Brewing at Home and on the Road with Lex Wenneker

In this new series, we ask coffee professionals how they like to brew coffee at home, while traveling, or out on the trail.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Featured photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

There’s a common thread among those who work in the coffee business, no matter the position: They tend to spend most of their days brewing coffee. Baristas brew coffee behind the bar. Roasters check the roast profile. Bloggers usually do it at home, sharing their latest recipes with the world. 

But what are their coffee habits when they’re not at work, relaxing at home? How do these habits evolve when they travel? 

Lex Wenneker of the Netherlands was born in Delft. He moved to the capital, Amsterdam, about 12 years ago when he started working in specialty coffee. Now he’s the owner and roaster of Friedhats Coffee and FUKU-café, both based in Amsterdam.

So what are Lex’s coffee habits when he’s not working at the café and is at home resting? What is his favorite brewing method for making coffee? 

Lex's home espresso machine setup. He has a small espresso machine with wooden handles for the steam wands and a wooden paddle for the portafilter. Small cappuccino cups sit on top. To the left is a coffee brewer, and to the right is other coffee paraphernalia like sweeteners. On the white wall above is modern art depicting a blue bottle, a red die and what may be a lit cigarette.
Lex has an espresso machine at home and likes to start his day with something milky. Photo courtesy of Lex Wenneker.

Home Habits

“I have a very nice espresso machine at home, and I usually like to make one milk beverage in the morning before anything else. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up,” Lex shares. “After that it’s usually just filters and espressos.”

As a favorite coffee to brew and drink at home, Lex points out that he usually “starts with a flat white or something like that, often followed by a filter using either Origami or AeroPress.”

Lex loves to drink coffee at home. “I don’t actually (go out for coffee) too often, to be honest: Either I’m too busy or I’ve already had coffee at home or in our café, which is very close to my home. I definitely should visit more places though, because we have some nice cafés in Amsterdam.” 

If he were to draw up a ranking of where he drinks most of his daily coffee when in town, Lex has no doubt. “In terms of volume it will definitely be at work, especially when you would take all the cuppings into account as well. Second place will be at home, and I guess I could say this is also the place where I enjoy it the most,” he says.

Image is outside in a park or forest with big trees surrounding. An AeroPress sits on top of a travel mug with a ramen bowl and bomb on it, cartoon style. There is a Friedhats coffee sticker on the side of the AeroPress.
While traveling, Lex often brings an AeroPress to brew coffee. Photo courtesy of Lex Wenneker.

Travels and Trails

Things of course change a lot when Lex goes to visit friends or family: Does he trust them when it comes to coffee? Or is it the opposite? “I don’t think I would trust most of them, except my brother who has a very decent setup at home,” Lex says. “But, I wouldn’t take my own gear to friends or family, I’d just get some beans. Or just drink something other than coffee.”

What about when it’s time to leave Amsterdam and travel somewhere?

“When I travel, I often take my coffee equipment with me, especially when I go on climbing trips because there’s usually no good coffee to find in the climbing area. Sometimes, on short trips, I will take pre-ground coffee. But I usually take a hand-grinder and AeroPress. And if we go with a bigger group I might get a Moccamaster too!” 

Lex has an AeroPress with coffee in it, laid on top of a metal travel mug, ready to brew. There is snow on the ground, and evergreen trees behind.
Having a personal brewing device while out in the wilderness is crucial for a good cup of coffee. Photo courtesy of Lex Wenneker.

Traveling and visiting new cities also means having the chance to check out a new specialty-coffee scene. Lex visits many more cafés while out of town compared to when he’s at home.

Tips for Drinking Out

“Before traveling,” Lex says, “I always check the specialty-coffee situation at my destination, especially when I’m not bringing any coffee gear with me. I won’t drink any coffee at airports, planes, or at gas stations, so to avoid very long-lasting headaches, it’s quite useful to know where to get nice coffee.” 

And then, when already abroad, Lex adds that he doesn’t usually have nice coffee where he stays. “I have more time to visit coffee shops, and it’s a perfect opportunity to try some nice coffee places around! And when I visit a city, it can also be a good way to explore the city as well: Usually, specialty coffees can be found in nice and less touristy areas.” 

As a last thought on the best way to drink and brew coffee while traveling, Lex shares a tip that is perfect for those who like to travel light. “You can have pre-ground coffee in your AeroPress while boarding a plane or when you’re in your car. All you will need is hot water, and you will be fine,” he says. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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