Amsterdam isn’t the only city in the Netherlands with thriving coffee shops.
BY TIGGER CHATURABUL
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Tigger Chaturabul
As a newcomer to the Netherlands, I couldn’t wait to dive into the local coffee community and find out what kind of dynamic flowed through the scene. Most of the green coffee roasted in the Netherlands arrives through the port of Rotterdam, and the freshness of the beans shines through in the cup quality across the city. Rotterdam is bursting with flavor, so here are three cafés to visit for a taste of the diversity this seaport is known for.
When you tell a coffee person in the Netherlands that you live in Rotterdam, the first thing they may ask you is, “Have you been to Harvest Coffee Brewers?” Their reputation as a must-visit café in this port city is well-deserved. Not only are you treated with top-quality coffee, food, and hospitality, but you also get to enjoy it on the terrace with a gorgeous view of the canal.
The Melbourne, Australia-inspired café prides itself on serving breakfast all day, so no matter what time you roll out of bed, you’ll still be able to grab an Australian brekkie featuring specialties like homemade cultured butter. One of my favorites is the ricotta made with leftover barista milk (!) served on cheese toast.
There’s always something new to try on the rotational coffee menu, whether it’s from local or international roasters like Rotterdam-based Ripsnorter Coffee or Fjord Coffee Roasters from Berlin. Harvest takes the title of coffee brewer seriously, so whether you’re an espresso, filter, batch-brew, blend, or single-origin fan, they’re ready to recommend a delicious coffee to satisfy your tastes.
Under the arches of the old train tracks on the Vijverhofstraat is Man Met Bril Koffie, a local roastery and café with a vast selection of coffee. An enormous Probat machine sits in the middle of the space, and you can take a peek at their thriving roasting operation on your way to the bathroom. Coffee here is plenty and unpretentious, with homemade cronuts to sweeten the experience.
Man Met Bril supplies more than coffee beans to the city of Rotterdam—they’re also a source of chilled vibes and a non-apologetic style that isn’t afraid to address local issues around diversity and inclusivity. For example, there’s an illustration of a cockroach on the back of their retail coffee beans as a stark reminder of the racial divide that Rotterdam still battles today.
One of my favorite details at Man Met Bril is their welcoming attitude toward children and young families, a sentiment that isn’t always front and center at new-wave cafés around the world. There’s a baby-changing room and a little bookshelf of toys for kids to occupy themselves while mommy and daddy brunch away the morning.
A Little Off the Beaten Path
If you wander a bit further away from Rotterdam Centrum and find yourself at the famed Euromast observation tower, hop over to the historic town of Delfshaven to experience a small part of the city that survived the World War II bombings. While you’re there, you can’t miss a visit to Evermore, a family-owned café on the banks of the Nieuwe Maas River run out of two old garages-turned-roastery, tearoom, and cooking studio in collaboration with KookstudioMix.
Mother-and-son-duo Eline Sandberg and Lowik Pieters started their loose-leaf tea business in 2008 when Lowik was only 13. His father, Ian, and brother, Aito, joined in to build the coffee side of Evermore and began by roasting beans right out of their home in Rotterdam when they were just starting out.
Now, the cozy roastery and café space is all you could ever want for your friendly neighborhood coffee spot. Everything about Evermore oozes with the warm personal touch of the Pieters family, from the way they prioritize responsibility in sourcing tea and coffee, to the assortment of tried-and-loved local licorice and syrups they offer on the side. This is the kind of café where you get to know the person behind the bar by name from your very first visit. Having a well-developed and full-bodied daily coffee at Evermore is probably the most wholesome moment of my day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tigger Chaturabul (she/her) tried to be a barista for two years until she realized she was better suited behind the business than behind the bar. She now runs her own copywriting and design studio, Curious Typhoon Studio, that serves F&B and other small businesses in Hong Kong. Her free-range creative lifestyle allows her to spend all her time in coffee shops everywhere.