5 Great Coffees from Lyon, France

Residents of and visitors to the French city have many delicious options for coffee they can track down.

BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Cover photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu via Unsplash

Lyon, France, is known for its world-famous culinary scene, with Michelin-starred restaurants dotting the cityscape. The city has been named “the gastronomic capital of the world” since 1935, and it’s easy to see why—Lyon is home to some of the best chefs in the world. 

But Lyon is also home to some great coffee. I spent a few days in the city recently,  and I was able to try out some of the best coffee that Lyon has to offer—here were my five favorites.

A cozy corner of Rakwé cafe. There is a wooden drum-shaped coffee table in the middle of a set of couches covered in thick cushions. On the table is a porcelain tulip-shaped espresso cup with painted flowers and leaves. Next to it is a traditional Lebanese coffee maker; it is bronze colored, shaped like an upside-down bell, with a long metal handle on top, similar to the handle of a large spoon.
 Coffee at Rakwé is brewed with cardamom and served in a traditional Lebanese coffee maker. Photo by Vasileia Fanarioti .

Rakwé Coffee

Rakwé is a coffee shop, art gallery, micro-roastery, and co-working space all in one. The coffee here is absolutely incredible—I had the pleasure of trying a few different kinds, and they were all delicious. The baristas are passionate about their craft, and it shows in the quality of the coffee. My favorite drink was the titular Rakwé coffee, named after the traditional Lebanese coffee maker that most of us know as an ibrik. The coffee was smooth and flavorful, with just a hint of cardamom—the perfect way to start my day! 

A barista pours nitro cold brew from a metal bar tap into a fluted glass similar to a wine glass.
Nitro being poured at Slake Coffee House in Lyon. Photo by Vasileia Fanarioti.

Nitro Cold Brew  

On the second day in the city, I spent a couple of hours at Slake Coffee House, a popular café located off Place des Jacobins. The coffee here is from the Cafe Mokxa, a specialty roaster in France well-known for its high-quality coffee. The coffee shop has a cozy and trendy ambiance, with wooden furniture, exposed stones, a glass roof, and slate walls. The designer lighting gives the place a warm and inviting feel. I ordered a nitro cold-brew coffee, which I found to be smooth and refreshing. The coffee had a slight sweetness, and the nitrogen added a creamy texture that I really enjoyed. As for the cupcakes, they are to die for! 

An iced latter in a vase-shaped glass, which is narrow at the bottom, very wide in the middle, and narrow on the top. The glass sits on a small black paper napkin.
An iced lavender latte from La Boîte à Café. Photo by Vasileia Fanarioti.

Iced Lavender Latte  

This was the most interesting coffee of the trip! La Boîte à Café is a cute little café located near Place des Terreaux. The atmosphere here is relaxed and laid-back, with a few small tables outside where you can people-watch. I ordered an iced lavender latte, which came infused with oat milk and sprigs of lavender. The coffee was delicious, and the lavender added a nice touch of flavor. If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee and a relaxed atmosphere, this is the place to go. 

A classic flat white in a navy blue, white rimmed porcelain demitasse cup with handle. The demitasse and a tiny spoon rest on a matching saucer. There is a heart drawn in milk on the flat white. Behind on the plain table top is a vase of white and yellow wildflowers.
A flat white from Away Café and Hostel. Photo by Vasileia Fanarioti.

Flat White—the Hostel Experience 

Away Café & Hostel is located in a 19th century building in a beautiful, centrally located part of the city. You might think that a hostel would not be the best place to find great coffee, but you’d be wrong! The coffee at Away is some of the best I’ve had in Lyon. I ordered a flat white, which was made with Mokxa coffee and had a perfect balance of espresso and milk. The coffee was rich and flavorful, and the foam was nice and creamy. The baristas here know their stuff, and it shows in the quality of the drinks. The Scandinavian-influenced design of the coffee shop is beautiful, and the atmosphere is cozy and inviting. No wonder the hostel is in the Michelin guide! 

On a saucer, a small decorated glass filled with the espresso tiramisu drink. The espresso sits on the bottom while steamed milk floats on top, dusted with chocolate powder. On the ledge of the cup, a ladyfinger cookie is rested.
The espresso tiramisu is a delicious twist on the classic Italian dessert. Photo by Vasileia Fanarioti. 

Espresso Tiramisu

Last but not least, I was surprised to find an espresso tiramisu drink at Loutsa Torrefacteur, a coffee roastery and café with a few locations both in Lyon and Paris. This drink is made with a ristretto shot, cold organic milk froth, and a dash of amaretto. It is then topped with a cookie and chocolate powder for decoration. The drink was delicious, and the espresso added a nice touch of bitterness to the sweetness of the tiramisu. If you’re a fan of tiramisu, this coffee drink might be the best way to end a trip in Lyon! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine, and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.

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