On a wet Thursday, when you needed big galoshes or a boat to wade through the streets of Paris, I set out for a spirit-boosting cup of coffee after the morning chores. Big rain you could call it, so I decided to duck into the Metro and not bother with say, trying to ride a bike or stroll the boulevard in the thrashing torrents. I pulled up the collar of my black raincoat and hid under the umbrella like the other sodden figures. On the metro car, people emerged from dripping hoods, dangled umbrellas by their seats, and tried to smooth down frizzed hair. We looked like a pack of wet dogs. And smelled like it too. At the next stop, the doors clicked open onto posters of sunny Corsica. Oh, the cruel smiting  beasts of irony.

Paris has cafes, but I was aiming for off-the-grid. Willing to go deep into the hinterland to pursue the golden bean. Looking for the joyfully-shaded, happily-traded, ethically-crafted elixir infused with the love of the valued villagers, roasted by contented employees with 6 weeks of paid vacation, then ground, pressed, steamed, poured into mugs made by Yann, the next-door potter, and topped with heart-shaped swirls, because they care about you that much. That’s what I was seeking. In other words, a total transformation from a little cuppa lovin’ java.

Where do you go for that, you might wonder? Well, I’d asked around, and after getting various answers, went with the coolest name: Folks and Sparrows, 14 rue Saint-Sebastien, 75011. How did I know I had struck the Holy Grail? Why, the crowd of bearded dudes, of course. For you shall know that where the bearded men go, does pour forth the purest of the black waters. For they have returned from the 40 days, and 40 nights, (hence the beards) and are parched for the divine elixir of a tall and steamy latte.

In 2016, it’s become a basic principle: Follow the bearded dude in the plaid shirt – for the Indie, Local, Crafted & Curated.

Other Hip & Cool Coffee Outlets in Paris:

The Boot, 19 rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003

Fondation Cafe, 16 rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003

La Cafeotheque, 52 rue de l’Hotel de Ville, 75004

KBCafe, 53 ave Trudaine, 75009

Ten Belles, 10 rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010

Cafe Loustic, 40 rue Chapon, 75003

Coutume, 47 rue de Babylone, 75007

May your day be warm and your coffee well-crafted.