on the sidewalk, sipping away on your small espresso, and watching people walk by is as French as it gets!
Is A French Press Actually French?
You would think so! Right?
The name can actually be slightly misleading.
It’s acceptable to simply assume that coffee made in France is probably made using a French press.
But this is not true.
Two Frenchmen did create the first version of the French press in 1852, but it was actually patented and put into popular use by two Italians in 1928.
The Italian version became known as the French press we all use today!
And I can say, that after having lived in the greater Paris region for almost a year, I never actually had any French friends who made coffee using a French press.
I am sure there are a few people who France who make use of the French press, but don’t expect to see it in any cafes!
Types Of French Coffee
If you are wondering what the most popular types of French coffee are, then I have listed them below.
As mentioned earlier, most French people simply drink espresso. But there are other coffee drink variations available.
You just have to know which ones to order!
This is the most popular type of coffee in France.
If you simply order a “cafe” you will be served a plain old shot of espresso.
The French style espresso is strong and rather bitter, so ask for some sugar if you think it would make it taste better for you!
2. Cafe Creme
A cafe creme is basically the French version of a cappuccino.
It consists of a shot of espresso, topped up with steamed milk.
3. Cafe Americain
I assume you can guess what this type of coffee is!
Yes, an Americano coffee.
Just the way most of us know it to be.
An Americano is basically one or two shots of espresso, with hot water added.
If drinking an espresso is too much for you, then having a diluted Americano is definitely something you should try.
Noisette actually means “hazelnut” in French, but the drink doesn’t consist any hazelnut flavor.
We believe they call it this due to the color resembling that of hazelnut.
Basically, it’s the French equivalent of a cafe macchiato.
A cafe macchiato is a shot of espresso topped up with a little bit of steamed milk, and is served in a clear glass about the same size as an espresso cup.
5. Un Deca
If you feel like you have had too much caffeine, then order yourself a Deca!
It is basically a decaf, so you can give your body a well needed rest from the caffeine overload.
6. Cafe Viennois
This coffee drink is a little sweeter, so if you having a sweet tooth, then order this one.
A cafe viennois is made with espresso, whipped cream and cocoa powder!
7. Cafe Filtre
Whilst not as popular in French cafes, filter coffee is still an option for those of you who prefer a less strong coffee.
Chances are you most likely already own your very own drip coffee maker. But you can also order these in most French style coffee shops!
What Do French People Eat With Coffee?
Most French people will enjoy sweet pastries with their coffees.
Be it croissants, or the many variations fo croissants. Or even other delicious sweets such as eclairs.
You will rarely find a French person eating something savory in the mornings!
A Few Other Things To Consider
In France, there aren’t the same type of coffee menus which you most likely are used to in the USA.
Most French people will usually just order a “cafe”, which is just a normal shot of espresso. Almost everyone will add sugar, and often enjoy it with a croissant.
You can ask for a coffee with milk, but I always just did whatever the Parisians did and ordered an espresso!
Another fun fact about French coffee culture is that if you order your coffee at the bar, and not at a table sitting down, it’s cheaper!
French coffee is more to do with a culture and way of enjoying coffee than anything else!
Next time you go into a French coffee shop, order yourself something a little unusual, such as a cafe creme or a noisette!