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Thread: Ordering coffee in France

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    Lightbulb Ordering coffee in France



    You might think that terms designating coffee are pretty much the same all over the world: espresso, cappuccino, café au lait... It is true that you will find these names on a French café's menu, but this is not how French people order them, and using the menu's words will make you look like a tourist, and increase your chances of being ripped off (especially in Paris). Here is a concise glossary of the terms used to order :

    • Un Café : a big-size coffee.
    • Un Café au lait : a big-size coffee with a jar of milk.
    • Un Express : an espresso
    • Une Noisette : a small espresso coffee with a dash of milk/cream in it (a macchiato).
    • Un Crême : an espresso with half of warmed milk (small café au lait).
    • Un Allongé : an espresso coffee with double the amount of water (weak black coffee).
    • Un Serré : an espresso coffee with half the usual amount of water (strong black coffee).
    • Un Déca : a decaf coffee.
    • Un Américain : filter coffee.


    This will prevent you, for instance, to order a very large and expensive Café au lait when all you want is probably just a Crême.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 12-06-12 at 15:22.

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    ^ Very handy. I like crème the best but recently I haven't been drinking so much coffee... trying to drink green tea. XD

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    Isn't Expresso an Italian word?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post
    Isn't Expresso an Italian word?
    Espresso, capuccino, macchiato, caffè latte, etc. are all Italian words. Why ?

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    I noticed several of these are just variations of expresso (or un express).

    As to prices, I've always been charged what was on the menu, so I think it's less of a problem than you think (tourists being riped off).

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    I think by 'ripped off' Maciamo meant you pay too much because of ordering something that's bigger/more expensive than what you really wanted, due to inaccuracy in the actual name, even if you paid what was on the menu. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao View Post
    I think by 'ripped off' Maciamo meant you pay too much because of ordering something that's bigger/more expensive than what you really wanted, due to inaccuracy in the actual name, even if you paid what was on the menu. :)
    Yes, that's how I understood it. If you just order a "café" and expect a regular-size coffee, you will feel ripped off because it will be much bigger and more expensive than a coffee in most countries.

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    Thank you Maciamo,

    Your list of how to order once coffee in France is really great.
    If my daughter can arrange some free time, then we will go to Paris this year. I usually order un Café au Lait, but I will try un Crème next time.

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    LOL I'm impressionate, when did you find time for remember that?
    I dislike coffee so I can't give you some advice for tell where is the best. Sorry! But in great restaurant the coffee are expensive so be carefull.
    The price must be about 3 or 5, not more.

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    Got you Maciamo, I misread what you meant by being 'ripped off'. I would think that would be more a case of not getting what you expected. When they charge fo silverware and using pepper and salt in Pisa, Italy, that's a rip off!

    As to getting a bigger cup of coffee, I always look forward to it, as too many of the 'big cups' of coffee in Japan are anything but!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Got you Maciamo, I misread what you meant by being 'ripped off'. I would think that would be more a case of not getting what you expected. When they charge fo silverware and using pepper and salt in Pisa, Italy, that's a rip off!
    In Spain and Italy restaurants normally have a "table charge", i.e. something you pay for using the space even if you don't order anything. What I could not tolerate in a place in Spain is that they wanted to charge me for the bread and water which I had not ordered and not touched in addition to the table charge. That's a far cry from France where bread and water are free (and often without limit). In the South of France it is even common to get a free pitcher of wine with your meal.

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    This seemed to be worse, sorry I didn't keep the receipt. There was more than just a table charge. Unfortunately, this is quite common in Pisa and I have heard in Rome as well. At least at some of the restaurants, the charges are posted; tableware, cheese, pepper and salt, etc.., but I still think it's ridculous. It's similar to the 'otoshi' charges in Japan, though you do get food, but it is not usually worth what you pay for it. One pub/restaurant tried to pass it off as a 'music charge' even though they only had recorded music!

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    machiato and expresso are my favorites. FYI they make very good expressos in the louvre if anyone happens to be around there

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie View Post
    Isn't Expresso an Italian word?
    It's not called expresso. It's espresso, meaning to press. Yes, it's Itlaian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss Marple's nephew View Post
    It's not called expresso. It's espresso, meaning to press. Yes, it's Itlaian.
    French speakers say "expresso". The Italian espresso means "express" (because it is small and can be gulped in one shot) not "to press".

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    .....The Italian espresso means "express" (because it is small and can be gulped in one shot) not "to press".
    That's news to me. We call it espresso and I was assured it was the reason I mentioned.

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