Finding the best coffee in Rome is a serious business. Italians head to the bar (as coffee shops and cafes are most commonly referred to) first thing in the morning and might visit another two, three or even more times throughout the day. In Rome, as with much of Italy, the drink of choice is usually un caffè (an espresso), or if it’s before midday, maybe a cappuccino. In between sightseeing at the Colosseum or the Pantheon, ensure any trip to the Italian capital is fully caffeinated with the best beans a barista can grind by checking out our list of the best cafes in Eternal City.
A green vintage tram shelter has found new life in the neighbourhood of Testaccio as a fun coffee shop and late-night drinking spot. Tram Depot serves up a range of coffees, including harder-to-find (in Rome, at least) syphon and dripper varieties, as well as cocktails, fresh juices, smoothies and a small selection of pastries and sandwiches. There’s no space for roasting in this tiny kiosk, so it sources its coffee from Torrefazione Lady Café, an artisanal producer based outside Parma. Note it’s closed during winter.
Panella is best known for its artisanal breads and pastries – check out the window display of intricate dough sculptures shaped like the Colosseum and other Rome icons – but the outdoor seating area, draped in colourful and shade-giving flowers, makes it a charming spot to enjoy a coffee. Try the caffè freddo – a cold, sweet coffee that is a little longer than a regular espresso – at one of the high tables with stools, where there’s no service charge.
Offering coffee, cocktails, light lunches, pastries, and even gelato, Andreotti keeps the residents of Ostiense fed and watered from dawn ’til dusk. These days, the decor is bright and modern, but a vintage snapshot of the Andredotti family reveals the historical roots of this family-run pastry shop and cafe. The small cakes and pastries, known as pasticcini, are the perfect accompaniment to coffee and are also available to take away. In fact, an elegantly wrapped tray of pasticcini is the Italians’ gift of choice for dinner parties.
Billing itself as Rome’s first speciality coffee shop, Faro is unlike a typical Italian bar. Customers can sip at leisure in this contemporary space and staff are happy to share knowledge of the coffee production process. Here, roasting is deliberately light and delicate to avoid any bitter notes, meaning skipping sugar is recommended. There’s plenty of choice in both the method of brewing (espresso machine, AeroPress, syphon) and the type of bean – go for the house blend or one of the higher-priced coffees from the specials menu.
Roscioli Caffè is part of the Roscioli-family empire, which includes an upscale restaurant and a speciality bakery with institution-like status in Rome. Thanks to its use of Arabica beans from Torrefazione Giamaica Caffè, an artisanal roaster based in Verona, and its interest in brewing techniques new to Romans – such as pour-over and syphon – this tiny shop has quickly become known for its top-quality coffee. Enjoy with a cream-filled bun known as a maritozzo, a Roman speciality.
After sampling some fine Italian espresso, how about swinging by the best pasta restaurants in town to enjoy another Italian staple? Once you’re all fuelled up, explore the must-visit attractions in the Eternal City, and head to the best beaches near Rome for some relaxation. After all that exploring, rest your head at one of the best luxury or boutique hotels we’ve compiled for you in our handy guides.