Coffee Etiquette in Paris

Posted by:strictlycoffee onNovember 5, 2012

Coffee Etiquette in Paris

Planning a trip to France? If so you are more than likely to visit Paris the coffee drinking capital of Europe. The streets of Paris are lined with gorgeous little Coffee Shops that you just have to visit. But, being in Paris is a little intimidating for us none French speaking types, as most waiters will greet and serve you in French. We have put together a list of the most common terms and translations you will need to ensure your French coffee shop experience is a great one.

French coffee drinks

  • Café (kuh-fay) is plain coffee with nothing added, but is strong as it is brewed like espresso.
  • Café au lait (kuh-fay oh-lay) is a popular French coffee style that has been popularized in America, as it’s served in tres francais New Orleans at Café du Monde. In France, this is simply coffee with steamed milk, and it’s almost always wonderful. You will sometimes get the coffee served in one pot or in the cup, and then a pitcher of steamed milk to pour in as you please.
  • Café crème (kuh-fay khremm) is, as it sounds, coffee served in a large cup with hot cream.


  • Café Décafféiné (kuh-fay day-kah-fay-uhn-ay) is decaffeinated coffee. You will still need to tell them you want milk (lait) or cream (crème) with your coffee.
  • Café Noisette (kuh-fay nwah-zett) is espresso with a dash of cream in it. It is called “noisette,” French for hazelnut, because of the rich, dark color of the coffee.
  • Café Americain (kuh-fay uh-meyhr-uh-kan) is filtered coffee, similar to traditional American coffee.
  • Café Léger (kuh-fay lay-zjay) is espresso with double the water.

Other French coffee terms

Here are other terms that will come in useful when ordering coffee or visiting a French café:

  • Sucre – (soo-khruh) – sugar (You can request this, although cafés typically bring a cup with two cubed sugars on the dish. Since French coffee is strong, you may want to request more, or ask, “Plus de sucre, s’il vous plait,” ploo duh soo-khruh, see voo play.)
  • Edulcorant – (ay-doohl-co-hrahn) – sweetener
  • Chocolat chaud – (shah-ko-lah show) – hot chocolate

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