If the buck’s got a cross, the coffee’s got to be sweet
Coffee Consciousness III
I like like my coffee bitter. I am willing to mix it with milk (cappuccino’s are still a cornerstone of breakfast or a late morning snack), fuse it with chocolate or doctor it with cinnamon, but the only sweetness allowed comes mixed with cocoa butter. Sugar and sweeteners just seem to interfere with how that nutty toasted bitterness wakes my tongue and then the rest of me before the caffeine even kicks in. And since I don’t get much of a kick from caffeine (I have no problems sleeping after a late night espresso), I need all the flavor excitement I can get.
Saint Euch’s, of course is the exception that proves the rule.
Sant’Eustacchio “il Caffè” is hidden behind Palazzo Madama, the sixteenth century palazzo that houses Italy’s Senate, half way between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. It is hidden but not unknown – throngs of senators and staffers fill the small bar at peak hours and the few small steal and glass tables outside are often full of well-directed tourists.
In most places in Italy if you order and espresso, they’ll serve it bitter and you add sugar to taste. Sant’Eustacchio works the other way around because their fame is built on the sugary foam that fills the cups behind the old giant machines as they make them. How is it done? Hard to tell because they make sure it all happens out of sight.
It is not cheap. Table service is at a premium and even the stand-up espresso and it’s tasty foam comes at a premium on local bars. But just twenty cents witch you will stop fussing about, just as having to muscle up to the bar will seem less stressful after you sip it down and then scoop the remaining foam out with little spoons. Keep in mind that it won’t set you back much more than a high-street Starbucks; there are thousands of those around the world, but there are only eight little tables outside Saint Euch’s. And those eight tables are only in Rome.
Sant’Eustacchio selects, roasts and sells their own blends both as bean or powder, and make their own coffee based chocolates. When I’m away from central Rome I try to keep a little bag of their dark chocolate covered coffee beans.
Oh, a word of warning, tiny Piazza Sant’Eustacchio has two bars with similar names. The Camilloni di Sant’Eustaccio just a few feet closer to the Pantheon has much better pastries (the one thing the Sant’Eustacchio doesn’t do as well), good cappuccino’s and much more breathing space. If it’s breakfast I’m after – a cappuccino, a brioche and place to flip through the morning paper with a friend – that’s where I’d rather be.
I can always hop over to Sant’ Eustacchio “il Caffè” on my way back to the office.
- Joshua Lawrence
What does the buck with the cross have to do with all this? Piazza Sant’Eustacchio gets it’s name from the little chuc
hat has been there for about a thousand years. The symbol of saint is a stag with cross rising out from be
tween the horns and it adorns both the church and boxes and bags of ground coffee and coffee themed chocolates from “il Caffè”.
of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on carbonara.wordpress.com