Rating: Standard, low-quality Roman roasting
The Torrefazione Adriatica is a great find in the Monte Sacro area of Rome. It’s got tons of things in its store: wine, candy, aperitivos, and of course, coffee. Since what I’m searching for here is artisanal coffee roasters (or those we can classify as third wave roasters), we’re grading these places in those terms. I have to make this explanation because of the low rating I’m giving this place. Let’s start out with what they do best…
So, as the joke goes, a guy walks into a bar and… asks for a coffee:
Presentation: No water offered, but the coffee is presented in this nice cup. It’s a vintage ‘English’ looking thing (who is it supposed to appeal to, ‘old folk’?) and fluted, this last thing I dig. No brand displayed because these guys brew their own stew.
Temperature of Cup: Not very hot, good temperature.
Quantity: Short shot, I like this, we’re starting off good so far.
Temperature: Was a bit on the warm side, it was hotter than I expected.
Volume/Consistency: Hmm.. here we start a decline… watery, very runny.
Crema: Isn’t necessarily thick, not thin, maybe OK, but too blond.
Odor: No smell… smells like a juicy piece of nothing!!
Taste: Very bitter, not rancid, but bitter. So, where does that leave us?
Overall: So I’ve written that this is a ‘Standard’ espresso here in Rome. I say this because it wasn’t rancid, it wasn’t putrid, but could given the fact that they’re roasters and have access to premium ‘everything’.. it could really have been better… a lot better. I didn’t finish the cup.
So let’s move briefly to their setup: They have a late 80s looking Nuova Simonelli semi-automatic with a Mazzer grinder. This machine is not top of the line, but honed in properly they should be squirting out great espressos without a thought.
Let’s go look at the beans they sell:
From left to right they are the following:
1) Famiglia: Mix of 70% Arabica beans, and at time of writing it was 1.30 euro for 100 grams. The beans mixed were: Brazil Santos Adele Selected and India Kaapi Royale
2) Tostatura Americana: or American roast. A mix of 100% Arabica beans. And 2.5 for 100g, and it was by far the lightest roast. It even sported a fancy American flag there! Must be great! no? The beans used in this mix were: Brazil Santos Adele Selected and Puertorican Mountain Selected.
3) Decaffeinato a vapore acqueo. Decaf coffee by water vapor. Mix of 100% Arabica, and also 2.5euro for 100g. The beans mixed were the same as the 1st ‘Famiglia’ choice: Brazil Santos Adele Selected and India Kaapi Royale
4) Elite Bar. This is what they serve at the bar, it is a mix of 100% Arabica beans. And costs 2.8 euro for 100 grams. They are a mix of: Brazil Santos Adele Selected, Nicaraguan Maragogipe Superior, Guatemalan Genuine Antigua Pastores, Colombian Medellin Supremo, Costarican St. Rafael Tarrazu, Puertorican Mountain Selected, and finally, but not least, Mexican Center Special… Crazy, I was served all this crazy coffee mix and still tasted like crap?? Something must have been off that day!!! No?
5) Elite. This is a 100% Arabica mix. It consists of: Brazil Santos Adele Selected, Nicaraguan Maragogipe Superior, Guatemalan Genuine Antigua Pastores, Colombian Medellin Supremo, Costarican St. Rafael Tarrazu, and Mexican Center Special. So it’s essentially missing the Puertorican Mountain Selected.
6) Premier. This is mixture of 100% Arabica. Is 1.8 euro per 100grams and has: Brazil Santos Adele Selected, India Kaapi Royale, Colombian Medellin Supremo, Costarican St. Rafael Tarrazu, and Mexican Center Special.
7) Famiglia Extra. This is a 80% Arabica mix. 1.5 euro per 100 grams and has the following: Brazil Santos Adele Selected, India Kaapi Royale, and Colombian Medellin Supremo.
So generally the roast, excepting the American blend, which was the lightest of them all, goes from left to right – darkest to lightest.
So as usual, I thought of buying some of their beans to try at home. I purchased their ‘American blend’ … as a matter of pride.
This is what they sold me:
They are the lightest beans i’ve seen so far here. But, here’s the kicker: They were dead-dead. They smelled like nothing, almost card-board. I tasted one in my mouth and tasted like nothing!
So I purchased these on a Friday. And I had asked when and how often they roast their beans- we’re roasting them now they said. Hmm.. I didn’t smell any roasted coffee at all. Also, they said that they roast all coffee blends weekly, each Friday!
So, I gave up, and simply have not brewed these, I know it’ll be a dud from the start. Especially since their ‘best’ stuff, tasted like it did!
This is where they do their roasting:
Its a room connected to the bar area by a set of doors, and can be seen from inside the bar:
So what is the deal? Not sure, but it’s definitely a family-run business. And in this “Hey, I’m Roman, like it or not attitude” there might be some lack of care towards their coffee. So take this place for what it is: A very traditional Roman roasting company. The prices are low, the care towards the bean low, and hey, it is what people drink day in and day out here. So, not close to any Third Wave establishment, but judge for yourself what they’re brewing here.
The place has a bazaar feel, is cool and they do aperitivos and coctails, and other things. Here’s the interior (see the coctail lounge back there with the blue light… hmm….)
Torrefazione Adriatica dei Fratelli Bertini S.N.C.
Viale Adriatico, 1/C/F