Café Culture: The 101 on French Words for Coffee

Café Crème on a rustic table

Bonjour Café Lovers!

“Coffee culture” doesn’t just refer to different brewing methods, coffee bean types, or aromatic roasts. It encompasses the lingo too! The French know their café, encasing their robust love for coffee in a fascinating assortment of vocabularies. C’est fantastique!

Today, we’ll explore the wonderful world of French words associated with coffee, enriching your next trip to a Parisian café.

1: Le Café

Let’s start with the basics. “Un café” usually refers to a shot of espresso when ordered at a café in France. It is also the generic word for coffee. Never fear if espresso isn’t your cup of coff… oops, café, we have more delectable options!

2: Un Café Allongé

If you prefer your espresso diluted with water, make sure to ask for “un café allongé”. This is the French style of drinking an Americano.

3: Un Café Crème

Craving something similar to a latte? Then “un café crème” is your go-to order. It’s essentially an espresso with frothy, heated milk. Remember, if you’re having it after 11 a.m., you’d call it a “café noisette” to fit in with local culture.

4: Un Déca

Perhaps you’re someone who likes the taste of coffee minus the caffeine? “Un déca” is short for ‘décaféiné,’ which translates to decaffeinated coffee.

5: Un Café Serré

For fans of a strong brew, the French offer “un café serré”. Essentially, it’s a highly concentrated espresso, a punchier version for those seeking an intense caffeine hit.

6: Un Café au Lait

Starting with a robust espresso, topped with equal parts hot milk, “un café au lait” is a French breakfast classic. It’s typically enjoyed in the comfort of home, and not very common in high street cafés or bars.

7: Un Café Filtre

The equivalent of filtered or drip coffee in France is “un café filtre”. It’s not as common as an espresso shot but you’ll find it in most specialty coffee shops.

Navigating the café scene in France is an exhilarating experience, one made infinitely richer by understanding the lingo. And for my café enthusiasts just beginning their French journey, next time you’re in France, indulge in the pleasure of ordering a “Je voudrais un café, s’il vous plaît” (I would like a coffee, please)!

Until our next linguistic coffee adventure, continue experiencing the world, one café at a time!

Au revoir mes amis! Stay caffeinated!

(Note: Remember, French people usually enjoy their coffee without any sugar, but if you desire a sweet touch, simply say “avec sucre” while ordering.)