La Casa del Caffe Tazza d’Oro

A complete change of scenery for this one. I was wandering alone round Rome, trying to make sense of the maze which were the streets of the historic centre – in the rain. Yes, rain! In August, in Rome! I wasn’t fazed by it though, as later on the day turned out to be glorious, and the rainfall was rather pleasant considering the scorching temperatures that preceded it.

So there I was, covering my head with a jumper (I needed it to enter the Basilica earlier that morning – remember about the strict dress code I mentioned?), having just left the Pantheon for the second time during my stay, looking up the walls for street names and down to my map for orientation, when I suddenly saw it, bang, just before me: Tazza d’Oro. It was hard to miss it, really, as it’s a pretty big establishment, with several entrances and impressive signage snailing all the way around the building. I dreaded the weather in that moment, because the place looked heaving inside – probably with people looking for shelter.

At the time still not accustomed to the Italian ways, I came up to the barista by the espresso machine and asked if they made coffee with chocolate.

“Yes, marocchino, I can make that for you,” and after a few seconds of consternation on both sides, he added: “Just pay by the till and bring the receipt.”

I felt like doing the so called facepalm when I made my way to the opposite end of the shop to get to the cashier and pay for my coffee. I came back to a closer barista, as they had a few coffee machines on the ready – whilst a dozen of customers already served was sitting on the scarce seats dotted by the walls, leaving me to savour my coffee standing. Not for the last time, of course.

Marrochino at Tazza d’Oro

As I was advised by the cashier, my coffee would have cinnamon in it – and it definitely did. Again, despite the minimalistic dimensions, there were many taste sensations to be discovered inside the espresso-sized cup. There was strong coffee, some delicate milk, slightly powdery but sweet cocoa and the cinnamon spice finish. Although, as with Caffe Greco, I experienced a mini-shock when diving into the intense espresso, it was then nicely rounded up by the other complimentary flavours, making for a few minutes of great digestive pleasure.

Tazza d’Oro is considered one of the best cafes in Rome – after all, the proximity to the Pantheon (literally, just around the corner from the monument) would beg for a certain standard, but also it’s long standing tradition should be recognised, as it was opened in 1946 – not as early as Greco, but still quite impressive.

Definitely worth a visit, to ponder on the greatness of ancient Roman architects over a quality coffee.

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