“I like the idea of heritage. And to preserve it, it’s necessary to pass on the right gestures, and to do so as much as possible. Passing on the gestures, the taste and savoir-faire of coffee.”
In fact, you’re passionate about coffee!
Cafés Richard is a family business. French coffee is our heritage. It’s about gestures, techniques, and history. Today, many countries have taken up the art of coffee. The Anglo-Saxons, Australians, Americans have rediscovered coffee. It is an offer that, for them, has not yet become an everyday thing. Only France had the bistro. And the bistro had its specificities. It has already lost the ham-sandwich war. It shouldn’t also lose the battle of beer and coffee.
The law of the market is tough. It’s almost a fight that you’re leading…
We have the luxury of being able to devote time and resources to passing on skills, such as by creating an Academy, to inform and train to perpetuate savoir-faire, quality, and tradition. Today, it’s the Japanese who are arriving on the market, with intelligent and minimalist proposals. It's all new for them, but they will quickly learn the gestures and get to the essential.
Do you feel ready to counter such proposals?
Yes. And with creativity we can do beautiful things.
A start-up spirit, born in 1892.
Let’s talk about your travel project with be-poles. What is the story of the Portraits de Villes coffee and book truck?
We are coffee roasters but also distributors. We’ve always been our own distributors, with our own trucks. At the time, we were delivering with the Citroën TUB, but we still had the Renault 4L on standby.
So the Cafés Richard 4L exists forever?
Yes and what is surprising is that Antoine and Clémentine had the desire to create one. They had a 4L in mind, and we had one in the garage.
So that’s how the Portraits de Villes coffee and book truck was born?
It seemed perfectly coherent to associate the Parisian coffee with a book or a newspaper. It’s an old-fashioned Épinal print, a cup of coffee enjoyed at the counter, reading “Le Parisien”. We wanted to create a time for reading Portraits de Villes, the time for a coffee. Collaboration made sense. A coffee, a destination, a book, the discovery of a city.
Evident connections, a natural link between terroirs, origins and photos.
Books that talk of voyages…
Another link with coffee. Among the Portraits de Villes are Brazil and Ethiopia, countries from which our coffees originate. I saw evident connections, a natural link between terroirs, origins and photos. The only limit with an old car like the Renault 4L is that you can’t travel too long distances with it.
Even if Clémentine wasn’t afraid to get behind the wheel!
That’s right. Clémentine drove it from Arles to Sète.
The 4L has already traveled a lot in Paris.
Our Renault 4L is in the colors of Portraits de Villes. It has appeared at lots of places like the Bon Marché, and the Maison & Objet salon. It was there for the launch of the latest edition with India Mahdavi. Previously it was at Ofr. In all these encounters, the interest is double. The 4L is visible, but we also offer real good coffees, made by a barista, the “sommelier” of coffee, who makes and serves a coffee, espresso or latte, according to the rules of the art.
The Brûlerie des Gobelins, a place for savoring.
What are the trends in the coffee market today?
Of course, it’s the capsule. It’s a tidal wave. But the more artisanal side is coming back into force too. There are movements of artisan roasters, people who want to re-experience the ritual of the coffee grinder. The Brûlerie des Gobelins is part of this trend. A place for savoring, where you can rediscover the taste of our coffee, roasted and served by us. We have entrusted the whole history of the Brûlerie to be-poles. As well as the work we do together, I also appreciate what they do: the places, the hotels they scenarize. They’ve evolved during the time we’ve known each other. Coffee is a product they like and which also corresponds to their love for the terroir.
Did you give them barista-training?
Yes, a lot of the team came to do a training with us. At our Académie du Café, we train more than 1000 professionals each year. We also organize in-store workshops to teach everyone how to make coffee and cocktails around coffee. Knowing how to make a very good espresso or a very good cappuccino is already not bad.
It took us a year to find our products. We’ve received samples from producers who spontaneously send us their products regularly over the past two years.
When you imagine Lebanon, you think of a rugged country, of sun and nature. You do not feature the “bling” side of it, you do not suspect all the women dressed in Chanel. Kamal's feels like home. Be ready for a wide choice of meals.