For UTZ Certified, quality and sustainability go hand in hand. Sarah and Ruben, part of the UTZ team based in Amsterdam, decided to unlock their bikes and set out to update us on some of the city’s hotspots for specialty coffee.It turns out Aussies and Kiwis are everywhere to be found when it comes to quality coffee (and food!)in Amsterdam.
Tucked in the heart of Amsterdam’s hip “de Pijp” district, Bakers and Roasters is famous for a few things in the city: to-die-for breakfast, exquisite coffee, and quite a remarkable queue of eager weekend brunchers trying to get a table.
Julian and Sergio, a Kiwi and Brazilian based in London fell in love with Amsterdam years ago after visiting friends, drawn by its pocket-sized charm. In 2011, ready for a change from the big city, they decided to pack up their things and move. A few months later they opened up Bakers and Roasters, wanting to bring a taste of New Zealand to the city they had decided to call home. “Our concept is simple: good food and good coffee with happy people serving it” says Julian. With quality at the forefront of everything they do, Bakers and Roasters have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the people of Amsterdam. “We see people appreciating high quality, and rewarding high quality by coming back to the restaurant again and again.”
For their coffee they’ve teamed up with New Zealand’s renowned Ozone Coffee Roasters.
“These guys go beyond just great coffee; they are very much involved in sustainability and have established strong relations with the farmers they work with, and that is something we value. We see an increase of awareness and interest in knowing where products come from,” notes Julian. “It’s becoming more and more about sustainability in addition to quality. You have to have both.”
Amsterdammers have been captivated by the passion and soul that Julian and Sergio bring to the table. Not to be missed on your next visit to the Dutch capital.
Not more than a 10 minute bike ride away was our next location. We found some seats between a roasting machine and cupping table and were greeted by Paul, Sydneysider and co-owner of Lot 61, one of Amsterdam’s first micro-roasters. With years of experience in the New York coffee scene, Paul and Aussie business partner Adam were looking for new locations around the world, and found a niche in the micro-roasting market of Amsterdam.
“Specialty coffee is booming all over the world, and Amsterdam is just getting on the wave,” explains Paul. Open since June last year, Lot 61 surprised the “Old West” district of Amsterdam by serving only freshly roasted coffee, roasted on site. They organise open roasting and cupping sessions, where customers are able to experience the whole process of coffee making, from roasting, brewing, to cupping.
“We want to offer our customers the whole coffee experience, expose them to different origins, and encourage them to pay attention to the coffee they are drinking.” Paul showed us tasting forms which customers can use to learn more about the coffee. Complete with country profiles of the different coffee origins they serve and space to make tasting notes, they are opening a world usually exclusive to coffee professionals to the everyday coffee drinker.
“What we wanted to do is to introduce the coffee culture that we’ve experienced in Australia and New York to Amsterdam, and the response has been great.”
And indeed, Lot 61 has built an impressive reputation around itself. They regularly train baristas, café entrepreneurs, and coffee aficionados looking to raise the quality of the coffee that is being served at their own businesses or homes, and supply tailor made blends to cafés around the city. Paul spoke of a relationship of cooperation rather than competition among the rising number of specialty cafés opening up in Amsterdam: “We all know each other, our doors are always open, and we are here to spread the knowledge.”
If you are able to drop by Lot 61, make sure to look around the roasting room and don’t be too shy to ask your barista more about the espresso she/he is about to brew for you.
Cut Throat Barber and Coffee
Kiwis Jimmy and Tom are bringing a remarkable concept to Amsterdam: something they are calling “Barber Plus”. Dreaming of starting a mixed concept for years, the 2011 Christchurch earthquake forced their hand when Jimmy´s barbershop was destroyed. They packed up and left for Amsterdam, where they decided on combining a barber shop with a specialty coffee café.
We stepped into the packed little shop near the famous Dam Square, and immediately realised that the concept has really taken hold.
“There is definitely an increased appreciation for craftsmanship,” explains Tom. This craftsmanship is now on display with the meticulous shaving and trimming going on all around us, and it is also reflected in their coffee. As Tom says, “If you do it, you have to do it right”. Their coffee, roasted by local roaster de Wasserette, is expertly handled by their experienced baristas.
Tom has also observed an increase in the availability of specialty coffee in Amsterdam and other cities around Europe. There is still room for growth in the market, and with the fantastic coffee served we have every reason to assume Cut Throat Barber and Coffee is here to stay.
When visiting Australian restaurant Drovers Dog, you could be excused for thinking you were in Sydney´s eastern suburbs. And it’s not just the home-made rocky road, authentic beef pies, corn fritters and other Aussie staples on the menu, or the cold Coopers. It’s the incredible attention to detail, right down to the cheesecake sprinkled with wattleseed imported from Australia.
“Quality and attention to detail is very important,” says Simon O’Connor, one of the owners of the two Drovers Dog restaurants in Amsterdam. “This is reflected in our food, coffee and service.”
Together with their roaster Lot 61, Simon has even developed his own blend, consisting of 80 percent pulp natural Brazil and 20 percent Ethiopia Limmu. The Ethiopia Limmu is a washed coffee, known for its citrus flavours such as orange and lemon. The blend is nostalgically named 380 after the bus that runs between the Sydney CBD and Bondi Beach, where Simon grew up.
After spending seven years in Utrecht in the Netherlands, Simon opened his first restaurant in Amsterdam last year and looks to be here to stay. We highly recommend sampling some of the food expertly cooked by Melbournian head chef Chris Mitchell or dropping by for a coffee.
About the authors:
Based in Amsterdam, Ruben Bergsma is the UTZ Certified market development manager for Australia and New Zealand. Sarah Garcia, also based in Amsterdam, is part of the Standards and Certification team.
UTZ Certified is a program and label for sustainable farming worldwide. For more information, please visit: www.utzcertified.org