Although coffee did not originate in Rome, coffee culture can certainly be said to have originated there. There are no two ways about it, Rome is to a coffee lover what Brussels is to a beer connoisseur or Paris is to a wine enthusiast.
Rome And Coffee
The historical origin of coffee in Rome can be traced back to the period when coffee was first shipped to Venice from the Middle East, causing a fracas in the process and resulting in a ban on entering the port. Initially Islam preachers considered it on par with alcohol but later accepted it.
Coffee houses established themselves in Europe making coffee a drink of the aristocracy. However, with the rise in coffee plantations in European colonies, its increased availability decreased its price. Soon the drink achieved huge popularity and spread to the cities of Milan, Turin and Verona. Coffee consumption eventually spread to Rome and also the remaining peninsula.
When In Rome…
It is said that while in Rome, do as the Romans do. Therefore it is wise that you start calling coffee shops bars because that is what they are known as in Rome. The only place in Rome where you will be served coffee in a disposable cup is at the airport because at all other places coffee is never to be ordered as a drink to go, instead it is meant to be enjoyed at the bar as soon as it gets ready.
Here are some coffee facts every coffee lover visiting the coffee city of Rome should know:
1. In Rome, an espresso is a simple caffe.
2. Having it seated may cost you more than having it standing at the bar.
3. You may find your espresso very strong and bitter and may want to mellow it down by adding some milk foam. Order an Americano if you wish to have an equivalent of drip coffee.
4. In order to avoid appearing funny, do not order a latte or a cappuccino after 10 or 11 am because they are considered to be breakfast drinks.
5. If you want to have a latte, order a latte macchiato instead of simply latte because latte means milk and you may end up getting a glassful if you order just latte.
6. If you desire a little fun with coffee, order a caffe corretto, which is an espresso with a hint of alcohol in it; usually grappa or brandy.
All the above mentioned facts have contributed towards Rome’s strong coffee culture. Although it is impossible to find bad coffee in Rome, these three cafes will surely make it to the list of your favorites:
This is most likely the most famous of all bars in Rome with its mention in almost all tourist guides. The bar is close to the Pantheon, Rome’s most beautiful monument and provides great coffee. The secret recipe of this bar involves roasting over a wood burning oven, which the owner claims has been functional since 1948.
2. Tazza d’Oro
This bar is also close to the Pantheon and is one of the favorite haunts of tourists. Besides espresso and cappuccino, they are famous for their “La Regina dei Caffe” blend which is available in very appealing tin cans.
3. Antico Caffè Greco
This bar has been in service of coffee lovers since 1760 and has preserved its old world charm. Coffee here may cost you almost 5 times as much as anywhere else but the sight of a ceremonious waiter in a tuxedo taking your order while you are seated on plush velvet seat more than compensates for it. Their speciality is caffe freddo, a black, sweetened and diluted espresso which makes a perfect drink for a hot summer day.