This is the fifth post in the Spontaneous Weekend Trip to Rome Series. Other posts in this series include: Dal Paino Pizzeria in Rome, Etabli, Il Convivio, and Ciuri Ciuri Pasticceria Gelateria Siciliana
We were desperately running out of time.
Our flight out of Rome was at 1:30 PM in the afternoon. Since it was an international flight, we really needed to get to the airport by around 10:30AM, maybe 11 at the latest if we wanted to risk things.
Yet I really, really wanted to try to visit one last place before leaving this beautiful city.
After some diligent research the night before, I had concluded that Cafe Sant Eustachio near the Pantheon (which, interestingly, is also where many of the best gelato places reside), had the best coffee is Rome.
It was a 25-minute walk away (yes, we walked everywhere), near the Pantheon.
We only had one hour.
"Should we go for it? It's really tight." said Bryan, the organized, always-on-time, gets-stressed-when-we're-late kinda guy.
"Let's go!" I said, the spontaneous, always-running-late, trying-to-squeeze-too-much-out-of-life kind of gal.
And we were off, power-walking like we'd never done before in the quest for incredible coffee.
The process for buying coffee in Italy is a little different than at most places. It's a bit confusing if you don't know what's going on (which we did not!), especially if the place is packed.
First, go to the counter (on the right side of the store) and order what you want. You pay first and they print out a receipt for you.
Then stand in a second line at the coffee bar and wait for a barista to be available. Hand him your paid receipt, and then he makes your drink to order.
The only question they ask is whether you want sugar or not. Apparently one of their signature things is that they put a lop of sugar on the bottom of the cup.
I'm not sure how secret their method is, but it sure seems secret. The whole process is hidden behind this big barrier, so you really can't see what they are doing at all.
If you want to feel like a local, stand at the counter and drink your coffee. It costs less this way, and seems to be the way most Romans enjoy their coffee.
We tried both the signature "Gran Cafe" (a larger espresso) and "Gran Cappuccino" (larger, creamier cappuccino).
Both drinks were excellent, though I couldn't get past the sugar at the bottom. I realize I had a choice when ordering, but there was a part of me that wanted to try the coffee the special way in which they made it. I soon realized I prefer my espresso basically black, and my cappuccino only barely sweetened.
For a souvenir, we purchased a sealed can of Sant Eustachio beans to take back to the US with us. It would be one of the few souvenirs we brought back.
I definitely plan on grinding these beans and trying to make some espresso at home, sans sugar.
Can't wait. If nothing else, it will temporarily bring me back to Rome.
Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé
82 00186, Rome, Italy.
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