Rating: Standard, normal Roman roaster
In the historic Monteverde neighborhood and the place where where some of Pier Paolo Pasolini films were shot, you’ll find the Torrefazione Trio at Via Federico Ozanam 38. It has supposedly been around since 1957.
Inside you’ll find the typical toned down and unassuming presentation of coffe:
The “unassuming” in this case translates into coffee that’s roasted, and then instead of being packed in environmentally-unfriendly plastic air-tight packaging (that creates a large carbon footprint, but does a great job at keeping the beans fresh), the coffee is left directly in the open air acrylic bins for customers to see. Thus, either this is a sign of very high turn over of the coffee, and the management thinking about reducing their overhead, or simply a care-free attitude to the post-roast life of the beans. You be the judge.
This attitude also spills over onto the fact that they don’t even serve espressos in their establishment. No coffee machine is present and fired up to allow customers to taste their roasts, nor to even entice the customer to purchase different beans than they regularly do. We’re dealing here with old-school selling practices and habits. You either already know what you’re looking for, or you listen to the person behind the counter.
However you come to make your choice, seven different and generic varieties are offered. The prices pictured are per 100g of coffee (L’etto). All varieties tend towards very dark french roast. Essentially all offer a robust and strong espresso.
They are the following:
1. “Miscela Casa” or House Mix.
2. “Maragogipe Arabica” aka, Single Origin Maragogype Arabica beans
3. “Miscela Arabica Decaffeinato” or Decaf Arabica Blend
4. “Arabica Miscela di Caffè – Miscela Super Arabica” or Arabica blend that’s somehow ‘special’
5. “Miscela di Caffè – Miscela Bar” … yes the name says it all… go to a bar and you’re probably getting bad coffee…
6. “Miscela di Caffè – Miscela Speciale” or I’m wondering why the price for this ‘special’ mix is lower…
7. “Miscela di Caffè – Miscela Famiglia” and finally here we have the poor man’s Italian 7-child family mix that is the cheapest…
Given that I’m expressly searching for coffee that is procured with some type of care to its roasting and its final destination in the cup (the Third Wave needle in the haystack), I order a bag of the Maragogype Arabica. It is the lightest roast of the whole, apparently single-origin, and was supposedly roasted the past week.
I was told that they generally roast two times a week: Thursdays and sometimes Tuesdays depending on the volume they sell.
Since I wanted to try the experience of a regular end-consumer, I asked them to grind the beans for me. No questions were asked about how thick/thin, nor about what type of machine I was going to brew the beans in. … Can we assume the guy who ground the beans believed I’d be brewing it in a typical Bialetti Moka Espress…?
So let’s see what they grounded, and how it tastes. Here is the bag of 100 grams:
But wait, how is it ground?
Noooo! it is for a filter DRIP coffee machine!! Even for a regular moka it is too coarse… There were two clients before me, and they both got the same coarseness on the same grinder… here’s the proof…
So yes, there is that school that professes ONLY DRIP COFFEE as the true Third Wave conoscenti drink to have, I still stick to the invention of caffè crema, i.e., the modern espresso. But next time, I will do a traditional drip coffee and update this review.
In any case, let’s give it a try anyway in my ca. 1962 Milan-made Caravel Arrarex, considered by some the apex of straight home espresso machine. On a first pull to try a ristretto, there’s no resistance, of course, ….and water starts pouring through…
What the hell, let’s give it another pull… The coffee’s got volume, but the Caravel is historic for being able to squeeze out decent coffee from even the worst of beans.
Decent body, but already, you can see from the light crema that there’s no oil being extracted from the beans.
Knowing that this was going to be watery, I tried it in any case. The coffee was …
Less than superb, and quite disappointing given the lightness of the roast. Since the beans were in no-way honed in to the Caravel machine, there’s no way to fairly judge the roast. But for what it’s worth, if the beans were fresh and the roast conscientiously done, there would have been a fruitiness and depth to this semi-drip coffee that I made. There was none of that here. So…
Let’s focus back on the Store. Here are the beans awaiting to be toasted.
The roasting machine is spectacular, and has so much potential to transform the beans they roast in into first-class coffee… maybe somebody’s got to convince the owner to do micro batch roasting!
Until then… we have to make do with this selection and this authentic approach (or native) to roasting, presenting, and selling the beans.
If the 100 grams would have been ground finer, they would have given us about 6 espressos. Not bad in relation to buying an espresso at a bar. We’ll have to return to this place to see if its really worth the hassle.
Torrefazione Trio SRL
Via Federico Ozanam, 38