A ferociously-kept secret guarded by the Ricci family for more than 70 years of business, a single recipe is the lynchpin of one of Italy’s finest caffès. Tucked between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona and situated just across from the Senate is Rome’s Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, a veritable Mecca of Italian caffès. One of the city’s busiest, 4,000 – 6,000 customers are served the famous gran caffè special each and every day.
To keep the top-secret recipe safe from the prying eyes of competitors and the hordes of enthusiastic tourists, co-owner Raimondo Ricci and Marcello (his faithful barista of 27 years) built iron shields around each of the two old Astoria espresso machines that rest on top of the bar. “Not even the New York Times was able to get past me,” Marcello says with a smile.
The celebrated house blend is sold in eye-catching yellow bags, simply labeled “Caffè Fresco,” which line the counter opposite the bar where Ricci mans the cashier. This same blend is roasted in the back room using the original 1930’s cast-iron and wood roaster. The old apparatus allows the Arabica coffee to be slow-roasted for 20 minutes while still maintaining a light-to-medium roast, enhancing the unique flavors of this carefully maintained blend.
The coffee – all of which is fair trade – comes from all over the world, including Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica, and even the Galapagos Islands. In fact, Roberto Ricci, Raimondo’s brother, recently voyaged to Guatemala on an expedition to seek out the best coffee available for the family business.
We at ROASTe are extremely proud to carry Sant’Eustachio’s coffees!
Click here to view the Sant’Eustachio coffees.