Tag Archives: Cyprien

Do you like your coffee French?

Voila another video from Cyprien, who, I gotta tell ya, is impressively making a real name for himself with his video blog. This month he and a few of his equally successful “vlogger” friends put on a live show at the largest cinema, theater, and music complex in Paris and it sold out just days after they announced the Janauary 12 date. He’s famous and he’s never paid a centime to market himself. Pretty cool times we’re living in.

I’m posting this latest installment because coffee, a drink that has always had cultural significance, has taken on new meaning in France. In the last few years especially there has been quite a bit of buzz (pun intended) caused by 21st century home espresso machines, especially the Nespresso model, which has been everlastingly linked to the sexy, smooth talking American actor George Clooney.

(You’ll hear Cyprien give his best shot at Clooney’s salesmanship 29 seconds into the video, with the very sexy blare of the machine in the foreground.)

As Cyprien says, “I was obligated to buy a coffee machine, in order to be classy. You can’t be classy with soluble coffee, for example.”

Soluble, or dissolvable, coffee is a French cultural enigma. I just don’t think they could market that kind of thing in America. But it’s really popular in France, and it’s much faster than a coffee maker, and I have to admit that I used to drink it every morning in my little studio in Dijon. It’s not that bad, but it’s certainly not classy. Not like Nespresso.

Cyprien pokes fun at the marketing strategy behind the “capsules” you can buy to make different kinds of espresso. They all have names you can’t remember, which means they all end up being referenced by color. “It’s a brown capsule,” he says, after reading the name “Livanto.”

“And they all have more or less the same taste,” he adds. “At a certain point you have to be honest.” He reads some of the distinguishing characteristics, like “complex and balanced” and — his favorite — “mild and liquid.”

“A liquid coffee,” he says. “They take us for idiots, huh?”

(Of course, the word “moelleux” can also mean smooth, which is surely  Nespresso’s intent, but the potential misreading is funny nonetheless.)

“Coffee connoisseurs” don’t make it out of Cyprien’s video un-poked either. It’s easy to feign recognition of the “complex and balanced” aspects of an espresso, but only if you know what specific characteristics go with the names of the capsules. (He serves a shot of Coca Cola to call the imaginary connoisseur’s bluff.)

The real test, though, is whether someone can drink his coffee without sugar. “I drink it without sugar,” Cyprien’s character says. But what he’s thinking as he takes a sip is, “it’s bitter, it’s disgusting, it’s bitter, it needs sugar, it’s bitter.”

Love it!

TRADUCTION A LA MELIE: Continue reading



Filed under Cool Characters, Culture, Just for laughs, Language

Les Etats-Unis, according to Cyprien

I just know I am going to be teased for doing this (probably by my French readers more than the ‘Mericans), but I have to admit, I am sort of obsessed with Cyprien.

I could say I watch his videos to keep up with my French while I’m in the States.  But then, who checks a website once a day for a month, waiting for the next post and worrying about the blogger’s welfare when this unhealthy amount of time has passed if she is only watching the videos for the vocabulary?

He’s hysterical, okay?

I’m willing to bet even you people who don’t speak French will laugh at his take on the U.S.A. (He happened to be on vacation last month, which explains the lack of videos.  Needless to say, I was relieved to know he hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth.)

Check out the video and then scroll down to see my translation.  Maybe you’ll get hooked too.

A loose translation/summary:

I just got back from vacation.  I went to the United State of America for the first time.  I went without my parents…yea, there’s a slight difference between going on vacation with your parents and going on your own…Especially when you get back from vacation.  (Looks in empty wallet.)  Okay, so…this month we’re going to eat…water.  I’m actually a little hungry. (Drinks water.) Ah, that’s better.

And even before leaving, I got to discover the best American invention: the ESTA.  Nothing to do with “como esta?”  The ESTA is the survey of weird questions that you have to fill out in order to go to the U.S.  You can do it on the internet now; I thought these kind of things only existed in ‘One Man Shows’ but no, I got to respond to their bizarre questions.

Have you ever been involved in espionage or sabotage, in terrorism, genocide, or, between 1933 and 1945 did you participate in any way in the persecutions perpetrated by Nazi Germany or its allies?

Let me think about that.  What was I doing in 1933? … Where was I?

WHO on this earth is going to respond “yes” to that question? Tell me….maybe jokers…although I’m not sure it would be very funny…Ah, America! (Police: Put your hands on your head!) Crap! How do you say ‘it was a joke’ in English? It was a “blague”…”blog”…haha…a joke! It was a joke!

Yea, it’s better to go to America when you know how to speak English.  Me, for example, I speak video game English: yes, no, new game, try again…that’s not really gonna cut it.  One thing I didn’t know was “do you want a Coca Cola” is “do you want a coke” in English.  Do I want cocaine?  Euuuhh…this must be some kind of American trap…euuuh…no, I would like a Coca Cola. Ha! Didn’t get me!

Speaking of Coca Cola, I have a little question for you, the Americans.  What is your problem with drinks?!  Over there it’s impossible to ask for a glass.  They give you a barrel.  (Holds up trash can) I ordered a small…(Response: That is a small.)  Oh yea.  So, what’s a large?

A public swimming pool.  A public swimming pool of coke.  Only in the States…

And, like all self-respecting Frenchmen who go to the States, I participated in the little ritual of buying a pair of Levi’s jeans.  Of course I did!  In France the least expensive pair costs 90 euros and the least expensive in America is 39 dollars, which is 27 euros…wait, let me calculate…that means it’s about…three times less expensive?  For the same jeans?  “We mess around with you, the French!”

No, really, I loved the United States! BUT, the guy who invented the New York metro is sadistic.  And likes to make his legs ache.  In New York, there are metro stations that go in only one direction.  If you go in the other direction you have to walk at least a half-kilometer — take a taxi, even — to get to the correct station. And in New York it’s not one train equals one metro line.  No! That would be too simple! It’s a Parisian thing. In New York you wait on the platform but you don’t know which train is going to arrive.  The C, the A, the E — you don’t know, it’s a surprise!

And when you find the right train that goes in the right direction…

Excuse me, this is the E train, right?


Thanks. (Hops on.)

….But it’s the Express Line.  It only stops at the end.

The “Express Line?”  Oh, I get it: it’s so much more fun to take a train that skips random stations…WHY?!


Filed under Culture, Just for laughs