I’ll be honest: I came to Rome largely for the architecture and history, not for the speciality coffee. That said, I did have a small list, top of which was one of two places that people consistently mentioned to me: Faro, which styles itself as Rome’s first speciality coffee shop. Located north of Rome’s Termini station, it’s a little off the beaten track (about a 30 minute walk east of the historic centre), but definitely worth the detour.
Faro lives up to the billing, with a staggering 16 choices of coffee during my visit, all single-origins, two of which were espresso only, with the remaining 14 (which included one decaf) available as espresso or filter through either V60 or Aeropress. The beans, which came from seven different roasters across Italy, Germany and Denmark, are also available to buy in retail bags. In true Italian style, you can drink your coffee standing up at the counter, or you can take a seat and your coffee will be brought to you.
If you’re hungry, Faro has a concise brunch menu which is served until 15:30 every day, backed up by some excellent pastries and cakes, prepared in a kitchen behind the counter.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Faro is at the northern end of the Via Piave, just south of the Porta Salaria, part of the 3rd century walls built by Emperor Aurelian. On the eastern side of the street, where the pavement broadens considerably, the left-hand wall faces along the pavement, giving it the feel of being on a corner. Inside, it’s roughly rectangular, the long side on Via Piave, punctuated by central, glass double doors, flanked by two tall, narrow, arched windows.
Step inside, however, and Faro loses its symmetry, largely because the back, right-hand corner is missing, the right-hand wall running back at an angle of about 30⁰. There’s a counter here, starting at the right-hand window, running all the way to the back wall, where it turns and continues a short way. A La Marzocco Linea with its two grinders (a Mazzer for the house espresso and an EK-43 for everything else) is at the far, right-hand end of the counter, with the pour-over tucked away on the back wall behind the espresso machine.
The rest of this section of the counter is given over, in true Italian style, for those who wish to stand to take their espresso/cappuccino (and a fair few did during my visit, while even those who sat down hardly ever lingered). The remainder, formed by the short section along the back wall, is directly opposite the door, containing the till, where you pay when you leave. You’ll also find the cakes and pastries here. A hatch in the wall behind the counter looks into the kitchen, while to the left are the retail shelves.
The seating, with the exception of one small two-person bar at the end of the counter, just to the right of the door, is off to the left, starting with two rows of tables, running front-to-back. Each starts with a small, three-person square table against the front wall, followed by a four-person table, then, at the back, another three-person table. Beyond the rows of tables, a four-person window-bar occupies a large, tall window in the left-hand wall, followed by another two-person table in the back-left corner.
Finally, a tall, open doorway in the back wall between the two-person table and the retail shelves leads to the windowless back room. This is slightly misaligned, slanting to the left by maybe 15⁰, containing a solitary, large, eight-person communal table with high stools.
Faro has a large, espresso-based menu behind the counter, but that’s where the fun starts. Ask for the choice of beans and you’ll be handed an eight-page menu, with two single-origins per page. This includes, at the back, two options only available on espresso: the house espresso and another from Caffè Italia in Rome. I had this, the Rancho Sao Benedito, a pulped natural from Brazil, a somewhat fruity coffee with hints of acidity, which I paired with a fat, round pastry packed full of patisserie cream which was excellent, albeit extremely messy.
The remaining 14 single-origins, which includes a decaf, are available as espresso or filter. These include four each from Copenhagen’s April Coffee Roasters and Berlin’s The Barn, three from Ditta Artigianale (Firenze) and one each from Gardelli (Forli), D612 Coffee Roasters (Firenze) and Five Elephant Coffee (Berlin).
I selected the Chelelektu, a naturally-processed heirloom from Ethiopia as a V60. Served in a carafe with a large wine glass on the side, it came with some advice to take my time and enjoy it. It smelled really great, although the coffee was slightly more muted than I was expecting, but with a wonderful fruity taste. As advised, I took my time, playing with the temperature of the coffee in both the carafe and the glass, the coffee becoming fruitier as it cooled, rewarding me for my patience.
|55 VIA PIAVA • ROME • 00187 • ITALY|
|www.farorome.com||+39 06 4281 5714|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cakes|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||7th November 2018|
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