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Thread: Sant'Eustachio coffee technique

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    Sant'Eustachio coffee technique

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    Hello people,

    Just a quick question about the coffee that is delivered at Sant'Eustachio cafe. They have a popular coffee called gran caffè speciale which is served in a small coffee cup (bigger than espresso). It's strong and I think sweeter than normal though has a head on it. I then asked for a cafe espresso and this also had a head on it. Didn't ask them and couldn't see a thing getting done behind machine as they have steal plates hiding everything.

    Any ideas how they get that froth? Saying that it is more novelty than anything. If your lucky to be around when they are roasting with their wood oven roaster, the smell is to die for.

    Charles.

    Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè: il gran caffè speciale tostato a legna dal 1938 a Roma

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    Hi Charles,

    I am not familiar with that cafe, and probably have Buckley's chance of visiting myself.

    Are you able to post a photo of said drink?

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    Hello Charles,

    The froth or what is commonly called crema occurs on the top of freshly made coffee made from freshly roasted and ground beans, brewed under pressure in an espresso machine. It is made from carbon dioxide bubbles covered with brewed coffee. The bubbles soon burst releasing the aroma and flavour of the coffee.

    It is no novelty as it indicates the quality and freshness of the coffee and skill of the barista.

    Low quality machines use dual walled filter baskets to produce fake crema but not the best flavour while using ancient supermarket coffee beans.

    Barry
    Last edited by Barry_Duncan; 12th May 2014 at 01:00 PM.

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    Wega Mininova Classic Seeya_Latte's Avatar
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    I have no idea and who can really say....maybe they add a little bit of lightly carbonated water to the shot and whisk vigorously?

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    Sant'Estachio uses finely ground sugar in the bottom of the cup prior to the espresso pour. The froth is not Crema but a reaction to the sugar. Its a popular technique in the south of italy. I do not know the details but my father does, so I will ask him and report back.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Have been in the south of Italy for the past week, drank a lot of coffee, however saw nothing that comes close to what you describe.

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    Thank you Aaron, I think you are correct. It is a bit of a novelty and is quite mad how so much of this foam is produced from a shot. The coffee did have a slightly sweeter taste than most though I would not rate the taste any better than other coffee places. I brought back a kilo of their beans just because of their wood oven roasting. I knew there was no chance of getting a similar result but I do like the subtlety of the Italian espresso shot, just a little lighter than what we get here in Adelaide. Anyhow, thanks for your feedback.

    Think I will do some experimenting with my green beans now, some robusta blends on the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Sant'Estachio uses finely ground sugar in the bottom of the cup prior to the espresso pour. The froth is not Crema but a reaction to the sugar. Its a popular technique in the south of italy. I do not know the details but my father does, so I will ask him and report back.
    Maybe its like adding sugar to a carbonated beverage - lets the CO2 escape quickly and fizz up?

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soviet View Post
    I knew there was no chance of getting a similar result but I do like the subtlety of the Italian espresso shot, just a little lighter than what we get here in Adelaide.
    Not sure just what your basing this statement on Soviet, The coffee scene in Adelaide has improved dramatically over the past 10 years, however it's certainly easier to consistently get a good strong shot in Italy than in Adelaide.
    Good espresso is good espresso, regardless of where it's made.
    Dimal likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Not sure just what your basing this statement on Soviet, The coffee scene in Adelaide has improved dramatically over the past 10 years, however it's certainly easier to consistently get a good strong shot in Italy than in Adelaide.
    Good espresso is good espresso, regardless of where it's made.
    That is the point with coffee in Rome, a good coffee is not a strong shot but a milder shot, slightly nutty and lighter in colour. It is not about how strong the coffee. The coffee in Adelaide is very good though it is all about the Arabica bean and a strong coffee that can be mixed well with their scalding milk. That is one thing I do not hear so much in Rome, the sound of frothing milk. Coffee should be drunk by coffee drinkers and not cats.

    Sorry for my rant.

    This is though a personal choice and everyone has their own preferences, not everyones taste buds are the same and the majority of people here in Adelaide drink milk coffee.

    Charles.

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    Pic of the Gran Cafe


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    Quote Originally Posted by soviet View Post
    That is one thing I do not hear so much in Rome, the sound of frothing milk. Coffee should be drunk by coffee drinkers and not cats.

    Sorry for my rant.

    This is though a personal choice and everyone has their own preferences, not everyones taste buds are the same and the majority of people here in Adelaide drink milk coffee.

    Charles.
    Hmm ?.. you must be visiting different cafe's to me.
    I have not compiled statistics, but i would suggest from my casual worldly observations that the vast majority of coffee is drunk with milk both in Au, and Europe, ..and even including the huge volume of Filter coffee in the USA !

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    Hmm ?.. you must be visiting different cafe's to me.
    I have not compiled statistics, but i would suggest from my casual worldly observations that the vast majority of coffee is drunk with milk both in Au, and Europe, ..and even including the huge volume of Filter coffee in the USA !
    Soviet was talking about Italy and not about Europe as a whole.... very different things. Having spent 9.5 years in Europe, I would definitely have to concur with Soviet. In Italy, the sound of the milk wand quickly fades away after 11 AM and Espresso shots are the order of the day from then on.

