Discovering coffee in Toulouse

Let's talk about my first steps in speciality coffee. Some books, resources, beginner set-ups, and local roasters in Toulouse.

12 April 2023 — Goulven CLEC'H

  1. How I started
    1. Youtube recommendations
    2. Books recommendations
  2. Coffee gear for beginners
    1. Manual grinder - Vevouk Sliver
    2. Manual grinder - Timemore Chestnut C3 Pro
    3. Scale - Timemore Black Mirror
    4. Moka Pot - Bialetti New Venus
    5. V60 - Hario Coffee Dripper
    6. Electric kettle - Fellow Stagg EKG
    7. French press - Bodum Kenya
  3. Roasters recommendations in Toulouse
    1. Hayuco Coffee Boutique
    2. Minifundi
    3. CERISE - Le café
    4. Perla Negra - Le café

How I started

I’ve always drank coffee, and probably like you, without great pleasure nor understanding much about it.

I thought “good” coffee was dark, bitter, intense like the ones our fathers drank grimacing… So understand my surprise when I first heard an expert on the subject:

In October 2021, the videomaker Tom Scott explained that he didn’t like coffee as a kid and wanted to re-evaluate his judgement. He invited James Hoffmann, world-champion barista and coffee YouTuber, to help him.

Through several tastings, they used terms I had never heard describing coffees: fruity, sweet, acid, fermented, fresh… And since it doesn’t take much to pique my curiosity, I fell into it.

After the video with Tom, I devoured Youtube channels of James Hoffman, European Coffee Trip, and Morgan Eckroth. They gave me a glimpse of how much richer and more complex coffee is than I thought.

Two videos stand out:

In this video, James Hoffmann tests Nespresso capsules, a product I regularly drink, unlike speciality coffees.

He explained well why the coffee I knew tasted like wood, and dared to say that bitter and astringent flavours are not a sign of quality… but burnt beans. In fact, dark roasting is an excellent way for industrials to hide poor raw materials.

The second video comes from the Epicurious channel, featuring Dillon Edwards. The expert tastes several pairs of coffee and successfully guesses the most expensive ones every time. Proving that coffee has different qualities, clearly distinguishable in blind-tasting.

Now convinced I’ve never had real coffee, I searched Google Maps for “speciality coffee”. Later, I was at a barber shop in Toulouse, where the small roaster Hayuco had a counter.

A barista serves an espresso at a wooden counter
Carlos from Hayuco serving an espresso. Source

In addition to tasting my first speciality coffees, I had a long discussion with Orianne, one of Hayuco’s roasters. With her and all the coffee professionals I have met until today, I am glad to have never met elitism, but always enthusiasts enchanted to see new faces and answer your questions.

I left with my first bag of coffee beans, and the book “Le café c’est pas sorcier” by S. Racineux and C-L. Tran. This a reading that I would recommend to all French-speaking beginners, whether for its presentation of the history of coffee, the different regions, or the different preparation methods. For an English-speaking alternative, turn to “How to make the best coffee at home” by James Hoffman (him again).

Le café c'est pas sorcier

  • By Chung-Leng Tran & Sébastien Racineux
  • MARABOUT (2016)
  • ISBN: 9782501103459

How to Make the Best Coffee

  • By James Hoffmann
  • Octopus Publishing Group (2021)
  • ISBN: 9781784727246

Coffee gear for beginners

Now that we know where to get delicious coffee beans, we need to be able to brew them!

I will suggest several basic, inexpensive setups to start with coffee. These are equipment that I have been able to buy and/or use myself, so sorry if your favourite something is missing.

Manual Grinder Sliver

  • By Vevouk
  • 48,99€ as April 2023
  • (350 reviews)

Chestnut C3 PRO

  • By TIMEMORE
  • 89,00€ as July 2024
  • (520 reviews)

Obviously, you’re going to have to grind those beans. Just as it’s always best to grind your pepper or spices freshly before use, it’s the best way to enhance your morning coffees with a less oxidized, less stringent, and more delicious result.

I started with the inexpensive manual grinder found on Amazon, but even if it does the job, I still recommend spending the few tens of euros needed to acquire the Timemore. You will have more control over the thickness of the grind and a more homogeneous result. A posteriori, I think I did not emphasize that enough

This grinder will be a central and lasting part of your setup, so don’t cheap out if you can.

