PAPA’S CAFFÈ, VIA DELL’ORSO 75-76, 00186 ROMA

Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Mid to upper range Roman Coffee

In the little labyrinthic streets north of Piazza Navona, you’ll find Papa’s Caffè. A corner locale that seems sleepy and unassuming. When I walked in it was dead quiet, a couple of dudes on the outside chilling, and when I approached the bar some guy chatting up the barista. He left, and another took his turn after a few minutes. Also chatting her up… They were speaking in Romanian, and couldn’t figure out what they were up about. The barista was a woman in her late 40s with a real presence and attitude that I can’t quite describe. Let us say, she seemed like she could have been orchestrating from behind the bar quite a lot more things than espresso and sandwiches. Either way, she was super polite and took care when making the espresso.

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SAN MARCELLO BAR CAFFÈ, VIA SAN MARCELLO 37-38, 00187 ROMA

Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Standard, mid to upper range Roman coffee

In the Rione IX Pigna neighborhood of Rome, in the labyrinthic streets, you find an opening in the wall with a nice solid frame. And voila, there you have the San Marcello Bar Caffè. Like all cafes here in Rome, they offer something to eat, serving java alone doesn’t pay the bills. It was chock full of local Romans, and it had an air of fun and good vibes. It had an additional room, for people to sit at and have lunch if they wanted. The bar was full of folk having their coffee, and two young baristas were kicking out the brew.

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STRABBIONI BAR CAFFÈ, VIA SERVIO TULLIO 2A, 00187 ROMA

STRABBIONI BAR CAFFÈ, VIA SERVIO TULLIO 2A, 00187 ROMA
Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Standard, mid end Roman coffee

The Strabbioni Bar Caffè, whose name makes me think of ‘stra-buoni’ or super good in Italian is very nice, quaint, old-styled café. It’s got a tradition of serving coffee a certain way, and from the date on the entrance (see the pic below, ‘1888), it’s been doing its thing in Rome for quite some time! I don’t like to read up on places before going in, as I like the coffee to speak for itself. When I walked in it was packed with folk having their break, and the think I kept on hearing over and over was the question ‘con panna’? I.e., with whipped cream? So that’s the specialty, to serve their espressi with a touch of whipped cream, like a macchiato, but a bit richer. Next time I go in, I’ll try it.

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CAT & CLOUD COFFEE CO., 3600 PORTOLA DR., SANTA CRUZ, CA 95062 (USA)

So a bit more than a week ago a very good friend of mine who lives near Santa Cruz went out of his way (and dug deep into his pocket) to send me some freshly roasted coffee from the new café Cat & Cloud. This is a new establishment by Chris Baca, Jared Truby and Charles Jack. They’re veteran Third Wave folk, who’ve been roasting, competing, and simply serving damned good specialty coffee for 10+ years. I found out about their new café when this said friend sent me a link to their podcasts. If you haven’t heard them, go give them a listen. They’re refreshingly happy, candid, and low key. A nice change from all the bullshit stuck up attitudes and idiotic obfuscation I always encounter around Specialty Coffee. So now, not only am I addicted to coffee, but I’m also addicted to spending half an hour a week listening to these dudes shoot the shit. So without further ado, let’s talk about the coffee that my friend sent me.

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BOSCHETTO 47 CAFFÈ, VIA DEL BOSCHETTO 47, 00184 ROMA

Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Standard, mid to upper range Roman coffee

 

This little café, the Bochetto 47 Caffè is in literally just a door in a wall. Almost anonymous i fit weren’t for the large sign outside. I wasn’t sure it fit was a café or not, but the ‘bar’ part convinced me to peek in. I’m glad I did. It was really nice inside! It has a red and granite and steel with mirrors of course interior. But all new and totally recently redone. It has a low ceiling so you get the feeling you’re walking into a den of some kind, cozy and nice. The barista, a slender and elegant platinum blond woman in her 50s with a smile on her face, was very nice and courteous to everybody that walked in. The place has a long counter on the right hand that leads all the way to the back where the espresso machine is. On you your left you have a smaller counter with mirrors. All in all, it was a nice place to go into, and I’d come back if possible.

