Standard Rathing

Rating: Standard, a step above what Palombini brews

The coffee shop and bakery Da Nonna Nani Bar Caffè drew my attention because on its façade you can read that they brewPalombini Coffee. After my terribly disappointing experience at this famous bar and roaster, I had to stop in and see what they do with these horrendous beans.​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​As the storefront shows, its principal draw is its bakery and ice-cream business, coffee being a secondary apparatus to round out these sweets. The bar space is very small, and when I walked in, the presence of 5 other people in there made it necessary for me to wait to get a spot at the bar. So maybe if the owner doesn’t think coffee is the main attraction, it certainly was for the folks drinking it there.​​​​

The set-up already speaks of decent attention to the coffee. Eccola! Another Mazzer grinder! But hold on, the basket is full of ground coffee… there’s at least coffee for 10 different espressos there. So not the biggest attention to freshness, but I did say that the café was full when I went in… The machine is a decent semiautomatic Faema. It relies on a different group head than the E61 that made it famous, but honed in, it will of course give a good result. The machine is spotless… so this is a very good sign of no rancid flavors hiding in the group head or portafilters.

Asking for a coffee gives you the following:​

Presentation: Straight up coffee, the cup is displays the Palombini logo. Asking the barista if it’s really Palombini, he says ‘of course, it’s the 80/20 Robusta Arabica blend’. No water offered.

Temperature of Cup: The cup was indeed taken from the top of the machine and it was very warm, but not burning. Good sign.

Quantity: This is a generous espresso, as the cup is quite large. Felt like a double espresso.

Temperature: Tasting the coffee then met with a good and very warm shot, but not scalding hot. The minute I gave it before drinking made the difference.

Volume/Consistency: Given that it was a long shot, it was definitely watery. Not very thick, bordering on too thin actually.

Crema: The crema was quite thin and quite light, so that’s telling me that indeed the shot was a bit too long, giving us a lot of the end product of the beans.​​

Odor: The coffee didn’t stink of burnt rancidness, which made me happy. It smelled like a strong dark roast. If you look at the beans in the grinder hopper you can see the color of roast.

Taste: I was surprised here. I was expecting a rancid taste as I did back in Palombini, but it was actually better! Very bitter, not rancid, and not quite honed in because of the very long shot.

Overall: While the overall experience of this espresso speaks of somebody that relies on a name brand to do their talking, and not on a genuine interest for the espresso itself. Given the setup of the bar, and the fact that they might have let the coffee technician do their thinking, I think it does a decent job of holding its own. Comparing to its competitor Gli Archi caffè just around the corner, I would choose this café to be my regular.

And of course this is also influenced by the amazing pastries that they do have there: These I’ve tried and they’re top notch!


Pasticceria Gelateria Nonna Nani SRL
Via G. Carini, 35
00152 Roma

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