Ordering a coffee in French (tips)
Ordering French coffee can be a bewildering experience for Americans.
Should you order un café, un petit café, un café simple, un café noir, un petit noir, un café express, or un express? The good news is that all of these refer to the exact same thing: espresso. That’s what gets France up and running each morning.
If, however, you want room to add milk to your café, order un café allongé. This is espresso in a large cup (if you order un café and then ask for milk, your French server may sigh). For American-style filtered coffee, ask for un café américain or un café filtre. Café glacée is coffee over ice, which you’re unlikely to find outside touristed areas. And if for some bizarre reason you want decaf, order un café déca (though why you would is mysterious to the French). The truly adventurous (or very tired) may order un café serré or un double express, an extra-strength espresso that may make you see God.
French coffee made in a cafetiere, or press, is beautifully flavored and full-bodied. Try it instead of conventional drip-brewed coffee, and you may never go back. Breakfast is the only meal of the day with which the French drink coffee – otherwise it’s strictly an after-meal digestif, sometimes straight and sometimes with alcohol such as rum, Kaluha, Irish cream, orange liqueur or schnapps.
A coffee at Maison Parisienne?
Maison Parisienne serves premium coffee (which, unlike many commercially-sold coffees, is not burnt in the roasting process). It’s simply un-American to have a croissant or pastry without a cup of French coffee. Order it any way you like it! (We promise not to judge you.)