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  • Writer's pictureLa Nouvelle Orléanaise

Solo Palma, or the sun in a cup of coffee



On 28 March, I decided to meet Jorge, the owner of the Solo Palma coffee shop located on Place du Châtelet. A few years ago, I had already had the opportunity to drink a very nice hot chocolate with friends. Nevertheless, I think I discovered it for real after my recent move to Orléans, for I took the time to immerse myself into the place and wonder why I felt good there.

Even before getting into the shop, it is the very name of the shop, as well as the terrace, which invite you to voyage. Solo Palma… Spain ? Latin America ?

Once the threshold has been crossed, I was struck by the scent of coffee and the heat. Personally, I have always loved places with a warm and comforting scent, such as tea shops or British pubs.

Next comes visual amazement: the place is certainly cramped, but it was fitted out in such a way that the customer feels comfortable: seats with cushions, light wood furniture, plants, photographs taken by Marie (Jorge’s wife), appetising cakes on the counter (tested and approved)…

At last, if you are a music lover, your body will react to the rock or jazzy music, and if the owner serves you, you will understand better where the name of the coffee shop comes from, because Jorge is Mexican. In another article, I will talk more about Marie, who is also the coffee house’s owner.


LNO : Jorge, could you please explain the meaning of your coffee shop’s name: Solo Palma ?

Jorge : It is a play on words which be read in two ways. For some, it may mean: Just a palm tree, and for others: Sun or palm tree. My wife Marie and I were looking for an original name which would echo my origins and the country where we first met. And finally, we wanted to make a nod to our flagship product: coffee, which needs light and shadow at the same time.



LNO : Were you a barista before coming to France?

Jorge : No, I was a cameraman! When my wife and I moved to Brussels, in Belgium, I wanted to have a more stable job. Then, I found out about the work of barista AND learnt French. Then, the idea of opening our own coffee shop caught on, so I underwent a training funded by the Belgian state, even if you learn the hard way.


LNO : What encouraged you and your wife to move to Orléans?

Jorge : Marie is from Orléans, so it was natural to follow the path together to here. As far as the premises are concerned, our son played an important part in the choice we made, for as we were visiting different places, this one was his favourite. It was previously a creperie. He said: « Daddy, that is where the coffee shop is going to be ». It has been more than four years already since we embarked on the adventure. We work together, along with an employee who works for us every Saturday.


LNO : What do you propose here in the coffee shop?

Jorge: We offer all types of coffees, but we regularly change the origin of the products in order to taste as many flavours as possible. Coffee may come from Africa as well as Central America or South America. If you prefer other warm drinks, we also offer hot chocolate, tea and herbal tea. Cool drinks, such as iced coffee or iced tea, or even fresh pressed juice, are also available.

For the dairy beverages, we offer different organic milks as well as non-dairy alternatives to cow’s milk (almond milk, soy milk, oat milk or even coco milk), because we want to be consistent with our principles, as much as possible.

If you feel a bit peckish, you can chose between different set menus: you can buy drinks or food individually, you can select the lunch option at €14 or the brunch option at €25 (by reservation, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., from Tuesday to Saturday). You should know that I make the cakes and the jams myself with local products as far as possible. Our sandwiches are also homemade with organic farmhouse bread.

You can drink or eat in or take away in cardboard or Kraft packaging. Additionally, to follow our eco-responsible principles, we sell reusable glasses.


LNO: What do you like the most in your job?

Jorge: I like to learn and get better, for I demand a lot from myself. Despite the experience that I have, I am always looking for the perfect extraction. It is important to respect the product, to make it taste good. I also enjoy interacting with customers.


LNO: Do you have projects for the future?

Jorge: In the past, we organised coffee workshops in order for people to get to know more about the different slow brew coffee* techniques. Coffee can have a totally different taste according to the method used. Then, each person was invited to brew coffee in a given time. We tasted it afterwards. I am thinking about putting workshops back on again.


LNO: How can we find you?

Jorge: The coffee shop is on 24, Place du Châtelet; it is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. You can visit our website: https://solopalma.fr/ and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.



La Nouvelle-Orléanaise

 

Notes:

Slow brew coffee: a gentle brewing technique which preserves the flavour and the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee beans through the use of a filter coffee maker, a coffee press or a push-down coffee pot.


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