When in Rome: Coffee shops

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When in Rome, a typical morning begins casually at the bar of a local coffee shop, enjoying a morning cappuccino and cornetto while the proprietor clatters dishes and chats with his regular customers. 

Every Roman neighborhood has numerous local “bars” scattered throughout its streets, all providing pretty much the same coffee and atmosphere. 

Ben Gibbs, former director of student affairs for the Rome Program, believes that an important part of Italian coffee drinking, besides the quality of the coffee itself, is the cultural aspect in which community is part of the daily break from work.

Already coffee-dependent UD students find that in Rome, the coffee experience is more leisurely and enjoyable than in America as it is a more social and civilized experience.

As he drank cold brew from the UD Cap Bar, Gibbs said, “One of the best things about coffee in Italy is you can go into almost any restaurant, coffee shop, or gas station and the shot of espresso is very much the same.” 

In fact, he even thinks that “gas station coffee in Italy is better than Starbucks.”

While he appreciates the consistency of the coffee quality in Rome, Gibbs does have a favorite coffee shop from his time there. Located near the Pantheon, it’s a vibrant place called Tazza d’Oro where, according to Gibbs, “they don’t dump stupid amounts of sugar in the coffee.” 

Monnica Prudlo, a member of the fall Rome class of 2020 who had also lived in Italy for 2.5 years previously, said, “I think Sant’ Eustachio is better because it is the prime example of an original Italian coffee shop.” 

Sant’ Eustachio is another bustling shop near Tazza d’Oro and the Pantheon. Citing its “history and trust in the tradition,” Prudlo said, “I like the authenticity.”

The next time you’re in Rome, be sure to visit both Tazza D’Oro and Sant’ Eustachio as both provide a delicious coffee experience. If it’s the morning, enjoy a cappuccino; if you want something new, try a granita di caffe, a frozen espresso drink topped with panna.

When you’re not in Rome but want to recreate that Italian coffee experience, there are several options. Gibbs recommends going to Davis Street Espresso in Dallas and ordering a Van Buren which includes a cortado and a biscotto with sparkling water. And here on campus, our very own Cap Bar is a place to immerse oneself in the UD community in a friendly and bustling atmosphere similar to that of the Italian bars.

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