Rating: Poor, exceptionally bad Roman coffee
Yes, you read it right Cafffè Camerino has three- one F, two F, three F’s- in its name.This is a great old-time marketing ploy to get you to remember the coffee there. I was drawn to it by all the positive reviews I’ve read… However, and again as with other cafes I’ll review here, it seems few folks are actually “tasting” the espresso served there. Or they might not have ever tasted a true artisan roasted espresso before! I was disappointed by what’s served here, especially given the potential of this place to excel at what they do!
The bar is situated right on the main of the Largo di Torre Argentina. A beautiful setting, with tons of foot traffic of locals and tourists alike.
Asking for a cup of coffee gets you this:
Presentation: No water offered. Cool fluted cup, nice logo and marketing. So far we have a clever logo, and an online reputation that screams of this place being ‘wonderful’… let’s see.
Temperature of Cup: Ouch! Super hot cup, very warm and I had to wait about a minute for it to cool down. Point number one: bad start.
Quantity: Good short shot of espresso. Point no. 2: good!
Temperature: Quite hot, too hot. Still warm after cup was touchable. Bad!
Volume/Consistency: A bit watery, no texture or body in the shot… poor!
Crema: Here’s an interesting point. As I sat waiting for the cup and espresso to cool down enough in order to drink the shot, I couldn’t help notice a rather woody, greyish tone to the crema on the coffee. Hadn’t experienced this before here in Rome. The crema was probably 2-3 mm thick, and persistent, I liked it. It had a life of its own. Ok, now at point 5: we have a positive again!
Odor: However, the oder this nice shade of crema was giving spoke of impending doom on the palate. Very burnt smell, nothing of the beans’ complexity or fruitiness… we see this point is again: Bad.
Taste: Well the taste could have been a lot, lot better given the online reputation this cafe has. It was very very bitter, rancid coffe. Let’s tally up the points: 4 bad points to 2 positive….
Overall: My overall impression is reflected by the fact that I didn’t finish this coffee cup. It was super bitter, very rancid, scalding hot, and just not a pleasant espresso. So if you’re coming here just to taste, I would not expect the highest Roman espresso experience. I rate this as a Poor coffee because if you have a reputation, you have to work to maintain it. Here the management could just call in somebody who knows something of espressos to fine tune their setup in just a couple of hours.
The setup here is interesting: They have 2 machines, the one facing me was a Wega with a E61 group head, the grinder was also some form of Wega grinder. The setup is good for a really thick nice espresso… if properly honed in!
Now to the kicker of this story: Cafffè Camerino also serves and roasts their own beans! Below you can see the pre-ground tins they sell:
They also sell loose coffee. Prices range from 2 to 1.5 euro per 100 grams. Here in the pix it shows prices per Kilo. They seem to offer seven different types of roasts. The ones on the front, which I was able to see where the following (from left to right):
1. Miscela di caffè, qualità Americano 20 Euro Kilo, aka, to brew Americano coffee.
2. Miscela di caffè, qualità Espresso Bar 20 Euro Kilo, aka, if you want the ‘bar’ experience.
3. Miscela di caffè, qualità Forte 15 Euro Kilo, aka, if you want to OD on crazy rancid coffee!
I will have to come back to this bar and do a sampling of their coffee. Due to the poor experience I had, I really took no interest in their own production. It actually made me laugh to see this, who would want to buy bad coffee? Maybe if I brew it myself under more careful conditions, we can make a winner of this?
Its a pity their espresso was so terrible, they seem to do a great job on their more sweet concoctions (just google their name and you’ll see lots of people raving about their calorie bomb coffees). They do have a nice ambience and (fairly…) good selection of things to eat.
Camerino Arenula S.R.L
Largo Arenula, 30