While France is not usually my cup of coffee, there is admittedly much more to it now than there was 5 years ago. In contrast to some other countries France is deeply rooted in its culinary traditions, which is why the third wave has taken longer to break through old habits. It's fair to say that since 2010 the specialty coffee movement has turned Paris upside down and it didn't stop there, other parts of France are gradually catching up.

On a short trip to the South of France I passed by Lyon, where the coffee shop and roastery Café Mokxa was a pioneer in 2011 to bring quality coffee to east-central France. While both Café Mokxa and the Mokxa serving cafe and art gallery Slika where closed over the holidays, I discovered two newcomers that are an excellent addition to the coffee map of Lyon.

Puzzle Café

Puzzle Café is Lyon's newest kid on the block, a coffee shop minimalist in style and French at heart, especially when it comes to the pastries. It provides relief from the overly bitter coffee served in regular cafes in the center. Here, all the pieces fit together - a distinct concept, a relaxed atmosphere and baristas as skilled as they are friendly.

Puzzle Cafe Lyon Specialty Coffee
Puzzle Cafe Lyon Specialty Coffee

Thomas, who spent some time in Australia and worked as a barista in Paris, and his friend Fernando came to Lyon with a great deal of experience in the coffee industry to open Puzzle Café in October 2015. They are experimenting with different roasters and already worked together with Drop Coffee Roasters and currently The Barn. Next up, they will serve beans from JB Kaffee, a micro roastery in Munich.

Puzzle Cafe Lyon Specialty Coffee
Puzzle Cafe Lyon Specialty Coffee

There is an obvious Nordic influence in the interior design and some of the otherwise naked walls are decorated with paintings by local artists. The coffee is handled very well and the Focaccia for lunch is a great draw. 

4 Rue de la Poulaillerie

MON-SAT 08:00-18:00


Le Tigre

(closed since 4th of June 2017)

The night before leaving Lyon to go south I stumbled upon Le Tigre. It was already 5 minutes past 7pm, in theory they had just closed, but I tried my luck anyways and put my head through the door asking whether I could quickly drop some questions. Andrea, one of the owners, was extremely welcoming and asked me to come in. The espresso machine, a beautiful Kees van der Westen Spirit with the Le Tigre logo, was already cleaned so Andrea made me a drip coffee with beans from Honduras roasted by Belleville, their roastery of choice. The beans come from Dolmin Moreno (Finca Quebrada), who has taken part in the Cup of Excellence competition in Honduras 2015, where he received a cupping score of 87.29 points. Well deserved I would say, it was delicious!

Le Tigre Specialty Coffee Lyon

Andrea, who opened Le Tigre together with her friend Delphine in February 2015, said that most people from Lyon are still hesitant to order filter coffee. To break with its bad reputation, the girls make it a complementary option for the Sunday brunch. Most customers are surprised by the complex taste that is not at all like the filter coffee they are used to. Since I mentioned brunch, Le Tigre is actually the first specialty coffee shop I stumble upon that has a great variety of baked gluten free goods!

Cafe Le Tigre Lyon Specialty Coffee
Le Tigre Lyon Specialty Coffee

Le Tigre is located in the 1st Arrondissement in one of the oldest streets of Lyon, Montée de la Grande Côte. There are several 'traboules' (passageways) in the street which are very interesting to walk through. The cafe is equipped with bright wooden furniture made by French designers and glamorous lighting. The space is relaxing with a Scandinavian feel and has a unique energy, which might have a little something to do with Andrea's huge smile.

91 Montée de la Grande Côte
69001 Lyon

Check out my other travel and coffee guide in France!