Gran Caffè Neapolis

Overall Rating: 7.500

Address: Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, 14/15
Cross Street(s): Via Benedetto Croce
City, State ZIP: Napoli, 80134
Neighborhood: Spaccanapoli
Phone: +39.081.6584536
Hours: Su-Sa 8am-8:30pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar
Cafe Rating: 7.20
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La San Marco
Coffee Rating: 7.80
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Gran Caffè Neapolis
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $1.10
Last Update: 10/05/2013
First Reviewed: 10/05/2013
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Opening in 2010, this café feels like it has been here for far longer. The interior space is a modern, stark white with spot lighting and lounge-like space surrounded by bottles of Champagne on the walls. Outside there's ample seating under large parasols in the enjoyable Piazza San Domenico Maggiore. The name "Neapolis", the original name for Napoli, means "New City" in Greek. Napoli's civilization has Greek roots dating back to at least the 4th century B.C. Buried just a couple blocks away beneath Piazza San Gaetano sits the (now explorable) remains of a 6,000-capacity Greek theater used by Emperor Nero to perform his operas - including a debut in 64 A.D. where Nero famously sang through an earthquake and thought it a good omen. So perhaps on the historical scale of the neighborhood, this café is a recent hiccup. But the espresso here is good enough to have been upped from a one to a two chicchi rating between the 2013 & 2014 editions of Gambero Rosso's Bar d'Italia. Behind their four-group manual lever La San Marco machine, they sport four clear cylinders of roasted coffee blend options -- including Arabica, Excelsa, Liberica, and Robusta. There's a Maestro dell'Espresso certificate on display, certified by Illycaffè, for the master barista of the house. However, for the Saturday morning shift of our visit we had two young, seemingly novice (and uneasy) women operating as bariste on duty. Using their Arabia blend, they pulled shots with a richly textured crema of a darker brown and even slightly grayish color - filled relatively high in IPA cups of modern design. Its taste is pure pungency with no ashiness, bitterness, or even a bright end for that matter. The milk-frothing was a bit iffy, however: bubbly and too hot, but this was likely the B team. Though note that Neapolitans don't go for overly frilly cappuccinos and latte art beyond a dusting of cocoa. A very reasonable ?0.80.