Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria

A single espresso in a classic cup at Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria in Rome.I’m pretty good at picking hotels that are close to excellent coffee. On my recent trip to Montréal, my hotel  was chosen for its proximity to Paquebot Mont-Royal, while my hotel in Tokyo was close to multiple great coffee shops, including Lattest and Stockholm Roast. However, when it came to Rome, the only criteria was how close it was the various historical sights. The fact that it was under 10 minutes from the best coffee in the city turned out to be entirely coincidental.

Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria is part of a small group which includes a restaurant/deli, bakery, and this, a coffee shop and patisserie, which also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus wine and cocktails, in a small room at the back. I suspect that for most, the sumptuous cakes, pastries and tarts are the main draw, but it also happens that the coffee, from Laboratorio Di Torrefazione Giamaica Caffè in Verona, is the best I’ve had on this trip. There are two blends and a single-origin on espresso, plus multiple single-origins on pour-over.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Blink and you might miss it: Roscioli Caffè's narrow entrance on Piazza Benedetto Cairoli.
  • This is pretty much the full width (and height) of Roscioli Caffè, with the door on the left.
  • On the right is a neat chalk borad, with a tall, narrow window beyond that.
  • Inside, the layout is very simple, with a counter down the right-hand side...
  • ... which is usually packed with customers.
  • Typically you stand at the counter, but there are some bar chairs for those that want them.
  • However, there's more. Down a short, narrow corridor at the back on the left-hand side...
  • ... you'll find a roughly cube-shaped, cosy back room with a U-shaped table.
  • This seats two at the top, and four down either side. This is where you come for meals...
  • ... and in the evening to enjoy the well-stocked bar.
  • During my vist, the walls were covered with these photos, all with their mouths taped over.
  • There's also a menu back here, one of the few I saw.
  • While the back room is nice, I recommend finding a spot at the counter if you want coffee.
  • There are some nice touches, including these candles, which come out in the evneing.
  • A series of chalk boards behind the counter provide info.. This reminds you where you are.
  • Meanwhile, here's a reminder that you can get food...
  • ... while next to it, at the far end, you have directions for the cocktails above the tea.
  • There's also a reminder of the pastry side of Roscioli.
  • Talking of which, here's some of the selection.
  • Roscioli has a glass-topped counter, with all the cakes, pastries, etc, stored below it...
  • ... running the full length of the counter, so wherever you are, you're tempted.
  • Finally, at the far end, Roscioli ran out of space, so had to build a two-tier display case...
  • ... packed with even more cakes. And as if that wasn't enough, as well as the individual...
  • ... cakes, pastries, etc, there are also larger cakes which you can have slices of.
  • The coffee operation is at the front, behind the till...
  • ... above which you'll find a menu board, which gives the standard espresso options.
  • These are an African blend and a single-origin Guatemalan, plus, I believe, decaf.
  • These are kept in three grinders right at the front, behind the till...
  • ... while on the other side of the espresso machine, there's a fourth grinder with the...
  • ... Mamma Mia blend from Ditta Artigianale in Florence.
  • Talking of which, here's the espresso machine. It's an interesting beast...
  • ... with three conventional E61 group heads, flanked by a pair of lever groups.
  • Most of the time, the E61 groups are used...
  • ... but on the odd rare occasion, such as this one...
  • ... the one of the levers is put into action, although I never could tell when/why.
  • There is, by the way, pour-over, with four single-origins on offer.
  • However, it took me a while to discover that option. On my first visit, I was there for...
  • ... a quick lunch, going for a mozzarella and spinach sandwich and an espresso.
  • A very common sight in Italy: a saucer on the counter, the promise of a cup of coffee...
  • ... which, in this case, was an espresso.
  • I was back the following day with my friend Amanda, when we had a pair of espressos...
  • ... made with the Guatemalan single-origin.
  • The next day, Sunday, we switched to the African blend, Amanda having a cappuccino.
  • My espresso.
  • We also sampled one of the pastries (one of the little ones).
  • We were back the following day and back on the Guatemalan single-origin.
  • Here's our coffee, admiring the espresso machine.
  • Tuesday morning and the promise of more coffee...
  • ... plus the reality of more pastries.
  • We were back on the African blend, and, once again, Amanda had a cappuccino...
  • ... while I had a double shot (doppio espresso).
  • Roscioli has an interesting approach to Americanos. If, like these people, you order one...
  • ... you'll get a jug of hot water so that you can dilute your coffee to your satisfaction.
  • Someone else's cappuccino: check out that latte art!
  • Finally, we were back on our last day (post publication) for some more pastries...
  • ... and for me to try the Mamma Mia blend. Meanwhile, Amanda ordered...
  • ... a pour-over, but that's another story.
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There’s not much to Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria which is on Piazza Benedetto Cairoli in the heart of Rome, just south of the Campo de Fiori and Largo di Torre Argentina. Long and thin, the door is on the left, with a tall, narrow window on the right. Inside, the counter runs along the right-hand wall, the till followed by row-upon-row of cakes. Three grinders are on the wall behind the till, next to a hybrid espresso machine, with lever groups at either end, flanking three convention E61 group heads. Despite multiple visits, I never did work out which group was used for what.

