Mid-Level Roman coffee

Rating: Standard, good Roman traditional coffee

The Black Diamond Bar Caffè Valentini is a place where the name and essence of the locale don’t match. The coffee house is in the EUR Palasport area, where there’s lots of wannabe snazzy bars cum cocktail lounge places. The ‘Black Diamond’ is obviously referring to a sleek-chic martini lounge or something. But walking into this place you’re immediately confronted with a home-made, family-friendly, family-run business. Signs are not in sleek fonts, but in hand written cute notes. But there was another surprise here, that the coffee they serve is the one they roast, and they sell it to the public. So in fact, this is a ‘torrefazione’ as well.​

Asking for a cup of coffee got me the following:​
​Presentation: No water offered in this busy cafe. Just a cup and the facts…

Temperature of Cup: Good temperature, and I was happy.

Quantity: Very short shot in this rather large cup, so maybe it was straight-standard, but I was also happy to see the barista not overdoing it.

Temperature: The temp. was spot on. It opened the way for straight tasting of the shot.

Volume/Consistency: It was a bit watery, not thick enough for me.

Crema: The crema was rather light, and definitely not persistent, so this is both a result of the blend and of the brewing temp.​

Odor: Wow, I could actually smell something that I recognized as coffee! The odor did not engulf the whole café as happens in any normal Third Wave establishment, but I could smell the warmth of roasted coffee.

Taste: Hey, I could taste something nutty, deep roasted taste and not rancid. Quite strong, stout and bitter as expected, but the nuttiness was a nice surprise.​

​Overall: Overall, I would say this is a rather good espresso place, it is not at the top of my list, because I’ve had better espressos at Crismi or Voglia di Caffè (Both in Monteverde) which served mass manufactured coffee, but in any case, it is a good standard coffee.

The setup: They actually had a nice La Cimbali digital espresso machine, I’ve seen this in other places, you can set the temperature digitally for each group head, so man, can you tune this thing up!! The grinder was also a La Cimbali.​BLACK DIAMOND BAR CAFFÈ VALENTINI E TORREFAZIONE machine

Now to the coffee:

Here’s a first picture I took when I did the review. As you can see there are four types of coffee, but no specification as to what they were. And by chance, pay attention to the prices….​

Now, here’s another picture I took when I passed by this café again a few days later! Mamma! There’s new information, and… the prices have increased… in the span of less than a week. Crazy….​

In any case these are the coffees offered (I’ll omit the prices as inflation here in Italy seems to be rampart, and you never know where they’ll reach when you hit the joint).

  1. Caffee Fortis, bar mix: 60% Robusta, 40% Arabica.
  2. Caffè Gaio: 70% Arabica, 30% Robusta.
  3. Caffè Logos: 50% Arabica, 50% Robusta.
  4. Caffè Sublime: 100% Arabica, superior quality coffee.

Here’s a photo of their toaster: they even speak about their roasting process on their website here.​

Coffee Test: I purchased 100 grams of the Gaio coffee (70% Arabica, 30% Robusta). This is what it came in, and let’s see how it came out:​

The beans are rather dark roasted, and are quite shiny and oily…​

this is them before they go into my Arrarex/Caravel ​

Here is the first few risttreto notes, ​

I decided to go for a full espresso.​

The result, well, very very dark coffee without any hints of other flavors, and not rancid, but quite bitter. It was, let us say, what a regular espresso at any run-of-the-mill cafe here in Rome would serve.

The funny thing is that my friend asked the barista which of the coffees they sell is the one they serve, and they said that the brew they serve is not for sale. It is a family secret and is composed of a blend of more than 30 different coffees!! … yeah, make me believe that one! But after they said this, they said, well, the closest thing that we sell to what we serve is the 70/30 mix (i.e., the Gaio mix that I purchased). And indeed, it was similar, but still very different.​

In any case, it was an interesting place, fun find, and they don’t give you much detail about the provenance of their beans. And as you can see, the care they take of them after being roasted is not too well. But well… let’s say normal for what Romans do here.​

Black Diamond Bar Caffè Valentini e Torrefazione,
A & V S.R.L.
Viale Beethoven, 64/66
00144 Roma

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