My trip to Rome at the start of the month was, as might be expected given Rome’s espresso culture, dominated by espresso. I also didn’t help myself, visiting the likes of Tazza D’Oro and near-neighbour, Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè. That said, if you look hard enough, you can find pour-over, usually hand-in-hand with speciality coffee. Most prominent of the places I visited was Faro, the self-proclaimed first speciality coffee shop in Rome. Pour-over was also on offer at The Tram Depot, although when we ordered some one evening we were told that the barista who knew how to do pour-over had gone home. To the staff’s credit, they didn’t want to serve us badly-made coffee, so politely declined (we had espresso instead).
Perhaps the most surprising find was Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria. A few minutes’ walk from the hotel my friend Amanda and I were staying at, we became daily visitors, enjoying single-origin espressos from Laboratorio Di Torrefazione Giamaica Caffè, along with some excellent patisserie. It was only on our fourth visit that I noticed V60s nestling alongside the bags of coffee, which is when I realised that Roscioli serves pour-over too. That evening we naturally popped back to order some…
You can see what we found after the gallery.
There’s not much to Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria (for a full description, see its main entry). Long and thin, a counter runs the length of the right-hand wall, where you take your espresso standing up in the true Italian fashion. There’s also a small, windowless back room (which is much nicer than I’m making it sound). This has a U-shaped table which seats 10 and there’s often a wait. It’s used for meals (breakfast and lunch) while in the evening it morphs into a bar, also serving dinner.
We weren’t sure if we’d be able to order pour-over at the busy counter, so we went to the back room, which was almost empty. We explained to the waiter that we wanted pour-over and he suggested that we return to counter where we could order and get the barista to come and make it at our table.
I did that just, and was presented with a choice of four single-origins, three from Firenze’s Ditta Artigianale and one from Le Piantagioni del Caffè, which I’d come across at The Tram Depot. I ordered two (one each), a Panama Geisha from Finca Hartmann (Diita Artigianale) and, because we’d missed out at The Tram Depot, the San Luis from El Salvador (Le Piantagioni del Caffè). Our barista duly arrived at the table in the back room, along with scales, V60, kettle and the hopper from the grinder, first offering the ground coffee for us to smell.
He started with the Geisha, the more delicate of the two, describing each step of the process, and also explaining why it was necessary. This included first rinsing the filter paper and pre-warming the carafe. Then it was onto the first pour, leaving time for the coffee to bloom, followed by a single main pour. He also told us the recipe (17g of coffee, with 150g of water for 1½ minutes, followed by 250g, stopping the extraction at 2½ minutes). He also explained why the water was at 93⁰C rather than boiling (it would scald the coffee).
Our coffee was served in a carafe on the table, along with a pair of cups, and while we were enjoying it, our barista returned with the second coffee, which he prepared in the same fashion. Both coffees were excellent, but with contrasting flavours. The Geisha was beautiful, very delicate and floral (we had some biscuits with it, but didn’t touch them in case it ruined the flavour). The El Salvador was much more robust (so naturally we then scoffed the biscuits, which were excellent). It had a huge, fruity kick when we smelled the ground coffee, which carried through to the brewed cup. This was deeper in both colour and flavour, producing a more rounded cup.
When we returned the following afternoon, our final visit, the barista remembered us. Amanda ordered another V60 of the El Salvador, which was once again made in front of us, this time on the counter-top, which drew plenty of questions from the other customers. Once again it was excellent.
We enjoyed both the coffee and the experience. I’ve always found the spectacle of pour-over to be as much fun as the coffee itself, although sadly too many shops hide it away from the customer. I wish more would take a leaf out of Roscioli’s book!
December 2018: Pour-over at Roscioli Caffè was a runner-up for the 2018 Best Saturday Supplement Award.
|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||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|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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