4 Roastery-Cafés to Check Out in Amsterdam

Amsterdam—once famous mainly for its “coffeeshops“ that specialized in something other than coffee—is now also recognized as one of the capitals of specialty coffee.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Amsterdam is an incredible city to explore, with all its canals and bridges, atmospheric museums, and stunning architecture.

The only drawback? The unpredictable weather is often rainy, wet, and cold. Naturally, the solution is to enjoy a hot drink, tucked away in a cozy café.

Fortunately for locals and tourists alike, the city is full of specialty cafés (don’t call them “coffeeshops“—in Amsterdam that’s what they call cannabis cafés) and roasters, which more often than not serve light-roasted coffees full of funky and fruity notes.

So, for the next time you’re in the neighborhood, looking to wait out the weather (or grab a takeaway coffee in case of unexpected sunny conditions), here’s a short list of roastery-cafés to check out.

FUKU is a café opened by longtime Amsterdam roaster Friedhats. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

FUKU Café – Friedhats

Head to west Amsterdam to find FUKU, the first “physical“ café from one of the Netherlands’ best-known micro-roasters, Friedhats.

Located on a quiet street, FUKU greets you with the perfect feeling of a neighborhood café. At the front window, an elderly man sits in a chair, sipping his cappuccino while reading the newspaper. At the long table in the back, someone is working on his laptop, while a young couple eats breakfast. The backyard is filled with children who seem to be having a great time before school, while their parents chat lovingly over a batch brew.

But FUKU is much more than that.

Lex Wenneker—one of the founders along with his friend Dylan Sedgwick—is a multi-time Dutch Brewers Cup and Barista champion. Among the many delicious coffees he selects for Friedhats, he likes to offer crazy limited batches—funky micro-lots full of flavors that will leave you speechless. If you feel like drinking one, take a look behind the counter and pick your favorite from the list. Then get ready for a roller coaster of flavors!

Rum Baba is the place to visit in Amsterdam if you want fun served with your perfect beverage. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

Rum Baba

Colorful, playful, fun.

When you’re a coffee geek and you walk into one of Rum Baba’s café, you feel like a kid walking into a candy store. You’re greeted by vibrant packaging and merchandising, with colorful cards explaining the tricks to brewing better coffee. Cool baristas serve you that punchy-vibrant-thermal-shock-fermented coffee you’ve been craving, along with tasty pastries and cakes.

That’s Rum Baba: an Amsterdam roaster that loves to play the game, but does it with the utmost professionalism, roasting delicious coffees and brewing them at its two locations around town.

If you have to choose, go to Rum Baba East on Pretoriusstraat for the comfier location (with more room to sit and more baked goods for sale). Or choose the location on Elandsgracht for the more industrial space, perfect for grabbing a quick coffee. Either way you choose, rest assured, you won’t regret it.

The roaster at Lot61 sits out in the open for curious eyes. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

LOT61

Lot61’s story begins far away, with one foot in Australia and the other in the United States. Paul Jenner and Adam Craig, childhood friends who grew up near the sunny shores of Bondi Beach in Sydney, left their homeland following a dream to re-create the Australian specialty-coffee scene they loved so much. After a stint in Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Williamsburg neighborhood, they finally moved to Amsterdam, where they opened Lot61.

The coffee shop they have in downtown Amsterdam perfectly reflects this international mood, with its roasting machine right in the middle of the lower floor, the “double shot (unless single is required)“ policy, and the cozy space always crowded with international guests.

Just one step inside and you feel like you’ve been teleported to one of the coolest indie coffee shops down under. Here, espressos, filters and flat whites are brewed to perfection to help you through the day.

Two childhood friends, Noortje Vlutters and Inge Bulthuis, founded Back to Black. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

Back to Black

Long-standing friendship seems to be the key to the success of many Amsterdam coffee businesses. This is also the case with Back to Black, founded almost a decade ago by Noortje Vlutters and Inge Bulthuis, friends since the age of 12.

Started as a coffee shop, Back to Black soon became a roastery and bakery (thanks to delicious homemade cakes and pastries). Next came a second coffee shop in the western part of the city, and a Specialty Coffee Association training center.

The original location, hidden in a quiet corner in the center of Amsterdam, is one of the coziest coffee shops you’ll find anywhere in the city. With its comfortable armchairs, wooden floor, and tall chairs by the window, it’s perfect for enjoying that rare ray of sunshine.

Pinkie, the Back to Black shop cat, does what he does best. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

And how could we fail to mention Pinkie, the resident cat? Fluffy and quiet, he can often be found sleeping in some corner of the bar. Order something tasty, and if you’re lucky and space is available. try sitting next to Pinkie. You can pet him for what feels like an eternity and he won’t complain, purring until you feel completely relaxed and at peace.

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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