An Australian coffee connoisseur is harnessing expert service and a convivial atmosphere to reinvent and reinvigorate the Parisian café scene.
Café Coutume on Rue Babylone in the 7th arrondissement used to be a tired old kebab shop before it was reborn as one of Paris’s latest boutique coffee hangouts. The oak flooring, original fin de siecle mouldings and exposed brickwork provide no hint of the premise’s former life. Yet this transformation, overseen by French architect firm CUT, only tells half the story.
‘The Paris café scene definitely needs a kick up the backside,’ says Tom Clark the café’s co-founder. His passion for coffee shines through as he opens a large tub of Santa Barbara beans from El Salvador that he roasted three days before. ‘Notes of green apple and dark chocolate,’ he explains as the powerful aromas rise from the container.
On the counter are tall coffee filters that resemble scientific equipment, but thanks to the friendly staff the atmosphere at Café Coutume is warm and welcoming. Customers are guided with a reassuring smile rather than a superior scowl.
‘We got rid of the traditional zinc-top bar so people would have to sit and take time to appreciate the coffee,’ says Clark. ‘We also replaced the small round tables with long benches to encourage people to chat and interact.’
Consumer Insights: In the six months since Café Coutume opened it has become a hub of the local community. Some concessions, such as a larger menu, have been made but consumers have been eager to embrace change.
Brand take-away: As consumers are increasingly seeking a deeper appreciation of products, the role of expert staff and engaging service has never been more important. They are essential in turning a private passion into a rich, shared exploration.