(CNN) — Romans like their coffee fast, strong and burning hot.
We gulp it down, on the run, sans sitting. Drink and go: that’s the philosophy. It’s part of the lifestyle, a persistent aroma that envelopes people from morning till after dinner.
Many Romans drink five or more espressos per day. Bars and cafes are our temples. So it’s hard to rate the best. The cafes we’ve chosen are all in the historic center.
We’ve judged each in the following categories:
1. COFFEE: Taste, smell, temperature, how long it lingers in the mouth, showiness
2. AMBIENCE: Decor, colors, light, mood
3. FOOD: From simple croissants to appetizers and menus
4. SERVICE: Staff competence, friendliness, “at-home” approach
5. LOCATION: Views, proximity to historical monuments and famous places, shopping
Here’s what we found:
15. Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè
Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè has been around since the 1930s.
Coffee of choice: Gran Caffé — espresso with cream
The owners regularly travel to Brazil to select the best coffee beans from Maya descendants, export the coffee to Rome and pack and sell it to the public.
Everything here is made and smells of coffee: cookies, chocolate bars, cakes, frappes and slushies.
Drinking an average of some 6,000 coffees a day, clients range from politicians to high school kids. Henry Kissinger and Mikhail Gorbachev have had coffee here.
82 Piazza Sant-Eustacchio; +39 06 688 02048
14. Bar del Cappuccino
Coffee of choice: Hand-decorated cappuccino or cold cappuccino served in a glass
Owner and barman Luigi Santoro makes the best cappuccino downtown: delicate, tasty and pleasant to look at.
He’s a kind of coffee artist, sketching in the coffee flowers, apples and hearts. The cafe, small and snug, serves delicious pastrami pizzas with mozzarella and broccoli.
Serena Roberti, a university student, comes in the evenings. “This place totally relaxes you, the cappuccinos are so yummy,” she says.
Perfect for a quick snack and walk, it’s located in the popular Hebrew ghetto along the Tiber River.
50 Via Arenula; +39 06 6880 6042
Recafe is a popular spot to stop and refuel after shopping.
Coffee of choice: Espresso with hazelnut or white chocolate cream