Ordering Coffee in France Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Ordering Coffee in France

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There's only one thing that the French take more pride in than their language and culture and that is their coffee. While those of us in the UK are exploring the Italian-US imports of double mocha, cappuccino and latte with more flavoured syrups than you can shake a stick at, the French have remained faithful to the old favourites while adopting the newer imports for an international tourist trade.

Below you will find the seven classic variations of coffee that are served in bars and restaurants in every province but are more commonly known in Provence. Each one is a treasure in its own right.

  • Café espresso [ka-fay ess-press-o] - This is the bog-standard espresso that is served black and is occasionally accompanied by a biscuit/chocolate. This is the traditional small cup.

  • Une Noisette [nwa-zet] - Meaning 'hazelnut', this is a small espresso coffee with a dash of milk/cream in it.

  • Café Léger/Long [lay-zhai] - This is similar to a filter coffee and it is a measure of espresso coffee with double the amount of water.

  • Café au Lait [o-lay]/Café Crème [krem] - This is an espresso coffee mixed with an equal amount of warmed, not steamed, milk.

  • Café-filtre [feel-tra]/Américain [a-meh-ree-can] - This is filter coffee. In some areas (notably the south) it's called an American coffee.

  • Café Serré [seh-ray] - Literally a 'compact coffee', this is prepared with a measure of espresso coffee and half the usual amount of water.

  • Café Décaféiné/ Un Déca [deh-ka-fy-eenay] - This is decaf coffee for those of a delicate constitution.

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