This Valentine's Day Milkshake Is Topped With a Slice of Red Velvet Cake
Red Light District
This surprising oasis in Amsterdam’s most touristy neighborhood is a secret garden, as it’s literally hidden behind a gate on the side of the Oude Kerk. The coffee is as good as it is cheap, and so are the juices and desserts -- but here the scenery trumps all. Even on a drab day, the interior is knus but cozy, and outfitted with suitably historic décor.
Tucked away in the quiet part of Amsterdam’s culture quarter, this cheery spot is a place to which we might have brought a first date or two thanks to its spot-on espresso macchiatos and the fragrance of roasting coffee permeating the air. Try the baked goods for a worthwhile extra indulgence, then snag a bag of beans for home.
The no-nonsense interior is filled with locals -- which is exactly what these devoted folks love about the spot (well, that and the solid coffee it offers). It’s one of the last refuges in the wave of trendiness taking over Amsterdam’s eastern side. However, you can pick up a surprising variety of mealtime fare (in all three courses) as well. Want a taste of its personality? Try the “Brexit mess,” a strawberry & meringue dessert with whipped cream, to complement your cup of coffee, of course.
It was one of the first harbingers of Oost’s gentrification when this South American-inspired coffee spot with a living-room vibe and single-origin beans opened a few years ago. And the caffeine heads came flocking. It offers a limited number of things to eat, but as the coffee is the main draw, you won’t mind.
This hangout in an old movie theater from the ‘20s wins over every skeptic with its cavernous, airy, plant-bestrewn three-level interior and organic-focused menu of drinks (including some unique renditions of the coffee kind) and food that evolves throughout the day. Weekends can get messy (and super-busy), so weekdays are your best options.
Red Light District
Care for your coffee with a side of shopping? It’s de rigueur around Amsterdam, but coffee fans swear that this design-focused effort by two friendly ladies pulls it off best. The lactose-friendly won’t find a better flat white anywhere in town. The coffee comes custom-roasted from Caffènation (but in a much more convenient location).
Yep, these are the people roasting KOKO’s beans... but they’ve got a whole other line of their own as well. The theme is full Belgian, with Belgian beans (roasted in Antwerp) and homemade Belgian chocolate served in a room full of ‘50s furniture. This is the Belgian brand’s first shop outside its home country, with the face of this location being the beloved barista Bert, the great giver of coffee.
It imports its beans from all of your favorite coffee countries, then roasts them right here on-site. Everything is for sale, from the carrot cake and sandwiches, to the handmade furniture from reclaimed wood, to the pop art on the walls.
Another in-house roaster that supplies all the right smells and regular “cuppings” (that’s coffee talk for tastings), Lot Sixty One will give you ample opportunity to sample their results. Take your joe and people-watch on the terrace, or chill inside with the friendly Aussie-led staff.
This location (and only this location) makes going to Starbucks worth it: aside from the eye-popping (and sustainability-focused) interior design, this is where new tastes are tested for the European market. Come by for the regular cuppings at the dedicated counter, stay for the people-watching and free WiFi. Best of all, this spacious spot is one where you’ll be able to get a seat.
RB is definitely a neighborhood spot. But coffee fanatics will nonetheless go a bit out of their way to spend an hour relaxing here (especially in terrace weather). From one of the owners of Coffee Bru, expect the same laid-back vibe and top tastes. The coffee almost (almost) plays second fiddle to the fresh-baked goods. Just don’t take the name too seriously: rum cakes you’ll find, cocktails you will not.
Noord’s little secret is a spot for Amsterdam’s boven-de-IJ creatives to congregate. Maybe it’s all the graphic art in which you can let your eyes get lost when they get sick of looking at your screen, or… nah, it’s the coffee, prepared via a half-dozen different devices, from an AeroPress to a V60. Get yours with a side of wild chicken mango sandwich or jalapeño-topped tuna melt panini.
The “fabriek” part comes from this old stalwart’s (10 years in business) first Westerfabriek location. The “espresso” part means you know what you’re ordering when you get there... though it's rather proud of its iced cascara, too. Beans are roasted on-site in Westerpark, but you can enjoy them on IJburg now, too. Taking its cue from the star cuppa, the menu (including sandwiches) leans Italian.
Whether you take yours with sugar or not, you’re getting exactly what the sign on the door of this escape from the Leidseplein madness promises: a sweet cup of Joe. The friendly staff here sure knows its brews, so bring your questions and be prepared to get schooled. They roast their beans on-site, so your cup is always fresh. Oh, and the basset hound goes by Sjefke, in case you were wondering.
This place offers friendly service and delicious espressos on perhaps our favorite shopping street in town. Need we say more? We do? OK, sure! It also has great gluten-free and vegan food options to complement your latte (which you should order, because the latte art is on-point).
It's as famous for its latte art as it is for the earthy flavors in the coffee. While it doesn’t roast on-site, Trakteren's specialty roasting partner (Dutch Barista Coffee) will take care of you. Come by for an espresso tasting the first Sunday of every month for the ultimate experience, and give the teas, single-origin pure chocolates, and cakes a try, too.
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