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SURMA CAFFÈ, VIA FLAVIA 66, 00187 ROMA

Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Standard, mid to low end Roman coffee

 

I had a good couple of visits to the Sallustiano area of Rome, and still have lots of other cafes to visit and review. The Surma Caffè was definitely an interesting one. I read on the outside that it was a café and well, thought cool. Actually calls itself a ‘Caffè’, and then had a nice plastic ‘Biondi Caffè’ sign outside it’s doors. I said, hell, even if it’s crap, at least they care about serving some kind of Java in it’s premises. So I walked in. What a cool experience. Straight out of the 1980s. All dark paned mirrors, red vinyl walls and stuff, lots metallic tubing, and all colludes to make it try to look futuristic but proper. It turns out that it’s also a lunch place, so they have a table in the back with more room for all the govt. folk dead tired of sitting on their asses all day doing nothing to go and have a good laugh. The ‘Surma’ part is an Indian-Pakistani (sorry for my ignorance!) but it’s got an Indian styled kitchen, and you walk in there and you get a deep and full whiff of curry smell. The staff is super chill and hospitable, and the whole environment in there very relaxed and contrasts very oddly, but fun, with the décor.

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CERULLI CAFFÈ, VIA GIOSUÈ CARDUCCI 14, 00187 ROMA

Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Standard, mid to low-end Roman coffee

 

The Cerulli Caffè is in the Sallustiano Rione of Rome, a skip away from Termini station, and a skip away from a dozen other cafes, like all places of Rome. What sets this place apart from some of the other sandwich type places in this area is that it’s got a big seating and restaurant type area. Besides this, it was decked with a 1980s type mirror and wood paneling décor, that is reflective of Rome’s 1970s-80s bar boom period.

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CARRA SNACK BAR CAFFÈ, VIA 20 SETTEMBRE 24, 00187 ROMA

Standard Rathing

 

Rating: Standard, mid to low-end Roman Coffee

The Carra Snack Bar Caffè, or more commonly known by locals as the ‘Dei Pari Snack Bar Tabacchi’, or the ultra generic name for ‘café’ here in Rome, is right next door to a newer and preppier, and for some, cooler café. But whatever, it means that the younger, preppier, and wannabe yuppies of Rome go there, and the normal working folk go here. I walked in and I got very nice courteous service. It’s a mono-locale, with a shallow space inside. You walk in and you almost run into the counter. Here you have a counter with lots of food and two baristas kicking out the sandwiches and cafes.

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CAFFETTERIA GENOVA, VIA GENOVA 11, 00184 ROMA

 

Rating: Standard, upper range Illy coffee

 

This is one of those places that one passes by about 100 times and always puts a mental note saying ‘go in there next time’. The Caffetteria Genova is right off the Via Nazionale, and always buzzing with people. However, what kept me at bay was the big Illy Caffè sign on it’s façade. In my mind, it would be just another one of the hundreds of cafes serving this industrial stuff… was I wrong! Walking in, at about 10 to 8pm, the place was about to close and the barista had all the mornings fixings ready to go. It was the first time I saw this but he had an armada of saucers and spoons ready on the counter. Look below for the picture. Inside the dimmed light changed form blue to red to green to other psychedelic colors, it was nice. The low murmur of the TV and the sounds coming from a guy with a ultra petite dog added to the surreal experience. The barista was a nice guy, super calm, and was cleaning and putting everything in order. When I excused myself for getting a coffee a this hour he was obliging and saying that it’s totally fine.

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FARO – LUMINARI DEL CAFFÈ, VIA PIAVE 55, 00187 ROMA

 

Rating: Third Wave Coffee in Rome

 

Well, it’s official, if up until a week ago the Third Wave Specialty Coffee scene in Rome might have been a bit ambiguous, a bit ‘nascent’ and maybe a little weak, well… that phase is officially over now. Third Wave Coffee is definitely here in Rome and boy am I glad to report that it’s here in such a cool way. Just this past Saturday 17th of December the Faro – Luminari del Caffè (or in English, ‘Lighthouse, Luminaries of Coffee’) held it’s gran opening.

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