Rating: Standard, expressly conservative Roman espresso
The coffee shop Bar Quattro Venti Caffè was an interesting coffee experience. This place is always super packed in the mornings, and usually by locals. But given that it’s on a thoroughfare for American students going to The American University of Rome, it also sees its dose of student clientele.
Walked in at an off hour and asked for a caffè and got this:
Presentation: Unassuming, no water, but given immediately when asked. The handle for the cup was pointed in my direction already.
Temperature of Cup: Good temperature, off the machine, dry and clean.
Quantity: Almost perfect shot of espresso, the machine is semi-automatic so he was looking at the quantity.
Temperature: Good temperature, was able to drink it directly without burning lips, and it allowed for tasting of the beans.
Volume/Consistency: A bit watery, more so than I expected given the size of the shot.
Crema: Golden color, only slight hints of the oils that came at the beginning of the shot, and yet the bubbles speak of drawing the shot too long. No signs of complexity of beans, or oils there.
Odor: Strong odor of bitter coffee, not fruity, but straight dark roasted coffee.
Taste: Taste was strong, not rancid, lacked a certain amount of depth.
Overall: This was a standard Roman styled espresso. Not remarkable, but not bad. I asked the barista about what coffee he roasted, and he did confirm that he’s roasting what the cups say: Caffé Fantini. So this question set him on to explaining why his coffee is the way it is. He said he’s thought about it, and said that here in Rome clients like a bitter strong coffee. So this is his answer. Strong bitter coffee with a hint of sweetness somewhere. He mentioned the variations of coffee in the South and North of Italy, and acknowledged that they roast and serve coffee differently. So he’s a aware what he’s doing.
Here’s his nice and clean setup. A Faema Ambassador, and a nice Fiorenzato grinder. Tidy and surgical. Why don’t people use their decaf grinders for their regular espressos? A small trick that’d really make their coffee that much better…
Given that he’s gotta a business to run and a clientele to cater to, his philosophy towards what coffee to serve is a no nonsense direct-business strategy. I would return to this place simply because at least I’m getting his thought-out version of what a Traditional Roman Espresso is. And to boot, the barista is a nice guy.
Caffe Quattro venti
Bar Quattro Venti 13 WS SRL
Viale dei Quattro Venti, 24