Rating: Standard, upper range Illy coffee


This is one of those places that one passes by about 100 times and always puts a mental note saying ‘go in there next time’. The Caffetteria Genova is right off the Via Nazionale, and always buzzing with people. However, what kept me at bay was the big Illy Caffè sign on it’s façade. In my mind, it would be just another one of the hundreds of cafes serving this industrial stuff… was I wrong! Walking in, at about 10 to 8pm, the place was about to close and the barista had all the mornings fixings ready to go. It was the first time I saw this but he had an armada of saucers and spoons ready on the counter. Look below for the picture. Inside the dimmed light changed form blue to red to green to other psychedelic colors, it was nice. The low murmur of the TV and the sounds coming from a guy with a ultra petite dog added to the surreal experience. The barista was a nice guy, super calm, and was cleaning and putting everything in order. When I excused myself for getting a coffee a this hour he was obliging and saying that it’s totally fine.

This is what he gave me:

Presentation: When I saw the La San Marco lever machine, I hoped for the best, it was either going to be a crappy rancid cup, or something magical. It was the latter. Water was served immediately and without asking, and the cup was crisp, clean and new looking. The spoon was quite shiny.

Temperature of Cup: It was good, not hot, middle of the road, I could comfortably grasp it in my hands, bravo!

Quantity: The cup was large, but he espresso a good abundant 1 ounces (30ml). I was happy. No cutting corners, nor double shots at this hour.

Temperature: Ah… very good. It was warm, no the too hot side, but still nothing drastic and I could fully taste the espresso. We have a decent coffee here!

Volume/Consistency: It was like pouring smooth syrup in your mouth. It was rich, dense, creamy and full bodied. It had a consistency that quickly took presence in your mouth and made itself felt, like a thick hot coco.

Crema: It was dark tending towards the dark oak color, persistent, elastic and almost perfectly uniform. Made by extremely fine microglobules, this was decent. Exactly what a good lever machine shot should be.

Odor: Dark roasted coffee, no florals, no scents, but just the facts. It wasn’t too pungent, nor overpowering. Typical Roman coffee smell. The fact that it was present, I’ll take it!

Taste: It was a bitter smooth experience. It had a soft initial bite that crescendoed with each sip. It was never rancid, and went towards the nutty buttery side. I can take this, and the fact that it was deeply infused with oils made the whole quite excellent.

Overall: It was a very good Illy coffee. Not the very best Illy in town, nor the best Roman styled, but definitely upper range, definitely of quality, and definitely worth coming in for. Walked out of this place a very happy customer!

The setup: Well… look at it, it was a beautiful La San Marco lever machine, like the kind you see in almost every shop in Naples. The grinder was  a La Cimbali, and the coffee, yes, Illy Caffè.

Here’s a pic of his prep work for the morning coffee madness that characterizes Rome.

Caffetteria Genova SRL
Via Genova 11
00184 Roma

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