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    Correct

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Soviet was talking about Italy and not about Europe as a whole.... very different things. Having spent 9.5 years in Europe, I would definitely have to concur with Soviet. In Italy, the sound of the milk wand quickly fades away after 11 AM and Espresso shots are the order of the day from then on.
    Yes this is correct. This last trip I returned from was a bit of a wine and coffee crawl across Europe and Italy though I only managed to get as low as Rome this year. Found a coffee shop in Venice (first visit) called Torrefazione Marchi. I love roasters in coffee shops, so gorgeous and the smell is amazing. Anyway thank you for everyone's feedback.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    In my Italian experience (4 weeks!) many italians, especially in the south, do have sugar in their espresso. It is often added automatically before the shot and if you wanted your shot without it, you had to specify. That might account for the additional sweetness.

    Maybe they use powdered sugar rather than granulated?

    BTW--when I make a doppio ristretto with my home roasted beans the extraction is usually 3/4 to 7/8 crema. Maybe the foam is just the crema from fresh beans. I noticed that most coffee bars in Italy buy their beans in 5 Kg bags rather than roast their own.

    Greg

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soviet View Post
    Yes this is correct. This last trip I returned from was a bit of a wine and coffee crawl across Europe and Italy though I only managed to get as low as Rome this year. Found a coffee shop in Venice (first visit) called Torrefazione Marchi. I love roasters in coffee shops, so gorgeous and the smell is amazing. Anyway thank you for everyone's feedback.
    We stayed in Venice for a few days approx a month ago, my son in law highly recommended Torrefazione Marchi, and, as luck would have it we stayed in a bed and breakfast approx 50 meters around the corner from TM, the owner/host at the B&B also recommended them highly, all looking good.

    We fronted up at 9am, as you say shop looked great, well appointed, roaster going, smells fantastic, very busy, I order a doppio and my wife ordered a cappuccino, what we were served was swill, my doppio was sour and luke warm with the barest trace of crema and the cappuccino was almost cold, what a disappointment! perhaps they were having a bad day
    Having said that we had coffee at probably a dozen other places in Venice which varied from very good to excellent.

    You may recognize the espresso cup in the image, son in law was good enough to tote half a dozen with saucers all the way from Venice to OZ, great cups, I treasure them.

    DSC_9033.jpg

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    Just watched and episode of Foodie Planet on SBS on demand where they go to Rome. The opening of the show visits Sant'Eustachio cafe where they order the famous coffee asked by the OP. The guy in the show said its a shot of espresso over sugar that is then vigorously whipped producing the so called crema.

    Might give it a go for something different tomorrow.

    Javabeen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by javabeen View Post
    Just watched and episode of Foodie Planet on SBS on demand where they go to Rome. The opening of the show visits Sant'Eustachio cafe where they order the famous coffee asked by the OP. The guy in the show said its a shot of espresso over sugar that is then vigorously whipped producing the so called crema.

    Might give it a go for something different tomorrow.

    Javabeen.
    Just had a look at the episode myself SBS On Demand | Unlimited TV & Movies When You Want | Streaming TV - Foodie Planet S3 Ep5 - Destination Romecertainly worth a look, the coffee segment is at the begining of the program and runs for about 4 mins.

    The Sant'Eustachio cafe is right behind the Pantheon, must have walked past it half a dozen times and missed it, what a shame, looks like a great spot.

    Notice the guard the crema secret pretty closely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Just had a look at the episode myself SBS On Demand | Unlimited TV & Movies When You Want | Streaming TV - Foodie Planet S3 Ep5 - Destination Romecertainly worth a look, the coffee segment is at the begining of the program and runs for about 4 mins.

    The Sant'Eustachio cafe is right behind the Pantheon, must have walked past it half a dozen times and missed it, what a shame, looks like a great spot.

    Notice the guard the crema secret pretty closely.
    Sorry to necro a thread, but I thought I'd share my observations. Went to Rome for like 8 days and ending up staying at a hotel about 100m from Sant'Eustachio (not on purpose; happy coincidence). On my way into town, the cab driver mentioned how awesome the places was and well, that sounded like a "must do". I think we ended up going there every day (and some days more than once.)

    My wife and I did the Gran'caffe pretty much every day. We only got there early enough (you know, before 11am) for a cappuccino once (not worth it either). We did a few other coffee places but the uniqueness of Sant'Eustachio kept bringing us back. Obviously, we really liked it and paid a lot of attention to the ~10 or so gran caffe's we drank.

    A few thoughts
    • They definitely use a granulated sugar in the base of the cup prior to the shot. Once or twice, we got a little undissolved sugar in the bottom of the cup. We also saw large containers of regular white sugar being being brought behind the "steel curtain". The sugar seemed like regular sugar; from looking at the container they were moving behind the curtain and the texture in the cup, it definitely wasn't powdered.
    • In a few of the afternoons, it was a bit quiet and we DEFINITELY heard some brisk whisking going on before we got our cups. Not long; a few seconds.
    • I guess it's possible they put the sugar in post pour, but I'm also fairly sure that by listening, we heard a spoon hit the cup after it was put on the machine (as in sugar being added.) that seemed like a consistent process. Wife agreed and she's got better hearing than I do.
    • You can order it w/o sugar; probably should have tried that in hindsight.
    • the beans are 100% arabica; no robusta beans in the blend, which I believe is not completely uncommon in Italy.
    • they roast over wood in house. We bought back a few cans and there is definitely a woody note to the coffee. It's fine coffee; it's not the best coffee but it's unique for sure. i didn't manage to come by when they were roasting which would have been cool.


    The crema was ridiculously good; totally worth using the spoon to scoop it up. Worth a visit IMO!



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