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Paris might have always been known for its sidewalks cafés, rustic round café tables and small coffee cups, but in the past years a new a small group of Paris based international coffee enthusiasts has risen, and a few specialist coffee spots have found their place in the French capital. One of these passionate baristas is Chris Nielson, who recently opened his own espresso bar, Fondation Café, in Paris’ vibrant area Haut Marais.

Having previously worked for some of the leading coffee shops around Europe and Australia, (the latest being the Tenbelles in Paris), creating Fondation Café seemed like a natural step to Chris.He shares here his story about how he entered the barista world by kind of a coincidence and how it led to a lifelong passion for the best coffee.

You recently opened your own coffee place in Paris. Can you tell us a little bit about Fondation Café and what is unique about it?

Fondation Café is a very small espresso bar placed in rue Dupetit Thouars were we are serving coffee and cakes. It was important to me to have the best equipment, the best coffee machines and the best coffee. In addition we also make collaborations with different roasteries around the world and have special weekends where we offer well-selected coffee from for example Australia, Sweden etc.

When did you start being interested in coffee?

A long time ago, back in Australia. I just needed a job and I had a friend who was the owner of a roastery and offered me a job. I was working in the production and started tasting the coffee. Then I moved on to work in a café. I worked in a couple of cafés before I moved to Europe (because of a girl actually).

What is your favorite coffee?

When the taste is sweet and clean. I also like a little cherry espresso.

Why did you decide to live and start your café in Paris?

I have worked in several cafes in Paris, London and Stockholm, but I saw a big gap in Paris and it was an interesting challenge to change what people are used to regarding coffee. I wanted to inspire people to taste good coffee.

What is your favorite thing about Paris?

It was here I met my wife. So nice memories, the action in the city and its atmosphere.

What is your next dream, now that have already created your own café?

We have many cool ideas, one of them would be to open a second place in collaboration with other artisans who have a product that can complement our coffee. For instance, there are boulangeries everywhere in Paris and croissants go well with coffee, so it could be an idea. Otherwise, make many people taste and discover the coffee, there is still a long way to go and that is motivating.

WORDS
CECILIE ARLING

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