Brewing a brand of couture coffee in Paris

People enjoy Parisian cafes for their history, charm, and ambiance — not necessarily their caffeinated drinks, which are usually unremarkable and often bitter and burnt-tasting.

Which might explain why hipsters are enduring queues at places like Noir, %Arabica and Ten Belles, among the independent roasters that have sprung up in the French capital in recent years, staffed with young-looking baristas. groovy that pour smoother infusions.

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Now upstart French coffee brand Momus looks set to disrupt the scene further with its couture concept. Inside sleek white, color-coded paperback-sized boxes are blends created by one of France’s most decorated roasting specialists, by a rotating cast of creative personalities. – or a blend designed to your individual tastes.

Momus is the brainchild of Lionel Giraud, a fashion industry veteran perhaps best known for his decade-long stint as artistic director of Chaumet. Having also worked in cartierthe Courrèges fashion house, the André shoe chain and eyewear Vuarnethe brings a wealth of luxury and brand-building expertise to bear on a long-neglected aspect of the famous French culinary scene.

“Even when you go to a three-star restaurant, you’re likely to find a menu of 30 or more pages for wine, maybe 10 pages for tea, and at the end you have a line: coffee,” he says. “The average level of coffee we have to drink is really poor. It bothers me when you have to pay 20 euros for a coffee and you don’t even know where it comes from.

Lionel Giraud - Credit: Courtesy of Momus

Lionel Giraud – Credit: Courtesy of Momus

Courtesy of Momus

“Coffee is not treated as it should be, especially since it is the second beverage in the world after water,” he adds. “Plus, coffee isn’t just a drink, it’s a way of life.”

While Giraud and his friends had long toyed with the idea of ​​opening a café, he seriously turned to the project during the pandemic closures, with the ultimate goal of having a nice box of Momus coffee to replace the Diptyque candles. or a bottle of champagne as a gift. choices to bring when someone invites you to dinner.

While he swapped the diamond tiaras for basic beans, Giraud says he tries to treat the raw material the same way for Momus, wondering: “How can you do something very special, very delicate , very high-end?

His concept for Momus is similar to how Frédéric Malle markets perfume, adopting the language of French publishing houses and inviting notable talents to write their own recipe for the perfect blend. “It’s a collection of coffees for collectors,” says Giraud.

He launched Momus last month with ‘editions’ by chef Stéphane Abby, perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin and fashion curator Olivier Saillard, whose ‘Chapelle des Bois’ blend evokes childhood memories of reading the Sunday newspaper. with his mother around a large steaming pot. Giraud plans to invite a sommelier, novelist, painter and musician for the next editions of the café.

There are also nine blends credited to Daniela Capuano, who in 2019 was named Meilleur Ouvrier de France in roasting, the French word for roasting coffee. The unique and prestigious artisan award, initiated in 1924, only recently added the coffee category.

Daniela Capuano - Credit: Courtesy of Momus

Daniela Capuano – Credit: Courtesy of Momus

Courtesy of Momus

For Momus, Capuano sourced beans from prestigious eco-friendly farms in Brazil, Indonesia, Yemen, Panama, Honduras and beyond, roasting them to accentuate the notes of caramel, lemongrass , peach, jasmine, chocolate, cinnamon, mango and rose.

Sustainability is intrinsic to Giraud’s concept, with all coffee traceable to a specific plot of land on each farm. “Bean to cup,” he calls, echoing the farm-to-table movement in restaurants.

Certainly, consumers seem to be turning their backs on unnecessary coffee capsules, Giraud says, pointing to a surge in French sales of coffee grinders and coffee makers that use whole beans or ground coffee, the only formats sold by Momus.

While his generation of coffee drinkers have been weaned on espresso, which is often over-roasted to mask grain flaws, Giraud says Gen Z and Millennials favor “slow coffee” and long infusions that can best uplift the wide palette of subtle flavors and aromas of fine grains. can offer.

For starters, Momus is sold exclusively on its website, where users can book a free 30-minute video consultation with its in-house barrista, who is stationed in Bordeaux; watch tutorials on how to use the six main coffee-making machines; read all ready mixes; compose a selection of 50 gram samples, such as a perfume, or create a tailor-made blend, with a minimum order of 400 grams at the price of 45 euros.

Coffee packets look like novels.  - Credit: courtesy of Momus

Coffee packets look like novels. – Credit: courtesy of Momus

Courtesy of Momus

“We want to be high-end but customer-focused,” says Giraud. “It’s about education, we’re here to educate new generations… It’s really exciting to try to change something that’s deeply rooted in our culture.

Momus takes its name from the legendary 19th century café near the Louvre where Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Courbet rubbed shoulders with other writers and artists. It is one of the key locations in Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Bohème”.

Giraud hopes to open a Momus flagship store and cafe in Paris early next year, and he’s developing a pop-up concept that he hopes to install in bookstores and art galleries, in addition to food aisles in department stores.


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About Jeffery L. Parker

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