Coffee Shop Saturdays: Cafe Poupon, Baltimore, MD
My day job's home office is located in the Charm City - Baltimore, Maryland.
I do enjoy downtown Baltimore. The architecture is interesting. The people are incredibly interesting. Lot's of history. Edgar Allan Poe stuff. Many raven references.
However, bad news is downtown Baltimore is also a coffee wasteland.
There's standard corporate fair. There's a local place who sells swill out of dirty coffee pots - and who I'm pretty sure is front for the mob. I'm not even kidding.
And that's about it.
The first few times I went to Baltimore for work I tried to find alternatives. The best I could do was hotel restaurant coffee.
Still not great. But mildly better.
Then I found a taste of Paris in downtown Baltimore.
The first time I went to Cafe Poupon was for a lunch. I ate the Salade Nicoise and really enjoyed it.
Full disclosure: it wasn't what everyone else in my party was looking for.
But I was pleased.
Most importantly, I had an espresso after my salad (in true French fashion) - and was even more happy.
The next morning, I returned for morning coffee. They had me at triple shot Americano and a Chocolate croissant.
Cafe Poupon seems to be a Baltimore/DC area restaurant - with two locations in downtown Baltimore and another in the Georgetown area. I can only vouch for the Charles St. location.
But here's the deal.
Typically, I am all about locally roasted coffee. But, when one is in downtown Baltimore, one can't be too picky. That said, Cafe Poupon's espresso is perfect. I am thinking there are two factors here.
- They have a great machine.
I honestly don't remember what kind it was, but I did chat to one of the baristas at one point, and she told me they do have a fantastic piece of equipment.
- They use Illy Coffee.
Now. Illy Coffee.
Yes - that's anything but local. Illy is a global company who serves shops all over the world. When we lived in Central Asia, one of my favorite shops served Illy coffee. I was surprised when I saw Illy is the brew of choice at Cafe Poupon.
The espresso at Cafe Poupon is rich, smooth, and has clarity of flavor with no bitterness - consistently. I've also had a cappuccino with a perfect blend of milk and foam (a bit on the dry side - but I like them that way). Cafe Poupon is a legitimate European style coffee house.
Get a pastry to go with your espresso drink - they are fresh-made with an artist's touch. I can't recommend the chocolate croissant enough.
When seeking an oasis in the coffee desert that is downtown Baltimore, Cafe Poupon is a refreshing stop.
Check them out at
225 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201