Rating: Standard, very good Roman Roaster in San Giovanni
The Foroni Torrefazione is in the San Giovanni neighborhood and it’s been active since the 1920s. When I walked in, even at 7:15pm, it was full of people, busy and lively. It’s a bit of a bazaar as most of the roasters in this area tend to be. Coffee is just a part of the overall operation. I’ve been here a couple of times and always welcomed by really friendly open staff that make you get excited before walking in- you know you’re going to be treated well. While they sell lots of other things, the coffee roasting remains the flagship activity.
When I asked about their coffee, the roaster was very happy to show me the wood burning roasting machine.
And was very happy to discuss how he really focuses on quality. When asked about how often he roasts, he said that it really depends on how much coffee is consumed, and how each batch goes. He also said that he’ll roast a new batch if he feels the coffee is too old (a first here in Rome!). During our discussion, while he doesn’t brew coffee in the store to sell, he did treat me to a cup of their Super-Bar mix that he has specially packaged in the Nespresso capsules. I usually really don’t like them, but this coffee, see below, was really good. It was of course lighter than an espresso machine, but it was quite syrupy, and had a very decent consistency. Wasn’t rancid in any way, and had a distinct chocolaty profile! Here he served it in a disposible plastic cup by the chocolate company Venchi:
This is the coffee he sells (From left to right, top to bottom):
1. Miscela Bar: Or the Bar blend at 10 Euro for the Kilo.
2. Miscela Arabica: Arabica Blend for 11 Euro the Kilo.
3. Miscela Etiopia: for 12 Euro the Kilo.
4. MIscela Super-Bar: I didn’t catch the price, but probably 11-12 Euro the Kilo.
5. Miscela Colombia: 13 Euro the Kilo.
6. Miscela Costa Rica: 15 Euro the Kilo.
7. The American roasted coffee at 12 Euro the Kilo.
8. A decaf at 13 Euro the Kilo.
9. And a Tanzania Mix at 19 Euro the kilo.
As is usual here in Rome, they’re left out in open bins. The family that does all the roasting, both first, second and if you look at their Facebook page, third generation, know their coffee and the 2nd gen. roaster I was speaking to would have been able to tell me exactly where he got his coffee from. I was in a rush this evening so I didn’t, but he’s totally open about his primary materials, and knew his stuff. So nice!
I got this latter blend. This is what it looks like in their paper packaging:
It’s got a an interesting art deco traditional Italian coffee theme design, and the necessary info on it.
When I opened the bag, there was indeed a very light yet fragrant smell of coffee. Doesn’t happen very often with the open bin situation! The beans were roasted to a little after the first crack, and were dry, light and quite even in their shape and coloring. As you can see, this is a Tanzania mix of Arabica with Robusta beans (see below the mix).
They ground quite nice and didn’t feel like they were soaked in humidity.
After grinding they became a whole lot more fragrant. I didn’t sense any floral smells, but it opened up a caramel like scent.
Once in the portafilter of the Caravel Arrarex, they gave out quite a lot of crema which was persistent. It had a mix of colors owning to the mix, and the taste- it was decent.
It had a very smooth oil profile and was nowhere rancid. It was softly bitter and full of a caramel- chocolate taste.
It was really quite nice within the parameters of traditional Roman coffee profiles. Definitely one of the better traditional roasters.
Given their openness, their knowledge of what the hell they’re roasting, and the fact that they know what’s going on in the 3rd wave world, I think this is a great place to come and try a locally roasted coffee. Bravi!
Via Britannia 32