Caffè: When in Rome

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The Art of Espresso is well-documented in Roman cafés. Order a tiny cup, guzzle, head out the door. But what if you want to soak in the flavor of a place? Here are Four Caffè you’d do well not to miss when in Rome.

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Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè

Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè has been a Roman institution since 1938. Historic, laidback, simple yet elegant, this caffè brings the best beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic to your taste buds. Probably one of Rome’s most famous coffee bars, drawing the throngs of tourists and once, the likes of Henry Kissinger and Mikhail Gorbachev, this coffee is still well worth a stop. The staff roasts the beans in a wood-burning stove that’s been operating since 1948. If you’ve a sweet tooth, baristas will add a touch of the saccharine to your coffee in the form of a sweet, frothy foam.

Piazza Sant’Eustachio 82.

Antigua Tazza d’Oro

Antigua Tazza d’Oro is a well-respected café just a few feet from the Pantheon. Open since 1946, they claim to have an award-winning taste, among the best in the world. Grab an espresso or order a slushy granita al caffè. If it’s a souvenir you’re after, take home a tin can of roasted coffee beans.

Via degli Orfani 84.

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Antico Caffè Greco

Open in 1760, Antico Caffè Greco is one of hte oldest coffeeshops in Europe. And it seems to have lost none of its lustrous Renaissance charm. Order a cold caffè fredo on a hot August day from a very ceremonious waiter in formal tux. This caffè boasts an illustrious clientele, from Goethe, Stendhal, Casanova, Wagner, Keats, Byron and dozens more. Don’t miss the 300 works of art on the walls – the largest private gallery open to the public – all available for admiration at the cost of a cup of espresso.

Via dei Condotti 86.

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Panella

Though its claim to fame lies in its delicate pastries, from baklava to amuse-bouches, this coffeeshop charms visitors and locals alike with an outdoor patio dressed in colorful flowers. Though of course you can’t leave without indulging in at least a croissant, it’s best paired with a caffè con panna.

Via Merulana 54.

The Italian Glossary of Coffees

Caffè Corretto: shot of espresso with a small amount of liquor—usually grappa, sometimes sambuco or brandy.

Caffè: Take note, when you want an espresso in Italy, order “un caffè.” Most Italians drink an espresso with a touch of a sweetener.

Caffè Americano: A espresso that’s been watered down slightly and served in a larger cup. The closest thing you’ll get to a cup of Joe in Rome.

Doppio: It’s what it sounds like — double espresso, two shots in a slightly larger cup.

Freddo: Any coffee drink that is served cold or cool.

Granita: The delicious granita di caffè is blended ice with coffee and milk.

Hag: This is a shortcut term for decaf coffee. Also un deca.

Latte: Note that in Italy, latte just means milk—so if you order a latte at a bar, you’ll get—guess what? A glass of cold milk. Order a caffè latte and you’ll get closer to a tall glass of steamed milk, with a small shot of espresso.

Lungo: A caffè lungo is partly Americano, partly espresso. It’s like a cup of espresso that is topped with hot water run through coffee grounds. Something akin to a strong cup of coffee.

Macchiato: This word derives from the Italian “stained,” and in essence this drink is a shot of espresso stained with a drop of hot milk.

Marocchino: This little cup of heaven is the best of all worlds—a small shot of espresso, a sprinkle of cacao powder, and a layer of foamed milk.

Panna: If you want a dollop of whipped cream, any type of caffè con panna will get you your creamy fix.

Scuro: Scuro means dark, and at an Italian bar, it means a little less milk than usual. If you like your coffee with cream just a bit more on the coffee side, this is the specialty to go for.

Ristretto: I’ve seen this item on some Portland bars, and it means the same in Italy – a single shot of espresso with less what than traditional.

Caffè d’orzo: A coffee substitute that nevertheless isn’t that close to coffee flavor. Made from barley, it is treated kind of like chicory is in the USA. A non-coffee coffee option.

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