20 April 2018

Four Speciality Coffee Spots To Try in Toulouse

In January, I went on a 24-hour business trip to Toulouse in the southwest of France. I had hoped to be able to visit at least one of the city’s speciality coffee shops, but the scheduling was so tight that my only free hours were between midnight and six in the morning, so I had to make do with terrible hotel coffee.

Luckily, though, I was able to return for a slightly longer trip earlier this week and although I still only had a couple of free hours, I made good use of them and visited four speciality coffee spots. It helped that the weather was much nicer than in January — temperatures reached 25C on my final afternoon — and the ‘pink city’ with its pastel-hued buildings looked particularly pretty. Here are the places I found, all within the city centre:

La Fiancée

Serving coffee and brunch for over five years, La Fiancée on Rue Peyrolières seems to be Toulouse’s original speciality coffee shop. At first glance, the café seems tiny with only a couple of small tables in front of the coffee bar, but there’s more space in the lofted mezzanine. The coffee comes from Paris-based Coutume, one of my favourite coffee spots in the French capital, and there were two single-origin varieties available as a V60 pourover. I went for a Burundi Maridadi, and after placing my order, I went up to the mezzanine.

While I waited, I eyed up the brunch menu and regretted that I didn’t have the chance to sample the brunch menu, which included various pancakes and egg-based dishes. The coffee itself was very well prepared and had lovely milk chocolate and citrus notes. On the way out, I chatted to the friendly baristas about speciality coffee in France, London and beyond, and couldn’t resist buying a white chocolate and peanut cookie for later.

La Fiancée is located at 54 Rue Peyrolières, Toulouse. Facebook. Instagram.

Le Café Cerise
A few minutes’ walk from La Fiancée and just across from Pont-Neuf and the river Garonne on Quai de la Daurade, Le Café Cerise was my next stop. Located in a historic red-brick building, the café has a few tables out on the pavement, which I’m sure are popular on sunny days. Inside, it is cosy and rustic, with wooden furniture and the roaster in the back. Again, there’s a mezzanine with more seating, although there are also plenty of tables on the ground floor.

They serve pourover filter coffee but I was short on time and so stuck to a cortado. There were two single-origin coffees in the hopper, both roasted on site — a Colombian Planadas and a Kiboko from Burundi. Sticking with my theme for the day, I went for the latter, which worked well with a little milk. The latte art was very good too. And if you’re in the mood for food, they also have a salad of the day and a grilled cheese on the menu.

Le Café Cerise is located at 4 Quai de la Daurade, Toulouse. Website. Instagram.

L’Anartiste This coffee shop — whose name marries art and anarchy — was the closest to my hotel but it’s closed on Mondays, so I wasn’t able to visit until Tuesday morning. I’m glad I got the chance to visit L’Anartiste, though, because it’s a lovely spot serving speciality coffee, food and natural wines, with an emphasis on local produce.

The cosy café with its meticulously mismatched furniture and precarious stack of board games gives it the feel of being in someone’s living room — and the welcome I received from the barista was just as warm. They take their brewing seriously, however, as the shelf of brewing kit (siphon, Kalita Wave, Aeropress, Chemex, and Kono, Torch and Clever drippers) and original Faema E61 espresso machine on the bar attest.

The coffee is from Kaffa, a roaster based in La Drôme in southeast France (not to be confused with the Finnish Kaffa), which I hadn’t tried before. I had a filter coffee made with a Limu Kossa variety from Ethiopian, brewed through the Kalita Wave. As a ‘chaser’, I also ordered a cortado made with a Colombian Kaffa coffee. Both coffees were brewed beautifully and came in gorgeous ceramic cups that are also made locally. Ahead of a busy day of meetings, I really enjoyed a moment of calm and a lovely chat with the barista in the haven that is L’Anartiste.

L’Anartiste is located at 13 Rue de Couteliers, Toulouse. Website. Instagram.

Florian’s Coffee
I didn’t think I’d have time for a final coffee, but on leaving my meeting, I happened upon the Florian’s Coffee cart just outside the Jardin des Plantes. I ordered a ‘slow coffee’ — on this occasion, an Ethiopian Gamoji (roasted by Florian’s) brewed through the V60. They can also do Chemex and Aeropress brews if you prefer, and, of course, the usual espresso-based drinks.

By then, the sunshine had come out and so I went to sip my drink in the busy Jardin des Plantes, and the world felt a whole lot better.

Florian’s Coffee is located on Allée Jules Guesde, Toulouse. Website. Instagram.

Other options
I wasn’t able to check it out on this occasion, but I have heard very good things from multiple sources about a cafe called Finnca on Rue de l’Austerlitz. And I walked past a coffee shop/roastery called Brûlerie des Saveurs, where they roast coffee on site — it looked nice, so one for my list for next time.

Bonus: shopping tips
Toulouse is a great city for shopping, and there are plenty of interesting boutiques and independent stores as well as the usual chains. I didn’t have time to do any shopping, but these places all caught my eye: Paul Marius (leather handbags); Bobine (concept store); L'Interprete (concept store); Ombres Blanches (book store); Karl Marc John (boutique); Somewhere (boutique); Trait (stationery); and Matière Grise (homewares).

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