So, as we sat on our laptops, planning our cafe hopping schedule, Google Maps bombarded us with specialty coffee cafes across Amsterdam. We quickly realised that with cafes popping up like groundhogs all over town, the coffee culture is fast becoming a sort of tourist attraction. The coffee scene is phenomenal, and much bigger than we had ever imagined!
A great thing to note is that most cafes within the Netherlands pride themselves on the quality of their coffee, and many roasters have become well-known all over the world. So after countless, and super tasty, cups in as many cafes as we could shove ourselves into in Holland’s capital – here are our Top 5 Cafes in Amsterdam worth a visit.
1. Back to Black
Quaint and cozy, this little cafe with an open plan coffee bar and shabby-chic decor – cool hanging lights, art on the walls and welcoming colours – was our first stop, and one of the most memorable. Buzzing when we walked in, there is a shared table in the centre, counter tops along the windows, a comfy couch and a few small tables to enjoy your choice of cup.
Their menu is split into two sections – ‘Back to Black” – for all black coffee variations, and “Back to White” – featuring coffees with milk. With sustainability as a core belief, owners Noortje Vlutters and Inge Bulthuis, roast their coffee to perfection with all beans being organic and sourced directly from micro-lot farms. The roastery is off-site, along with a bakery that produces all the delicious sweet treats on offer.
Comfortable seating, really good internet connection, freshly baked tarts and superb coffee – what more could you ask for from a cafe? Their pay-off line may be “Thank you for being addicted.” – but we say “Thank you making the addiction such a memorable experience!”
Our top recommendation: Cortado
From the moment we stepped into this cafe, we felt the excitement coursing through our veins. Greeting you at the door, and the first thing you should notice when entering this establishment, is an old-school coffee roasting machine that looks like it survived WWII. There are high ceilings with much open space, a centered serving bar and warehouse shelving with beans, merchandise and equipment available for purchase.
Bocca change the coffee they sell regularly – depending on season, availability and what has been recently roasted – so, when ordering (a coffee), you will have the option to choose what they have available on that day. What is also notable (and something we love) – you will receive a card alongside your coffee with the roast name and flavour tasting notes; giving your palette the opportunity to learn and experience the coffee and how complex the extractions can be.
The baristas are great, extremely knowledgeable and willing to explain everything they can about coffee to you. Bocca is very much a sort of coffee lab – where ‘coffee scientists’ get to continually experiment with different beans from around the world in a quest to achieve the perfect coffee flavour.
Our top recommendation: Espresso
3. Caffenation Specialty Coffee Roasters
Caffénation originally opened in Antwerp, Belgium more than 14 years ago and only a few years back, the ‘Dam was graced with a shop in the Oud Zuid district. As we walked into the cafe, the combined smell of coffee and cake filled our noses.
The coffee here is really, really good and it is easy to spend all day here drinking one after another. There are two floors to this cafe and it has a very cozy ’70s’ vibe to it, with a really relaxed atmosphere. The menu is standard but has one item that we found interesting – the Chaser. A usual cappuccino with half a shot of espresso on the side – so if you want you can pop the extra coffee into your cappuccino or go ahead and chase it, shot-style after your coffee.
This is yet another place in the Netherlands that have baristas that are so passionate that you can actually taste the love in the coffee. It is a pretty popular cafe with crowds coming in waves throughout the day but there are moments of quiet. Caffenation is also situated within walking distance to Vondelpark, making it a great place to get a to-go cup and head out for a morning stroll.
Our top recommendation: The Chaser
4. Koffie Spot
We stumbled upon this super cute cafe by accident and were super happy about it. It hardly takes up any space on Elandsgracht Rd, in Amsterdam’s centre, but narrow and cute is what we love!
There are a two or three tables outside, a couple more inside, a longer ‘dining’ table that can be shared by patrons and nomads alike, as well as a comfy-looking couch. Koffie Spot serves up more than just coffee; fresh juices & smoothies are a thing here too, with the fresh fruit on display for all to see.
The shop was continuously buzzing for the day – and space is tight, but not over crowded. If you just need an awesome cuppa’ joe -to-go or a refreshing smoothie, then we highly recommend this place. The cafe is seemingly popular with locals, nomads and foreign visitors all flocking in for a tasty snack and warm drink. We suggest getting there early to choose your spot if you want to stay for a while.
The coffee was great and the staff just lovely, with recommendable internet speeds for workloads. We would choose this as a local spot if we lived here… which may just be on the cards for us one day.
Our top recommendation: Cappuccino
5. Rum Baba
The first thing we noticed when we strolled into Rum Baba was the design! Being designers ourselves, the colourful, geometric shapes that donned the walls along with the matching packaging really caught our eyes.
Natural light floods this quaint cafe in a quiet neighbourhood in Amsterdam-Oost. It is unassuming, yet vivid and inviting. The wooden floor is painted in a beautiful colour of turquoise with mismatched tables and chairs. Their menu is modest and has everything that a cafe needs. As for their coffee; its fantastic and roasted in a store a couple of doors down the street. All their baked treats are also homemade and super tasty! PS: Try a slice of their Banana Bread with butter… it’s oh-so delicious!
A great spot for morning or afternoon coffee dates or to just sit and read a book. Internet was decent too, so if you’re looking for a place to set-up camp and work, you’ll find a cozy spot here! Rum Baba has so much to offer and it really is somewhere everyone should visit while in the ‘Dam.
Our top recommendation: Any coffee & a slice of their Banana Bread
Amsterdam’s Growing Coffee Scene
The coffee culture in Amsterdam is too big to ignore, and the fact that there are cafes emerging all over town regularly means that a return, in the not so distant future, is definitely on the cards for us. The sooner we can get back, the sooner we can experience more incredible cafes. We love the coffee scene here and can’t wait to return…if you are planning a coffee tour in Europe then your first stop should be Amsterdam – you won’t regret it.