The principle method of taking your coffee (and, indeed, any cakes or sandwiches, plus wine in the evening) is standing at the counter, at whatever spot you can find, where there’s maybe room for 10 at most. In theory I think you pay at the till, then present your ticket, much as at Tazza D’Oro, but in practice, most people just order at the counter, then pay on leaving.

If you want to sit down, a narrow passage at the back leads to a small, windowless room. This has a bar against the right-hand wall and a U-shaped table, the open end against the bar. This seats 10, four down either side, with two at the end opposite the bar. There’s often a wait, so you might need to be patient, although unless you’re eating, I recommend standing at the counter, even though it’s lovely in the back room.

When it comes to coffee, Roscioli has three options on espresso, serving single shots by default, although you can order a double (doppio). If you don’t specify, you’ll get the African Blend (Miscela Afribon) in the morning, while after lunch, the default is the single-origin Guatemalan, both from Laboratorio Di Torrefazione Giamaica Caffè in Verona, a new roaster for me. You can, of course, specify which you want at any time of the day, as well as choosing another blend, Mamma Mia from Ditta Artigianale.

My first visit was on Friday, when I had a very quick mozzarella and spinach sandwich, plus an espresso. However, I wasn’t really paying attention and it was only when my friend Amanda and I returned the following day for our morning espressos that I started making notes. We ordered the Guatemalan, which was gorgeous, a fruity, well-balanced espresso. Even Amanda, who isn’t an habitual espresso drinker, was impressed, drinking it without any sugar.

We enjoyed our visit so much that we returned every day thereafter, alternating the Miscela Afribon with the Guatemalan, while on the second day, Amanda switched to cappuccinos. Our combined consensus is that both are excellent, with the Miscela Afribon slightly stronger and more bitter. Although both work well on their own and in milk, we agreed that the Guatemalan was better as an espresso, while preferring the Miscela Afribon as a cappuccino, its flavour standing up well to the milk.

Finally, I tried the Mamma Mia, a low acidity blend. It was very fruity, but I felt it lacked balance and was too bright for my palate, preferring the other options. By this point, I had also noticed, on the wall behind the till, various V60s amongst the bags of coffee, leading to the discovery that Roscioli does pour-over, but that’s another tale

16 PIAZZA BENEDETTO CAIROLI • ROME • 00186 • ITALY
www.rosciolicaffe.com +39 06 8916 5330
Monday 07:00 – 23:00 Roaster Giamaica Caffè + Guests (espresso) + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 23:00 Seating Counter, Table
Wednesday 07:00 – 23:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 23:00 Service Counter, Table
Friday 07:00 – 23:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 23:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 18:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 9th – 14th November 2018

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  1. Pingback: When in Rome… | Brian's Coffee Spot

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