Where to find the best coffee in Amsterdam
What’s so special about coffee, I hear you ask. Well now, may reading this article renounce your cheap coffee buying sins and baptise you into the realm of quality.
Defining a cup
Some people know a good cup of coffee when they taste one, and if you’re well-travelled, it’s likely you’ve come across a decent cup in trendy capitals like London and New York. If you’ve been really lucky, you may have made it down under to Melbourne, a place where bad coffee was phased out a long, long time ago.
Sure, Europe is also "known" for its "coffee", whether it be a Greek cup or a French cup. Even the Netherlands prides itself on its East India Company gems, like Van Nelle or Douwe Egberts… but my dear darlings, we’re not talking about black velvet that leaves your palate decked with coffee breath.
That’s right, it’s time to forget about coffee that got burnt somewhere down the corporate production line. This kind of coffee is special. This kind of coffee comes fresh off that fertile crop, gets locally roasted, and crafted right into your cup… with a decorative milk froth design on top!
Local Amsterdam roasters
As a rule of thumb, if it’s a chain, it’s likely the quality has tipped and given way to quantity. Still, Amsterdam has a fine calibre of independent coffee shops to tickle your curious taste buds.
From blends to single origins, there are many great cafés around, such a Toki, Filter or Coffee and Cononuts. And the secret they all have in common is that they buy their beans from local coffee roasters.
Bocca has acquired quite a name for itself. As one of the Netherlands early pioneers in the coffee bean business, Bocca began over a decade ago by two brothers; Menno and Tewis Simons.
They started out by supplying local cafés and restaurants with high quality, carefully roasted beans and then ventured into opening their own boutique located in a garage on Kerkstraat where they have a showroom, do tasting sessions, and train baristas. Their beans are also available at Marqt.
› Screaming Beans
Screaming Beans have two cafés, which they have cunningly named Screaming Beans 1 and Screaming Beans 2 located on Hartenstraat and Haarlemmerstraat. Owner Dick van den Heuvel, revamped the whole vibe to focus more on the coffee they offer, nudging it into the hipster realm.
Whilst technically not a roastery themselves, they take their beans to Bocca to get roasted and then package the beans up, ready for sale in their self-branded bags.
Based in the old Westergasfabriek and having recently opened another shop in IJburg, this speciality coffee business was also one of Amsterdam’s first. Founded in 2005 by Rick Woertman, Espressofabriek has taken on the roasting process in order to craft the café’s own unique tasting profile.
The reason this screams "pro" is because if the roasting gets even slightly wrecked, there’s a good chance those customers won’t come back. Espressofrabriek is also sharing the love by letting other cafés come and use their facilities.
› White Label Coffee
Located on Jan Evertsenstraat, White Label catches your eye with its minimalistic interior, and regal coffee work-station platform located in the middle of the shop. Owners Francesco Grassotti and Elmer Oomkens, decided to build their business around a niche; they only brew single origin coffees. Currently, they are roasting their beans at their mentors place, Espressofabriek.
All hail to Oude West’s first mirco-roastery, Lot61. Launched by Aussie Adam, and located on Kinkerstraat, you just know it’s got to be good. A Coffeevine favourite, this roaster uses a 12kg Probat coffee roaster, located centrally in all its glory.
Though the space is small, they pride themselves on being able to tailor your cup to whatever type of coffee you’d prefer to drink.
› Sweet Cup
Inspired by a trip around Oz and a general obsession with coffee, couple Lisa and Paul made a dream come true; they opened their very own Sweet Cup with their dog, Sjef, and Giesen roaster. It might be a tough cookie to spot amidst the bustling tourist hotspot of Leidseplein, but you will be able to find it at Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 101.
› Back to Black
Situated on the corner of Weteringstraat, nearby the Rijksmuseum, Back to Black is a cosy cafe bringing you a local experience. They offer a fine selection of coffee from various local roasters and do a lovely "haver" latte.
They also welcome lonesome coffee addicts with books on the shelves, and little creative displays to stare at whilst you sip away. Some are even for sale, like their hanging plants to nifty Back to Black bags. And if you get the chance to use their bathroom, the journey down there is one to remember; it's like going into a forest and coming out completely refreshed.
› Rum Baba
Well, we can confirm it’s not a cocktail bar. Run by a tea and coffee master, Jeroen Keyzer, who is involved not only with Rum Baba, he has also set up his own tea brand Monkey Chief after being part of the crew at Coffee Bru. Phew.
In any case, he also has a roaster down the road and let’s just say, if you’ve got mates who couldn’t care less about coffee, this could be the place they drink speciality tea.
› Pussy Galore
Let’s try and see past the name for a second. This is the brave branderij (roastery) branching out across the water over in the North! And it’s all down to a man by the name of Kees Kraakman. Pussy Galore's café-lunch spot is housed in an old school alongside other like-minded businesses, which makes up a co-op.
Kees has been working as an independent coffee advisor since 2010, coaching different speciality coffee businesses, until he owned his own hosting workshops to show people how to roast their own beans and make their own coffee liquor.
Originally from Belgium, this roastery moved here for love. Nestled in the quiet area of Hoofddorppleinbuurt, coincidentally referred to as the Belgian quarter, Bert of Caffènation set up his two floor coffee extravaganza. Honestly, what could be more perfect.
› Monks Coffee Roasters
And now a special mention to the new kid on the block, Monks. Having only opened this summer, Irishman Patrick Abbot spent three years training with industry professionals Seven Seeds in Melbourne, and thus has this café down to a T!
Currently, they brew a variety of coffee, both blends and single origins from the coffee roasters that are already established in Amsterdam. Though not a roastery yet, plans are in the works, along with breakfast! Yes.
Join the movement
So then, hopefully you’re set to join the coffee trail. If that wasn’t enough, you must check out The Coffeevine; a blog that separates the cream from the crop, connecting coffee lovers to their beloved baristas. They also do a monthly coffee box with the world’s finest coffee delivered right to your doorstep. Drool.
If you’re looking for a more centralised event, your best bet would be the upcoming Amsterdam Coffee Festival. Just be aware of who’ll be there... it won’t be restricted to speciality coffee.
And for all you coffee snobs who’ve just landed, keen to learn the tricks of the trade, Amsterdam is also home to the International Tea and Coffee Academy.