Rating: Standard, mid-range Roman coffee
It is interesting how many cafes there are here in in Rome. Literally on every corner. That’s the thing here, I walked out of one café, and had a few minutes to spare before having to rush where I was going, and I had only had one coffee, so I could stomach another one. I walk out of the Cerulli Caffè in the Sallustiano neighborhood and literally less than 30 feet away I see this other place, the Elsa Coffee café. It looks new, it looks modern, it looks international, and it looks inviting. A place where you can sit and chill and have your coffee without having to worry about taking up the counter space or actually people giving a crap that you’re sitting too long on the sofa with one cup of java. Hell, the fact that they have comfortable seating is already 80% different than most cafes. So it’s a locale that want’s to be lived in. I had just a few minutes and stopped in. It was a relaxed atmosphere and the late 50s man and woman behind the bar were busy cleaning up the setup, even thought it was a bit before lunch. They had a lull in the flow of traffic, meaning the bar was just full of 5 bodies and not three lines deep!
This is what I got:
Presentation: A nice cup, love the shape, and it had two logos on it. One of the bar, and the other of the roaster. A nice cup of water was given to me after I asked, and they obliged very kindly.
Temperature of Cup: It was lukewarm and I was happy, not crazy scalding cups.
Quantity: Quite short, almost a ristretto, well a ristretto by US standards! But decent here in Rome.
Temperature: Good temperature, could start drinking right away and not crazy boiling hot.
Volume/Consistency: It was very creamy, powdery, and I could taste the coffee grinds in the cup. Not a lot of oil content, more chalky
Crema: It was quite thin, and it was serriated, almost like a tiger striping on one of those ‘golden’ shots of yore, but simply it was thin, and you could see the coffee below it. It dissipated and left a hole in the middle of the cup. It didn’t add much to the experience.
Odor: Nope, none here!
Taste: It was a sharp bitter opening. It combined with the particular thickness of it to create a strong pungent drink that was thick in terms of bitterness, but thin in terms of taste profile. It was a monothematic and monochromatic drink that gave a good punch.
Overall: It was a decent mid-range Roman espresso. And given the coffee that was used for this cup it was a decent cup. This roaster tends to be uber-bitter and here it was handled quite decently. Either way, it simply was too flat to enjoy by itself, I think with a good spoonful of sugar it would have made it quite good. But I taste coffee here black and without additives. As such, I didn’t finish it.
The setup: They had a nice La Cimbali, a warhorse of Rome’s coffee scene. A Mazzer grinder, and the coffee being roasted is Negresco Caffè. This is a local Roman roaster that churns out black deep pungent coffee. I’m honestly not a big fan at all of this brand, but, and here is the big but, I’ve had really good coffee from them in some locales. So always a gamble when approaching this coffee.
Via Giosuè Carducci 26-30