Art & Culture

Published on August 9th, 2015 | by Julie Chaizemartin

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Les Comptoirs Richard, a coffee house à la française

A coffee break is essential and vital to some people. In Paris, it has become a symbol of the art of French living. On the terrace of a café or at a table in a typical Parisian bistro, coffee is consumed at all hours of the day and without moderation. Tea, coffee or chocolate? Les Comptoirs Richard made this formula their trademark, and they are partners in a delightful exhibition that has just opened its doors in the heart of the Marais district of Paris, the small Cognac-Jay Museum. Paintings, drawings, and porcelain show the evolution of consumption rituals of coffee, tea and chocolate. Since the introduction of coffee to the court of France in 1669 by the Embassy of Suleiman Aga Mustapha Raca, envoy of the Ottoman sultan Mehmet IV, coffee has had a long and rich history in France. The Age of Enlightenment saw the beginning of a better future with cups of coffee in new establishments, where the upper middle class and intellectuals found themselves. Today, the black beverage has become much more popular, and the tradition of tasting and refined roasting continues with prestigious coffee houses, including the Richard House founded in 1892.

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“Tea, coffee or chocolate? The rise of exotic drinks in the eighteenth century” at Jay-Cognaqc museum. Mme la Marquises Montesson, Mme la Marquise du Crest.. Photo by Cafés Richard.

In the best tradition
Since the nineteenth century, Comptoirs Richard, originally a wine and spirits auction house, is distinguished by a unique know-how of roasting green coffee in the workshops of Gennevilliers, just north of Paris. To open for business, already being present in 22,000 establishments. Just had to create a sign for the general public. Thus were born in 2000. They are Les Comptoirs Richard shops with refined decoration where the customer can attend the assembly and roasting coffees for authentic tasting. Les Comptoirs Richard offers a wide range of coffees, chocolates, and teas with delicate flavors from around the world.

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Photo Cafés Richard.

A family saga
It all started with the founder of the “Success Story” Fayel Augustus. He was the cousin of Henri Richard, and had bought the family business in 1938. Richard’s wines were thus born and stored in warehouses located in Clichy. It was then Andrew, the son of Henri, who created the coffee roasting business in Asnieres. He was helped by his brother, Pierre, who tinkered with the process, changing it from that of wines. Under the impetus of the last generation, Arnaud Richard and Anne Richard Bellanger, Les Comptoirs Richard emerges and develops. Around the same time, the Academy Café is founded to train aspiring coffee experts, while the UniversiThé is dedicated to teas and infusions.

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Photo by Cafés Richard.

The 8 shops Countoirs Richard in Paris
Inside Les Comptoirs Richard one finds a vast expanse of gourmet coffees from which to choose : ground coffee from Ethiopia, flavored with vanilla, hazelnut, caramel or chocolate, organic coffee, pure Arabica coffees from Bolivia and Nicaragua, coffees from Colombia, Costa Rica, Papua, Sumatra and many others. Les Comptoirs Richard invites us inside in their eight Parisian shops that also sell accessories related to coffee, tea, chocolate and sweets:

– 45 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
– 48, rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, with a coffee tasting bar
– 145, rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
– 10, rue La Fayette, 75009 Paris
– 73, rue Lecourbe, 75015 Paris, with a daily-operating roaster daily
– 143 rue de la Pompe, 75016 Paris, with a coffee organ for a custom coffee
– 8, rue de Lévis, 75017 Paris
– 2, avenue des Gobelins 75005 Paris, Brûlerie Gobelins is an emblematic place where the coffee aficionados can taste original concoctions and cafes from traditional farms.

For more information: www.comptoirsrichard.fr.
To see the exhibition “Tea, coffee or chocolate? The Rise of Exotic Drinks in the Eighteenth Century “
Open from May 27 to September 27, 2015
Cognac-Jay Museum, 8 rue Elzevir, Paris 75003.


About the Author

Historienne de l'art et journaliste. Diplômée en droit et en histoire de l'art à la Sorbonne et à l’École du Louvre, Julie collabore à plusieurs magazines sur des sujets historiques et culturels. Elle a également créé en 2011 un fonds de dotation qui soutient des projets de sauvegarde du patrimoine à l'étranger (en collaboration avec l'UNESCO) et est l'auteur du livre "Ferrare, joyau de la Renaissance italienne" publié en 2012 (éditions Berg International).



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