By Chantal Roberts
When you think of coffee and France, you undoubtedly think about the sidewalk cafés. The café lifestyle in France is one to be envied. Its relaxed pace allows the French to solve the world’s problems with a cup of coffee, a pastry, and friends.
The term “coffee” comes from the Turkish word “kahve.” No doubt you’ve seen countless coffee memes on Facebook, but one of them happens to be true.
A man would pick his wife by the way she brewed coffee, but if he failed to bring her his daily allotment of the beverage, she could, by rights, divorce him.
As the Ottoman Empire spread, so, too, did coffee. The coffee houses of Europe began to become popular in the 17th century as it was a place for intellectuals and the working class to come together. Indeed, Lloyd’s of London was started at the Lloyd’s Coffee House in London in 1688.
In the 1900s, Parisian cafes were cultural Meccas for intellectuals and artists such as Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But today in the United States, we get our coffee through a drive-thru on the way to work (or at least we did pre-COVID).
We should mimic our ancestors and slow down to enjoy the hot beverage. There is no shortage of places to go for the café lifestyle in the Kansas City metroplex area.
Kansans in Leavenworth can experience French pastry, West African cuisine, and coffee at Timbuktu (www.timbuktuus.com). But if West African flavors don’t tickle your fancy, you can always go to Tous les Jours in Overland Park, Kansas. They specialize in French-Asian baked goods.
What goes better with an after-dinner café but some chocolate? André’s Confiserie Suisse is a family-owned, Swiss-trained confectionary shop located in Kansas City, Missouri since 1955. Their original shop is in Kansas City, Missouri, but daughter, Brigitte Gravino, opened a store in Overland Park, Kansas.
The French are well-known dog lovers. They take their dogs to bars, shops, the metro, and in cafés. Dop Donuts, located in Overland Park, Kansas, is Kansas City’s first dog- and kid-friendly coffee and donut shop according to their website, https://dopdonuts.com/. So, imitate the French and slow down to discuss the state of the world while watching your pup.
One of the newcomers to Kansas City who has been getting a lot of press for her take on the café life is Jackie Nguyen, a former actress, and current owner of Café Cà Phe (https://www.cafecaphe.com/). Café Cà Phe gives a Vietnamese coffee experience with Vietnamese-grown beans, but they also partner with local Kansas City roaster, Messenger Coffee. Regardless, when the weather is nice, Nguyen takes her coffee truck on the road to different cities in the metroplex. Right now, she’s located in the Bottoms serving up coffee, or as the Vietnamese call it, cà phe, which sounds exactly like the French café.
While we may not be able to sit for hours at a coffee shop with our friends due to COVID restrictions, we can still imitate that lifestyle by having a long, leisurely sip of the warm beverage while trying to solve the world’s problems and eating a pastry.
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