Coutume opened in 2011 in the heart of chic Left Bank Paris, just a few minutes walk from Le Bon Marché department store. Owned by two of the gurus of the Paris coffee revolution, Antoine Netien and his Australian partner Tom Clarke, Coutume is part café, part torrefaction, supplying roasted beans to over 60 bars, restaurants and hotels across the city. You walk into a big open space with industrial décor, packed with tables and a long coffee bar that has the feel of an American diner. On one side there is a ‘dining table’ made from a stainless steel sink unit, with tropical plants growing in the sinks themselves, while hidden away at the back is a state-of-the-art roasting machine and sacks of coffee beans imported from all over the world. Coutume serves breakfast and lunch, with the emphasis very much on healthy organic products and plenty of vegetarian options, including a ‘detox veggie brunch’. It is also one of the rare coffee bars to sell artisan beers and a small selection of wines. In fact, the ambiance here is similar to a wine bar, with the barista playing sommelier, explaining the plantations where different beans come from, proposing offbeat mixes like Ethiopian coffee with cardamom or even pepper sprinkled on an espresso, and proposing specialist drinks like the ‘coffee siphon’, popular back in the 1960s and 70s, that looks like a piece of laboratory equipment and is theatrically prepared on the counter. There should be a second Coutume opening in 2013 in the Etienne Marcel neighbourhood, where Antoine Netien intends to present coffee in the same way as wine; comparing a plantation with a vineyard, and explaining how the bean quality changes with each harvests.