Slow coffee in Rome. Sant’Eustachio

SURREAL GENERATION had the pleasure to be invited for breakfast at the legendary Roman coffee bar Sant’Eustachio. Over a cup of espresso, we had a conversation with Raimondo, the owner, about the culture of coffee, its history, and the life-long passion for it.

 “Why do people spend time choosing a restaurant, when they want to have dinner out, but to have a coffee they just head to a random nearby bar?” – This question, spanned by Raimondo, got stuck in my head.

“Coffee has been trivialized. I wish one day restaurants will offer a coffee cart to their guests, as they offer a wine cart nowadays. And I wish people will have preferences in coffee as they have in wine”, he added.

Drinking coffee has become an unconscious mechanical gest that has nothing in common with appreciating the taste. Most people don’t even know what kind of coffee they drink, where it comes from, where, and how it was roasted. Unfortunately, they are not able to understand if the coffee is good or bad. They just drink it quickly, like a shot. Sometimes killing its taste with sugar, milk, or water.

The Roman bar Sant’Eustachio represents the culture of conscious coffee drinking. The culture of slow coffee, in other words. You can be sure that all the steps the coffee passed from the plantation to the cup in your hands have met the criteria of respect for nature and labor.

Sant’Eustachio il caffe (the full name of the bar) is located on the nice eponymous square in the center of Rome, very near Pantheon and Piazza Navona. It’s not specifically on a touristic path, therefore the atmosphere is always quiet. The place where Sant’Eustachio is located today hosted another bar since the 1800s. Sant’Eustachio opened its doors for Romans in 1938 and soon became very popular, owing to its ultra-modern interior. The current owners have run the bar since 1999.

For decades the team traveled to South America to select the best coffee from local producers. As a result of this research, 100% Arabica coffee beans from small cooperatives in Brasil, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, and the islands of St. Elena and the Galapagos are now directly imported to Sant’Eustachio. After a long trip to Italy, fresh coffee beans are wood-roasted with all the delicacy and care to take the best from their taste and aroma and keep the sweetness – a characteristic which distinguishes good coffee.

Coffee at Sant’Eustachio has a mild, though rich taste. Try it without adding milk or sugar to understand what the sweetness is: the drink is pleasant in its purity, it leaves a soft aftertaste you’d like to enjoy for a while.

Moreover, their espresso has lower caffeine content – just 40 mg. a cup. Normally, a cup of espresso in a bar contains from 50 to 80 mg. So you can indulge in the pleasure of drinking another cup.

Sant’Eustachio is a must-visit spot for coffee-lovers and those who wonder why so many people call it the best bar in Rome.

Apart from great coffee, this bar is worth visiting as it is one of the places where locals go. If you enjoy watching scenes of daily life on trips abroad as I do, take a seat at a table outside and enjoy the show.

Last but not least: the idea of creating capsule coffee was born at Sant’Eustachio. Eric Favre, the founder of Nespresso, popped into the bar for a coffee. He liked it so much that asked the bartender, how he made it. The guy answered: “I just press a button”. And voila, now millions of people press coffee machine buttons in their kitchens. 

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