Low-Level Roman coffee

Rating: Standard, low-end Roman cafe

The Bar – Caffe Gli Archi Caffetteria is the first stop for most students of the American University of Rome and residents of the American Academy in Rome. It is also the corner stop for the Norwegians of the Norwegian Institute in Rome (Det Norske Istitutt i Roma) and some of the religious of the various seminaries and theological schools of the Gianicolense area. Lastly, situated in the shabby chic area of Monteverde, the bar gets frequented by rather upper class Italians. Let’s see what people looking for a coffee here encounter. This unassuming cafe is situated on a corner  
and is facing the ancient Roman Aurelian walls, with the characteristic arches giving way to the American University of Rome and other places.

Asking for a coffee gets me the following:​

Presentation: OK, no glass of water offered, nor given. In Rome you expect a glass of water to be offered at least, or simply put there without your asking.

Temperature of Cup: Taken from the top of the machine, warm, but not piping hot.

Quantity: Good espresso shot, not long, nor ristretto.

Temperature: Not too hot, drinkable immediately.

Volume/Consistency: A bit watery, not thick.

Crema: Quite thin.

Odor: Bitter, burnt.

Taste: Very Bitter, over roasted old beans.​ 
Overall: Taken straight up, it offers a normal, run-of-the-mill Roman espresso. Nothing remarkable, nothing quite terrible. But for good espresso, I would not visit this place regularly. To get the job done, and for what most Romans are drinking in the morning, this is as ‘classic’ as you’ll get.

The Setup: The coffee set up is not the best, already we can see that while coffee is served, it’s not the primary focus of the bar. The machine is what looks to be a 1980s Synchro 3 group, simple on-off machine. Two grinders, one for regular, and the other for decaf coffee. As you can see on the right of the machine, they are not grinding coffee on demand. Coffee looks stale already!​

The particular brand of coffee being brewed is the South-East local Roman roaster, Berardo Caffè, which apparantly has been roasting since 1931. As you can see from the pix below, they roast with wood and that apparantly gives them a special flavor (instead of with gas, etc). They sell the coffe there as well in whole beans.

​Here are some of the other offerings here:​

Here is where most of the students and regulars eat.

Bar Caffe Archi di Villa Sciarra SLR ,
Bar Gli Archi
Via Fratelli Bonnet, 4
00153 Roma

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