Coffee in Amsterdam
If you know Amsterdam, even a little, you’ll know the Amsterdammer loves their coffee. No business or social meeting, no discussion, no task can begin without a “bakkie” (cup of coffee). They can be quite particular about it too, which was surprising to me, as I had always associated the coffee culture with more southern European countries. But, the Dutch are one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world. On all those lists of statistics they usually come in about third place. Tea seems to have more or less by passed the Dutch, so don’t whatever you do order tea when you’re out – it’s just not, well, just not up to scratch.
It all starts hundreds of years ago and is down to economics that meant the Dutch were responsible for coffee being spread over the globe.
Originally, coffee was found in Kaffa, a province of Ethiopia, from there it was cultivated in the Yemen. The Yemeni realised it’s value and banned further spread of the plants and so, showing where there’s a will there’s a way, the always enterprising Dutch took not the plants, but the beans to India. At that time, much of the country was in the hands of the Dutch and they founded the first Dutch coffee farms there.
From India, in 1699, the Dutch via their formidable trading company, the VOC, took coffee to Batavia (now Jakarta) and became the largest supplier of coffee in Europe.
Drinking a cup of coffee in Amsterdam is done from early morning to late at night. It’s just as acceptable to order a coffee at 3am in a dive bar on your way home after a heavy night out as it is to grab a cup on your way to work in the morning.
One of the worst culinary offences you can commit against a Dutch person is to offer them a bad or mediocre cup of coffee. They are all experts, they all have their own specific taste and their own favourite places to have a ‘bakkie’ when out in town. Although, I have to say it is quite difficult to get a ‘bad’ cup of coffee in Amsterdam (unless of course you go to one of those international chains), I wanted to share some of my favourite spots with you anyway. They are all excellent coffee makers, but my personal criteria for a good coffee stop is atmosphere, authenticity and of course that they offer tasty treats to enjoy with, after or before your coffee.
There’s just one thing I feel I should bring to your attention, my coffee recommendations should not be confused with ‘Coffee Shops’. These are establishments where ok, you might be able to get a coffee, but, there’s probably a little extra something in there – I’m sure you know what I mean.
My Favourite Coffee In Amsterdam
Café De Bazel : This café is part of the Stadsarchief (city Archives) and is a great little oasis away from the city when it just gets too busy. There’s lots to discover in the archive building as well as coffee.
Concerto : I could live here. This is a record shop, yes, I have used the old term because they still sell records, vinyl I think the youths call it. They have little concerts and they have a coffee area. My hideout on a rainy day.
Zuivere Coffee, Utrechtsestraat 39 (no website) : Cute and quirky little place. They’ve got a tiny gorgeous terrace out the back of the shop, which you’d never know from outside.
Ysbreker: This is practically an extension of my living room. I’ve been going here for almost 20 years, it’s on my route to town, and honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without it.
Brazuca : Another neighbourhood coffee stop for me. This is all about Brazilian coffee, freshly roasted – you can tell.
De Coffee Salon : A local Amsterdam chain, guaranteed a good brew.
Amsterdam Private Food Tours
If this has made you hungry for more, why not book one of my Private Amsterdam Food Tours? Just you and your own party with some of the very best food the city has to offer.