A tale of two coffee houses

Caffè Sant’Eustachio and Tazza D’Oro in Rome are famous among locals and tourists for making some of the best espresso in the city—or, in the centro storico, at least. Is it true? I’ve been to both coffee houses in the past, and remembered that I loved the coffee, but when we were in Rome for Alex’s baptism, I knew it was time to revisit these two cafés located near the Pantheon.

A little background: Caffè Sant’Eustachio was founded in 1938 and slow roasts its fair trade Arabica coffee beans over wood. Tazza D’Oro was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and moved to its present location in 1946. Today, their claim to fame is the use of an “ecological” roasting machine that maintains the traditional method of roasting the coffee beans but does not expel polluted air.  The major difference that tourists may see, however, is that Caffè Sant’Eustachio continues to serve its cup of espresso pre-sugared (unless you request otherwise).

Sampling the espresso at Sant'Eustachio

I always thought I preferred Caffè Sant’Eustachio, but this time Tazza D’Oro won the prize. Don’t get me wrong—both serve delicious espresso, rich, dark and slightly creamy (Caffe’ Sant’Eustachio even tasted like it had foam on top, but it was just the result of how expertly the espresso was poured), but, of the two cafés, Tazza D’Oro offers a more economical cup of joe. The espresso was surprisingly cheap in price, but not in flavor. It only cost 1 euro for a cappuccino compared to 1.20 at most bars in Pesaro. An espresso was only 80 euro cents—truly, “a cup of gold” well worth the price. Not to mention that you’re right around the corner from the Pantheon which is a perfect place to hang out and people watch.

Tazza D'Oro

I bought two bags of ground espresso from both cafés and plan to try them out soon. I’ll of course report my findings!

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2 Responses to A tale of two coffee houses

  1. Neil says:

    Great blog, and great post. Having just returned from Italy and visited Caffe Sant’Eustachio, I have to say that I was left surprisingly underwhelmed. I went in hoping to try their famous and secret sweetening method, and ordered two espressos from the waiter (we sat outside). We got espressos that, while pretty good, were clearly lacking any sugar. It was only after we left that I read that if you sit outside and order from the waiter, they apparently bring the sugar to you separately unless you specifically ask for it in the coffee. If you order inside, they mix it in unless you specifically ask for it without sugar. Strange – but I’m going to have to return to Rome and try again!

  2. Hi Neil–glad you like the blog! Sounds like a disappointing experience at Caffe’ Sant’Eustachio…when my husband and his mom sat outside a couple of years ago, they charged him 8 euros for 2 cappuccinos! Pretty outrageous.

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