Bordeaux’s no longer just a destination for wine-lovers. It’s also a place where coffee aficionados can enjoy sipping on single origins in between strolling along the Garonne River and admiring the stunning architecture.
So if you’re planning a trip to this “City of Art and History”, or are lucky enough to live here, I’ve created a specialty coffee shop itinerary for you. Read on to discover five must-visit places.
Baristas looking at new espresso machine. Credit: L’Alchimiste
Why These Five?
It’s difficult to pick the five “best” of anything, especially when specialty coffee shops all bring something so unique to the industry. However, I’ve created a list of my personal favorites from a trip I took to Bordeaux. Every one of them has great coffee, great stories, and great passion.
So, in no particular order, let’s begin.
Breakfast and coffee at SIP Coffee Bar. Credit: Five of December
Quality, technicality, education, and enjoyment are the core of L’Alchimiste’s philosophy.
The brand is run by Arthur Audiburt and Yohan, and consists of both a roastery and a coffee shop. The roastery opened in 2014 in Darwin, an old military compound which has been turned into a hub for small startups, an organic market, and a modern restaurant.
As for the two-floor coffee shop, which opened in 2016, you will find it in the center of Bordeaux. It has an elegant and modern feel, helped by its use of wood and marble. Yohan, who staffs it, is focused on customer service, great brews, and cleanliness.
Arthur learned how to roast and source coffee from Antoine Netien in Coutume, Paris. He brings in truly exceptional beans, like the Finca Deborah Natural Geisha which Berg Wu used to win the 2016 World Barista Championship.
Driven by the concepts of sustainability and craft, Arthur wants to bring expertly roasted high-quality coffees to all of France. He has high hopes for the specialty coffee scene in Bordeaux.
Arthur Audiburt in the L’Alchimiste roastery. Credit: L’Alchimiste
|Where||12 rue de la Vieille Tour|
|Vibe||Cool and elegant|
|Espresso Machine||Linea PB|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso: one blend and one single origin
V60: two single origins
|Must-Try Drink||The single origin espresso|
|Food & Other Drinks||Fresh pastries, fruit juice, hot chocolate, and teas from Theodor|
|Nearby Sights||Les Dunes Blanches, which is famous for its choux à la crèmes, and Place Gambetta, a pretty square with a park|
L’Alchimiste. Credit: L’Alchimiste
2. SIP Coffee Bar
Located near the center of Bordeaux, this two-floor coffee shop has spacious tables, cozy counters, and plenty of room. SIP’s relaxed atmosphere caters to students, friends, and coffee enthusiasts alike.
Julie Fauran, the Founder, opened SIP on April 20th 2016, but really her journey started long before.
She began her career as a high-quality jeweler, but after three years, realized it wasn’t her passion. She then moved to Australia, where she made French pastries for coffee shops and restaurants. It’s here that she fell in love with specialty coffee shops, their ambience, and their coffee-focused attitude. And that is what she wanted to bring back to France – which is exactly what she did, after a stint in Belgium where she connected with OR Coffee.
At SIP, Julie prioritizes ethical and local sourcing. She buys from roasters who work directly with coffee producers. As for her other products, she buys from local producers and her brother is the pastry chef.
Julie tells me she loves the technicality of coffee – but she wants the enjoyment of coffee to be the focus.
Julie brews a pour over for a customer. Credit: Keith Pech
|Where||69 bis rue des Trois Conils|
|Espresso Machine||GB5 La Marzocco|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso, V60, AeroPress, Chemex|
|Retail Offerings||Retail coffees|
|Food & Other Drinks||Lunch menu, homemade pastries, and many vegetarian options|
|Nearby Sights||Bordeaux Cathedral, Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Decorative Arts Museum, and the historic district of Saint Pierre|
SIP Coffee Bar. Credit: Keith Pech
3. La Pelle Café
La Pelle Café is a roastery-café located in Chatron, a historic quarter known for housing wine merchants. It’s easy to lose track of time when trying one of La Pelle’s many coffee offerings, thanks to the cozy, home-like atmosphere.
Carlos Pereira, the Founder and Owner, is originally from Brazil and traces his coffee interest back to his parents’ coffee farm. However, his passion wasn’t ignited until a decade or so ago, when he began to dive into the specialty coffee movement.
Carlos wanted to create a place where people don’t just drink coffee, but instead learn about it. It’s important to him that his customers feel able to interact with the baristas, and that quality is prioritized at every stage.
Carlos Pereira of La Pelle Café. Credit: Keith Pech
|Where||29 rue Notre Dame|
|Espresso Machine||La Marzocco Linea PB|
|Coffee Offerings||Many: Kenya, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Brazil…|
|Must-Try Drink||Espresso or cold brew|
|Nearby Sights||The Cité du Vin museum, CAPC Musée de Art Contemporaine, the Public Garden/Jardin Public, the riverfront, and the Village Notre-Dame antique furniture store|
La Pelle Café. Credit:La Pelle Café
4. KURO Espresso Bar
KURO espresso bar, a new but cozy specialty coffee shop, is a great place for meeting friends thanks to its small outdoor patio and comfortable seating area.
You’ll find coffee roasted by La Fabrique Du Café, as well as great food (I recommend the quiche).
Pascal Gabard, the Founder, first began working in coffee in Montreal. When he moved to France, he decided it was time for another move as well: from a barista to a third wave coffee shop owner. He tells me that Bordeaux’s coffee potential is still not fully realized, but that the French are open to learning more about coffee.
Pascal Gabard, Founder of KURO Espresso Bar. Credit: Keith Pech
|Where||5 rue Mautrec|
|Vibe||Cozy and homely|
|Espresso Machine||La Marzocco GB5|
|Coffee Offerings||Espresso-based drinks and pour overs, hot or cold|
|Must-Try Drink||Pour over|
|Food & Other Drinks||Tea, homemade lemonade, fresh orange juice, local and artisanal soft drinks (no soda), homemade cookies, muffins, brownies, granola, quiches, tartines…|
|Nearby Sights||The Opera, Sainte Catherine street, Les Grands Hommes mall, the impressive Place des Quinconces square and the famous Place de la Bourse, the Old Town, the docks, and Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants|
KURO Espresso Bar. Credit: Keith Pech
5. Black List Café
Black List Café is a snug spot near the center of Bordeaux that has been open for over three years. One of the early pioneers of Bordeaux’s specialty coffee scene, Owner and Founder Laurent-Pierre drew inspiration from Ten Bells and Belleville Brûlerie in Paris. After two years of training, he was ready to open shop.
Now, three years on, Black List is still growing. Laurent-Pierre is in the process of opening a new location that will blend the coffee shop and the wine bar. It will offer specialty coffee; fresh, high-quality, but accessible food; specialty teas; biodynamic wine; and craft beer.
Laurent-Pierre, the Founder and Owner of Black List Café. Credit: Keith Pech
|Where||27 Place Pey Berland|
|Vibe||Warm and relaxed|
|Espresso Machine||La Marzocco Linea Classic|
|Coffee Offerings||V60, Chemex, Kalita, espresso, cortado, cappuccino, latte, and flat white|
|Must-Try Drink||Cappuccino or drip|
|Food & Other Drinks||Fresh, homemade breakfast and lunch food; matcha latte; chai latt; and fresh fruit juice|
|Nearby Sights||Bordeaux Cathedral and Pey-Berland Tower|
Black List Café. Credit: Blacklist Café
All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Bordeaux, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.
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