Rating: Standard, exceptionally good traditional Roman coffee
On the way south of the Villa Pamphilj, still in the heart of Monteverde, you’ll find one of those hidden gems that you always read about, but are always skeptical if these places actually exist or not. At the start of the Via Della Donna Olimpia you’ll find the roaster and coffee bar Mokolimpia.
This place reeks of being frozen in time, still stuck back in the 1960s, and roasts extremely small batches only for locals. I spoke to the owner’s son, who was serving coffee and selling the roasts, and he said that the place was opened by his father 59 years ago, and that dates this place to ca. 1956….
They used to roast a lot more, but now, they only roast this:
Three different kinds of roasts, all extremely cheap for 100g and they are decidedly a lot lighter than the Torrefazione Trio that is just around the corner from them.
From the far left to the right these are the three varieties they roast:
1. Miscela Mokolimpia, aka, ‘Mokolimpia blend,’ and it’s 80% arabica. Its the costliest, at 1.40 euro per 100g. This is the darkest blend.
2. Miscela Extra Bar, or the ‘Extra quality Bar blend’ at 1.20 euro a pop. This is their mid-roast blend.
3. Miscela Brasil, or ‘Brazilian blend’, at 1 euro for 100 grams. This is the lightest roasting they have.
Each roast is done once a week, usually on Sunday and Mokolimpia Torrefazione does not sell to bars, cafes, or restaurants. It only sells its roasts locally to those who buy it for home brewing.
Each batch is super small, just a few kilos of beans, and they have the machinery to produce hundreds of kilos a week… crazy potential in this place!!
What I loved was that they also serve what they roast. They use the Mokolimpia blend (their most expensive) for the espressos they sell.
Thus, when you ask for an espresso this is what you get:
Presentation: Simple, straight-foward, no BS branding on their cup.
Temperature of Cup: The cup was at the perfect temperature, not hot, not cold, just right.
Quantity: The shot was a bit too long for me, especially since the cup is quite big.
Temperature: The espresso was bordering on too hot. It wasn’t piping hot, but it was close.
Volume/Consistency: Here’s the nice surprise- the shot was quite thick, not watery, and felt like I was actually tasting the roasts!
Crema: The crema as even, not too bright, and while it did not have the sign of tons of oils in the coffee, it was decent.
Odor: Another nice surprise, lots of odor! Not very fruity or such, but a nice warm smell of coffee, not overly done.
Taste: This is the mark, and it was a very decent, bitter, quite strong, but in no way rancid. Wasn’t too acidic either, so it was a pleasure to taste.
Overall: For a roaster serving it’s own coffee, it’s very good coffee, brewed right and definitely worthwhile. The amount of coffee in the cup was a bit too much for me, … I prefer a shorter shot, but definitely something worth stopping in and trying.
If anything, this place seems stuck in time, but decidedly so. I spoke to the owner’s son, so the person running the place now, and he also knew of the differences in roasting done in Venice, Milan, Florence, and south of Rome. He’s aware of what is out there, and said that the roasts they do are the roasts that typical Romans like to have. So, again, like the Bar Quattro Venti, with its decidedly conservative and studied espresso, we’re dealing with somebody who’s catering to its clientele, i.e. 100% local folks.
So let’s see their setup. I wasn’t allowed to see the roasting machine, but here’s their espresso maker:
A four group Wega espresso machine. As you can see its nestled among tons of other things that this ‘cafe’ sells.
And that’s why this place has some untapped potential: Since coffee roasting is such a small portion of their total revenue, they’ve made their Torrefazione into a regular cafe/convenience store… So the potential is to make use of their facilities for roasting some truly good damned coffee!!
Here’s some photos of what you get when you order 100g of beans:
The grinder they use is the same as that of the Torrefazione Trio, and this time I asked for the finest ground they could give me as I’d be using it in a lever espresso machine. I’ll show you in a bit what I got…
So after opening the package, here’s the deal, AGAIN really thick ground beans.. UGH. I had ordered the ‘Brazil blend’, which was their lightest roast, and was disappointed.
Here’s a brief tour of what we know will happen:
Useless to try to squeeze an espresso from this. But, and here’s the good news, it was GOOD coffee!! So next time, I’ll ask for unground beans, and i’ll pull a shot form this… and update this post.
To summarize, this place reeks of vintage charm, very nice people running the place, and if you’re in the neighborhood and are a coffee fan, simply a super cool place to visit and experience. Traditional Roman urban coffee at it’s best.
Via Della Donna Olimpia, 34