Rating: Standard, mid to upper range Roman coffee
In the Rione IX Pigna neighborhood of Rome, in the labyrinthic streets, you find an opening in the wall with a nice solid frame. And voila, there you have the San Marcello Bar Caffè. Like all cafes here in Rome, they offer something to eat, serving java alone doesn’t pay the bills. It was chock full of local Romans, and it had an air of fun and good vibes. It had an additional room, for people to sit at and have lunch if they wanted. The bar was full of folk having their coffee, and two young baristas were kicking out the brew.
I paid first and put my ticket on the counter, this is what I got:
Presentation: Nice clean sharp cup. A cup of water came with the coffee immideately and without asking. All was in order, not dirtiness nor grime. We’re off to a good start.
Temperature of Cup: It was hot, not boiling, borderline. We’re in a traditional Roman cafe here…
Quantity: It was short, a bit below an ounce – good as the cup gives ample space to just fill ’er up.
Temperature: The espresso itself was a bit too warm for my tastes, it was borderline too hot and I had to give it some time to try. I didn’t want to risk burning my tongue.
Volume/Consistency: Nice surprise. It was smooth, very smooth, creamy and yet very light. Not heavy, nor thin either. Very balanced with a nice thickness to its profile.
Crema: The crema was uniform, showing great extraction, on the darker side of things, thin and perfectly made of microglobules. It wasn’t persistent. In the first few sips it did indeed add to the experience, but then I appear to have had it all and the drink still kept its volume profile.
Odor: Dark roasted smell, not pungent, but not floral. Typical dark roast smell. But I’ll take it!
Taste: It was a smooth gradual crescendo of bitterness. It never got rancid, and after my mouth got used to the level of bitterness the taste buds started sensing a nutty, buttery taste. This is as much ‘flavor’ one gets from a decent Roman espresso.
Overall: It was a very good and mid to upper end Roman espresso. The atmosphere of the locale made it a pleasure to stand there for a few minutes and hear on the chatter of locals complaining about work, and what not.
The setup: They had a Fiorenzato machine that was facing inwards so I couldn’t get the model. The grinder I didn’t spy, but the coffee is one that I haven’t run into that much lately, it’s Gran Caffè Santos, Roasted in the vicinity of Rome and one of the better roasters here. While very dark, their coffee is usually very decent, rich, nutty and lots of oils in the cup.
Bar San Marcello Caffè
B & B Food SRL
Via San Marcello 37-38
Tel. 06 6992 3315