Italy and coffee go together like Caesar and Cleopatra. Or actually even better. Because neither of them chooses someone else at the end of the day – they are and remain inseparable.
Coffee can almost be seen as a trademark of the Italian people, alongside pizza or ice cream. Therefore, it is actually relatively difficult to drink bad coffee in Rome. But to make sure you only get “pure coffee”, this article provides helpful information about Italian coffee culture and five café tips.
The selected cafés are a mix of well-known places and insider tips with a central location.
WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD KNOW!
Italian coffee culture is unique. Although Italians usually take their time, coffee drinking is a “quickie” – fast, efficient, but still with a lot of passion and enjoyment. There are certain rules of behavior and “no-gos” that tourists should also be aware of:
If you order "coffee" in Italy, you will be served an espresso, not a filtered coffee. If you do want a diluted coffee, then the correct term is "Caffè Americano."
One does not drink a milky coffee (Cappuccino) after lunch or dinner. Milk is considered to be heavy on the digestion and may counteract the digestive process.
Usually, in coffee bars, you pay for your coffee at the cash register first, then place your order at the counter, and drink it while standing there.
Coffee (espresso) is very affordable. On average, the price is around one euro. However, there are still cafes in Rome where you can pay 90 cents. If you choose to sit down, there is generally an additional charge for the service or table service.
As "bar" is not referring to a pub but rather a café, bistro, or coffeehouse.
Coffee-to-go is now available in Italy but is not recommended. Since coffee drinking is seen as a "quick affair," it is always served at the right drinking temperature.
Around the Pantheon you find Caffè Tazza d’Oro. And indeed, there is a good reason why this café is mentioned as a “must-do” on various platforms. It not only boasts a great location and value for money, but also offers top-notch service and excellent coffee. That’s why even the locals come here for their espresso.
If you enjoy the coffee, you can also buy it freshly packed to take away (ground, as whole beans, or even as Nespresso machine-compatible capsules). If you happen to visit outside of regular opening hours, there’s no issue: a coffee vending machine has been installed on the facade, which even sells coffee beans.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Sunday 10:30 am to 7:00 pm
Address: Via degli Orfani, 84
TIP 1 LA CASA DEL CAFFÈ TAZZA D’ORO
Even if the coffee here might not be as good as our other 4 recommendations, this bar must still be mentioned because they have a very special concept. In this bar, when ordering at the counter, you must choose between two options: either the classic version (originating from the South), where the coffee is already sweetened with sugar during preparation, or the unsweetened version. If you’re already there, be sure to choose the “sugar version”! This is the only way to fully extract the aroma of these coffee beans.
If you find a long queue there, don’t worry! Around Sant’Eustachio, there are other bars that also serve excellent coffee without the queue and tourist surcharge.
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 7.30 a.m. to 1.00 a.m. Friday 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 a.m. Saturday 7.30 a.m. to 2.00 a.m.
Address: Piazza di S. Eustachio, 82
Tip 2 Sant' Eustachio
If you fancy a coffee after visiting the Vittoriano or the Capitoline Museums, head to Bar Campidoglio. You might not believe it, but the coffee here is really good. It follows the motto: Not impressive from the outside, but excellent on the inside. This is confirmed by many locals who have their daily breakfast here: enjoying a Cappuccino or Caffè with a Cornetto while standing at the counter.
By the way, it’s not only the case with Bar Campidoglio, but often with other bars as well. So, just go inside and give it a try.
Opening Hours: Open 24/7
Address: Piazza d’Aracoeli, 11
Tip 3 Bar Campidoglio
If you’re walking from the Colosseum to the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli or heading to Monti (by the way, there are great places in Monti for a cozy aperitivo), you’ll pass by Bar del Mosé. You might not recognize it immediately, as the bar is quite unassuming in the corner building, and the tables are tucked away in the shade of small bushes.
The interior is a bit dark, but it’s really nice and quiet outside. So, order and pay inside, then sit outside. By the way, their lunch is good too. They daily offer freshly cooked lunch menus, but only “while supplies last.”
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 6:15 AM to 8:30 PM Closed on Sundays
Address: Largo della Polveriera, 35
Tip 4 Bar del Mosé
This coffee bar is located near Circo Massimo on Via Aventino in the direction of the Pyramid. It’s a bar that’s not mentioned in any travel guide, not a tourist hotspot, but it offers incredibly good coffee. Not only that, but you’ll also find a selection of excellent cakes and pastries. So, you can do what we like to do in the North, “have a coffee gathering with cake.” 🙂
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM Sunday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Address: Viale Aventino, 91/93
Tip 5 Casa Manfredi
If you want to learn more about Italian coffee, I recommend this culinary tour through Rome. You might even come across some of the cafés we’ve mentioned here.
Culinary Tour Espresso, Tiramisu, and Gelato Duration: 2.5 hours Guided tour in English Starting from EUR 54
Italians love to express their “special requests.” For example, an espresso in a glass with a bit of cold frothy milk.
Here’s a list of various coffee specialities you might want to try:
Caffè – Espresso Macchiato – Espresso with frothed milk (an “espresso stained” with milk) Doppio – Double Espresso Lungo – Espresso with double the amount of water Ristretto – Espresso with very little water Americano – Espresso with much more water Al Vetro – Espresso in a glass Shakerato – Espresso shaken with ice cubes Corretto – Espresso with a high-proof alcohol Con latte freddo/caldo – with a bit of cold/warm milk Caffè latte – (lots of milk, lots of coffee) Cappuccino – Coffee with milk and milk froth Latte macchiato – Literally “stained milk” (lots of milk, a little coffee) Affogato – Espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream