Rating: Standard, decent Roman style coffee.
The coffee shop slash-emporium Caffe Castroni is a staple of the chic Prati neighborhood of Rome. This is their flagship store on Via Cola di Rienzo, supposedly around since 1932. You see lots of positive hoopla on the net about how great their coffee is… let’s see what they have.
First off, it’s not a coffee shop anymore, but a labyrinth of stuff to buy. An emporium, a bazaar… Mostly tourist things, and coffee seems to be a remnant of their earlier and former glory days of what made them famous. A glance at their website makes this clear. Coffee machine was a modern Faema automatic, should give consistent quality shots if they are honed in properly.
So let’s get to the coffee itself, first and foremost.
Presentation: The cup is served with a stamped on 80-year commemorative logo. Cool, certainly a measure of quality you’re thinking…. maybe. The suit-clad barista didn’t offer water, so I asked for one, and got way too much water. What you see is what is left after I drank the brimming-full cup down.
Temperature of Cup: Taken from the top of the machine, the cup was very hot, burning my lips, and scalding hot against my inner wrist. Had to wait about a minute to drink it.
Quantity: Good espresso shot, quite short, bordering on a ristretto.
Temperature: Surprisingly not as hot as I imagined, maybe it was the minute I waited.
Volume/Consistency: Not thick, not thin, but not sirupy. Coffee was not fresh. Since it was a short espresso, it helped keep it together. Decent.
Crema: Some substance, a bit buoyant. No character of the bean oils visible anywhere…
Odor: Bitter, but not over burnt. Definitely nothing of fruit or subtlety.
Taste: Strong, sharp, bitter and reflecting over roasted old beans. Not bad however.
Overall: Not a bad espresso experience. Definitely you get what you pay for. Traditional, a no-thought given espresso, that has a controlled temperature, decent volume, and not overly pungent. Definitely not interesting, nor memorable. You won’t discover the joys of coffee here, but you’ll get a decent Roman representative. Yet I would not make it my regular coffee house.
Here’s what to expect.
The counter sugars:
The counter and coffee machine:
The former glory days….
Yes, they purposely toast their beans this way…. it says so on the storefront!
By the way, pay first before you order, and if you place a coin (tip) on the receipt, they still won’t say thank you.
Via Cola di Rienzo, 196/198