Specialty Coffee In Art Spaces

Art museums around the world host special cafés within their spaces.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

As the specialty-coffee scene spreads around the world, we are already accustomed to seeing high-quality beans brewed in a wide variety of places, from hotel lobbies, to airports, to supermarket chains now selling specialty beans. But specialty-coffee is starting to appear in unexpected new places: art museums.

Here are some museums and art galleries that host a space where specialty coffee is brewed and enjoyed.

A black and white photo of the interior of a museum, with a big sign that says typography in capital letters.
Inside the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore. Photo by MT Nguyen via. Unsplash

Red Dot Design Museum, Singapore

Along the Waterfront Promenade of Singapore’s Marina Bay is the Red Dot Design Museum: the physical embodiment of the award of the same name (an international design competition for product design, communication design, and design concepts), the museum features more than 500 award-winning design works.

The Red Dot Design Museum Cafe Bar offers a fine selection of local delicacies to enjoy in a space filled with award-winning works. From traditional Singaporean flavors to artisanal ice creams and contemporary cakes, the tasty menu is paired with specialty coffees roasted by Papa Palheta, a local roaster who has been sourcing, roasting, and serving specialty coffees since 2009 with the goal of connecting communities and inspiring people.

A person holds out a white bag of Burundi coffee from the Ishurwe Womens Group.

Burundi coffee roasted at Tate Britain. Photo by Sompon Choosong. 

Tate Britain, London

When the Tate opened its doors in the late 19th century, it had only one location with a small collection of British artworks; now, more than a century later, it has four main locations (two in London, one in Liverpool, and one in St. Ives) and houses a collection of nearly 70,000 works of art.

Among the many works of art, a series of small restaurants, bars and cafés offer cozy spaces to relax and unwind while enjoying treats and  Coffee by Tate, a line of house-roasted specialty coffees.

The Roastery at Tate, located within Tate Britain’s historic grounds, is home to the Gender Equality Coffee Project (GEP), which focuses on sourcing and roasting the highest quality and most sustainable specialty coffees, grown by both male and female producers. The Roastery also features the Slot Roasting Collective, which houses a diverse range of roasters, developing a customized range of contract and white label coffee services for a variety of businesses and coffee professionals.

Two hands around a latte mug next to a pastry with powdered sugar.

A latte and pastry from Dolcezza Coffee and Gelato at Hirshhorn. Photo by Farrah Skeiky.

In addition, all profits made by the roastery are donated to the gallery: every roaster, coffee shop, or customer who purchases Tate’s coffee or services directly supports not only the GEP project farmers, but also the gallery itself.

Moa Museum of Art, Atami

Japan’s MOA Museum of Art, based in Atami (a seaside town southwest of Tokyo), opened its doors to the world in 1982. It has since become a staple of Japanese art. Built with the aim of introducing Japanese culture to the world and promoting the fields of tourism, art, and kogei (decorative handicrafts), the museum also houses several spaces dedicated to dining.

Alongside a couple of restaurants, a tea house, and a pastry shop curated by internationally renowned pastry chef Toshihiko Yoroizuka, you’ll find the café. Here, home-roasted organic specialty coffee awaits you for a moment of relaxation. The beautiful space is located on the second floor next to a large window that affords a sweeping view of Sagami Bay.

Hirshhorn, Washington D.C.

Now in its fifth decade, the Hirshhorn – located in the heart of Washington, D.C. – is a leading voice for contemporary art and culture, housing one of the world’s most important collections of postwar art, the most important artists of the 21st century, and a national platform for the art and artists of our time.

The coffee bar inside a museum features a silver front with a diamond fish scale pattern.
The interior of Dolcezza in the Hirshhorn was designed by renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. Photo by Farrah Skeiky.

As one of the most visited modern art museums in the United States, the Hirshhorn is completely free. The idea is to share the transformative power of modern and contemporary art by creating meaningful and personal experiences where art, artists, audiences and ideas converge.

Inside the Hirshhorn, a collaboration with Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato has resulted in a café offering artisanal and locally sourced gelato, specialty espresso and gourmet desserts in a stunning contemporary setting designed by world-renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto.

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is one of the most important cultural spaces in Aotearoa New Zealand, a place for art and a catalyst for ideas built with the public as the focus of all its activities.

A person sits in a bright cafe corner.
Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, photo by David St George.

With multiple exhibition spaces spread over four levels, the Art Gallery is the largest and most inspiring visual arts experience in Aotearoa New Zealand. Its huge collection includes historic, modern, and contemporary New Zealand art. Prominent works by Maori and Pacific artists are displayed alongside international collections of painting, sculpture, and printmaking.

But it’s not just art at the heart of the gallery! To recharge during a busy day spent visiting the collection, a spacious and sunny café offers a delicious assortment of food and specialty coffees.

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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