I’ve been to Amsterdam 3 years ago for the first time. Back then I wasn’t into specialty coffee as I am now. So I explored this city rather from the sightseeing perspective. This time my trip was totally focused on specialty coffee: The Amsterdam Coffee festival in March and the visit of 6 of the specialty coffee places I decided to go to before going on the trip.
Usually when heading on a specialty coffee tour – I did do in Belgium, Tokyo and London – my souvenirs are roasted coffee beans. And I didn’t get disappointed – 5 packages of freshly roasted coffee made their way home to Frankfurt with me.
If you haven’t been to the city, yet, there are multiple options to find accommodations during your stay. This time I was lucky to be able to stay with friends, but there are lovely private B&Bs – I stayed at one of these three years ago – and of course there’s always Airbnb.
When you’re making your tour through the city – you can actually walk most of the times, especially inside of the canals quarter -, but if you need to go to places that are farther out or if you have to catch up some time, go for the local tram and bus system. They have check cards that you can charge with money and that you have to hover over the huge buttons located next to each entrance when entering and leaving the tram or bus.
Amsterdam Coffee Festival
Coffee & Seafood Pairing with Scandinavian Embassy
What an awesome experience. These two guys are just amazing! I would have never thought about pairing coffee and seafood!!! I love pairing cake & coffee – coffee just really goes along well with sweets – but seafood?!? Not just fish, but mussels, clam, oysters and scallops and stuff. What they created here for the festival was a three course menu consisting of not only pairing several coffees – espresso and filter from different roasters – to the seafood, but also some interesting things like a roasted coffee flower, coffee infused vinegar or coffee cherry infused butter that they added to the food. How crazy is this!?!
Strolling between the booths I noticed a lot of local roasters (Stooker, Back to Black, White Label Coffee, etc.), of course. You’ve been able to try their coffees and also buy roasted coffee beans. But what kinda surprised me, they had a lot of options in terms of food, like sweets and chocolate, also coffee cocktails and signature drinks that you were able to try – presented via food trucks and coffee carts. All stuff you can add to your menu when being a specialty cafe in order for being able to get those customers in. Also, a lot of milk substitutes – almond drink, soy milk options and a Barista edition of a foamable oat drink from oatly of Sweden (which was actually delicious and so creamy!) for all those out there that don’t want to go for dairy anymore, but don’t want to skip the creamy cappuccino or flat white experience with their Espresso.
First of all, there were actually two places I wanted to go to for a couple months now and was impatiently waiting to go there, once I would be in Amsterdam next time: Scandinavian Embassy and Stooker Roasting. Looking at my tough program for 2,5 days and knowing both of those places would be having not only stands but also a special offer (the food pairing) to go to during Amsterdam Coffee Festival, I decided to skip these two specialty coffee places and go for the other places on my list instead.
It was the right decision after attending the great coffee & seafood pairing with Scandinavian Embassy (both owners were actually preparing and serving the food) and talking to the owners of Stooker Roasting at their booth on the festival venue.
Back to Black (roast their own coffee) and Sweet Cup (roast their own coffee) are located near Spiegelgracht. If you’re up to for a beer after your coffee, head to Heineken experience. You’re more the arts & crafts fan? Well these two coffee places are really close to the famous museum quarter. So maybe you wanna go for that Van Gogh museum or Rijks museum and then head to one of those places.
Back to Black
I got to know about this place from one of my ‚to read’ choices online when it comes to specialty coffee – Sprudge. There was an article about Back to Black a couple weeks ago and I immediatley put it on my list. This place is run only by women; they roast and serve their own coffee. If you like cats, there’s a red and white cat strolling inbetween your feet looking for some customer who pets her while sipping at his or her coffee. I also had a quick chat to my barista here that told me they would be present at the Amsterdam Coffee festival as well (and I actually saw her just one day later exactly there).
This place also has a roaster, a Giesen – a lot of German technoloy going on in Amsterdam – in the back of their shop. I had the fruitiest filter coffee I’ve tried so far. It really tasted like dried strawberries! Of course I took this one with mea s a souvenir. But I didn’t want to leave it to chance if I’d be able to get this deliciousness at home as well, so I asked the barista for their ratio of brewing this filter and she was very much willing to answer.
Lot Sixty One (roast their own coffee)
Some food inbetween all this caffeine? I went to Jacketz, they pretty much only serve backed potatoes, stuffed with everything you can think of! I went for a choice with a beetroot salad and goat cheese. Delish! Oh, and for all of you who are up to more food, this coffee place is really close to the Foodhallen Amsterdam with a lot of great food stands to stroll though.
Lot Sixty One is a tiny place at the corner of Kinkerstraat and Bilderdijkgracht with a lot of warm wooden details – the counter/bar actually is a huge wooden work bench – and a Probat roaster in the basement. While my barista prepared my Flat White I got to chat with her for a couple minutes about which coffee beans choice to go for taking home with me and she even suggested going to White Label Coffee – I love the specialty coffee scene, everyone is in there together! – where I was planning on going anyways.
Screaming beans (roast their own coffee)
Heading back closer to the city centre – I did all of this on foot, because why not exploring this city, its streets and canals, walking. This cafe is in the middle of all the buzz going on in Amsterdam. If you’re up for some sightseeing like Madame Tussauts, the Konigin palace, some really old churches or more shopping (souvenirs!) even? It’s all there!
Screaming Beans is a rather dark place and not too cozy for my taste. It only has one large window which is covered with all sorts of equipment and coffee. But the cafe was packed with people and my choice of cake and coffee – I went for a citrusy Tanzanian filter and a lemon cheese cake – was a perfect match.
White Label Coffee (roast their own coffee)
This cafe is slighty off the track if you’re busy with sightseeing and/or visiting specialty coffee places in just a couple days, but it’s worth it. South of Erasmuspark White Label Coffee offers its own roasted coffee within several filter brews and espresso based coffee drinks. I went for a Cortado, something I don’t see that often in specialty cafes.