Cafe Review – Bar Italia

November 9th, 2006

Bar Italia

22 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4RF


When I started in espresso Bar Italia was quite an inspiring place.  I was working for Gaggia and they had a massive old 4 group Gaggia lever machine.   It seemed classic, with a lovely old cash register, and so very Italian. They just seemed to turn out hundreds of coffees in an effortless way and they were better than the ones I was making.

Over the last couple of years my opinion began to change and that was rammed home by my visit today.

I really like it when a barista makes me feel welcomed.  I arrived to Bar Italia and was made to feel as if I was very much in the way, and the guys behind the bar just oozed arrogance and condescending.  The barista kindly allowed me to order a single espresso and slung a saucer in front of me whilst preparing other drinks.  I was stunned when the guy working the machine was a little short on milk for a latte and the other barista just picked it up, put it under the tea boiler and topped it up with hot water.

My espresso duly arrived and I was pretty much robbed for it.  £2 is a lot to ask for an espresso, especially when it tasted like it did.  It was clearly a pretty quick pull, and despite the massive robusta content (I could taste little else) any crema on the shot lingered only very briefly.  Harsh, watery and very bitter.  Not a good cup of coffee.  Looking at the other drinks going out the milk texture seemed pretty good, though I wasn’t really dying to taste a cappuccino.  I wouldn’t be this rude about a cafe after only one coffee but I have been several times over the last year or so and every experience has been pretty much the same.  Sorry there aren’t many pictures but they weren’t very friendly when I got the camera out and asked if it was ok.

Nice cups though.

[tags]cafe review, coffee, espresso, latte, cappuccino, barista, bar italia[/tags]

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