Black Mirror Basic 2

  • By TIMEMORE
  • 59,00€ as April 2023
  • (382 reviews)

On the contrary, the scale is an essential piece of equipment, but where you can save some bucks.

Here I offer you one of the best scale for coffee: precise, well built, with timer, flow measurement, rechargeable… But honestly, the kitchen scale you already own is more than enough.

Now let’s talk about the coffee makers you can start with.

New Venus Induction

  • By Bialetti
  • 29,99€ as April 2023
  • (6,419 reviews)

First, the Moka Pot. The most practical and affordable way to make a good coffee.

No need for filters or recipes; place your coffee in the basket, fill the bottom with boiling water, and after a minute on medium heat, voilà! A coffee strong in flavour, with a good body, low in caffeine, and that you can reliably reproduce every morning.

Here more info on how to use a moka pot.

VDD-02B Coffee Dripper

  • By Hario
  • 29,00€ as July 2024
  • (4,232 reviews)

Stagg EKG

  • By Fellow
  • 159,00€ as April 2023
  • (2,930 reviews)

Then, you have the V60 filter coffee—a more nerdy and Scandinavian coffee maker.

Closer to infusion, with less body and more floral aromas, this is one of the favourite methods of enthusiasts. However, buying filters and following recipes will take more time and effort.

Also, to set the water’s temperature precisely and to pour with precision, you may want to invest in an electric kettle with a gooseneck.

Here more info on how to use a V60.

1788-01 - Kenya

  • By Bodum
  • 14,99€ as April 2023
  • (4,623 reviews)

Finally, to avoid buying a new coffee machine, you can use your French press gathering dust on a shelf.

It’s not a wrong way to make coffee, but you’ll get a more caffeinated, less clean, and less reliable result. Nonetheless, it’s a convenient way to make big cold brews in the summer!

Here more info on how to use a French press.

Roasters recommendations in Toulouse

For a “small” town of ~500,000 souls, Toulouse has a lot of lovely places around coffee. For this first blog entry, let me share four roasters I’ve met and loved:

Hayuco Coffee Boutique

  • 31 Rue Bouquières, Toulouse
  • Closed on sunday, monday.
  • (97 reviews)

At the entrance of the Tonsor & Cie barber, you’ll meet Carlos, Karim, and Orianne from Hayuco. You can taste their amazing Colombian coffees, and chat about their unique and passionate roasting philosophy. It is also an opportunity to discover cascara, an infusion of coffee cherries.

Minifundi

  • 22 Rue du Faubourg Bonnefoy, Toulouse
  • Closed on sunday.
  • (164 reviews)

Close to the Matabiau station, Hugo will welcome you at Minifundi. He is passionate about Central Africa coffees (Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, etc.) and is always open to sharing his knowledge with enthusiasts. Minifundi also serves excellent food, like a delicious salmon gravlax and a decadent French toast-style brioche.

CERISE - Le Café

  • 4 Quai de la Daurade, Toulouse
  • Closed on sunday.
  • (1151 reviews)

Walking along the Garonne, you will discover le Café Cerise. After a refreshing and colorful brunch, visit their boutique which offers coffees from various origins and lots of coffee equipment. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Loic will be happy to introduce you to the Aeropress coffee machine.

Perla Negra

  • Pl. des Tiercerettes, 2 Rue Arnaud Bernard, Toulouse
  • Open everyday.
  • (136 reviews)

Nestled in the historic centre of Toulouse, Perla Negra is a small coffee shop with a lovely team and surprising roasts. One of the peculiarities is that you can choose between five different coffees when ordering an espresso, ideal for trying new things. And in summer, with your sundae, I recommend trying the Cascara tonic, an original and refreshing drink.Sadly, Perla Negra is not a speciality coffee shop anymore… Good brunches, tho

These four roasters are great places to start, but also a way to discover new places by asking them which coffee shops they supply to…

To conclude, you should follow Minifundi and Toulouse Cupping on Instagram: both organize cuppings, blind coffee tastings, a great way to discover new things, meet passionate people, and work on your palate.

I hope your coffee journey will be as fun as mine 😊 see you there!