Monday, October 15, 2012

The Best Coffee I've Ever Had

Nostalgia comes in many forms. The one I am most prone to is nostalgia for tastes, and today I am feeling nostalgic for the flavors of Rome.

When folks ask me what the best coffee I have ever had is they are usually surprised to hear that it isn't a coffee it all. It's not even a latte or cappuccino. In fact, you can't even drink it. It's called a granita. 

When I was in Rome, I lived in a flat in a 700 years old in a building smack-dab next to the Pantheon. While my day job is concerned with politics and politicking, my life has always been focused around art. Architecture is one of the few things in the wold that is so utterly human and for it, I am humbled. 

Now what does this have to do with coffee?

In my bedroom next to the Pantheon my window overlooked a busy alley bustling with tourists, sausage makers, accordion players, and one of Rome's most well known cafes: Caffe Tazzo D'Oro. Tzzo is best known for its granita and to this day it is by far the best caffeinated item I have ever had.

View of the caffe out of my window.
This was taken with a terrible camera, sorry.

Little by little I became friends with the men who worked there. I'd walk in and they would have my order waiting on the counter. It was always the same: a granita with whipped cream on the bottom only. A granita is something like sweet shaved espresso ice. It's as if the strongest espresso was brewed, drained of all it's water, frozen, and then shaved paper thin. 

Caffe Tazzo and the brick building on the right was my apartment.

When you order a granita at Tazzo, it comes with whipped cream on both the top and the bottom. That was always too much for me so I began asking for a granita with whipped cream on the bottom only. I chose the bottom because when the whipped cream is placed under the granita, it slightly freezes the cream and it becomes almost crystallized. 

                                     Picture.                                                           Painting.
Granita is eaten with a small spoon and in the hot weather there is nothing better. Be warned, though it may be small in size it packs a caffeinated punch! Once I had one it was impossible to get me to shut up. I think that's probably what eventually led to the friendship between me and the guys who worked there, they just listened to me blabbed on and on, much like my Twitter followers do.

Now, if only someplace in D.C. sold coffee granita... my life would be made. Guess I'll just have to wait for my next trip to Rome.



  1. I feel like you have enough klout in DC that you could make one of them start serving these. I will fully support you, and sign any necessary paperwork!

    xo, Emily

  2. This sounds like a dream: frozen shaved espresso with whipped cream on the bottom? Yes, please. Can you try making one yourself, if you don't have a pending trip to Rome?

    1. I have tried to make them many, many times. And it never comes out even close :( The Romans know their coffee! Hope you can get there someday to try it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...