Toki

My pour-over at Toki, a Kenya Mwendia AA from Bonanza, served in a carafe with a cup on the side, all presented on a small tray.Toki, which opened in August 2015, is just a 10-minute walk northwest of Amsterdam’s Central Station. Despite being close to the centre, it felt to me more like a residential area and definitely not a tourist destination. A large, bright, open coffee shop, Toki’s made up of several smaller, interconnected rooms, the layout reminding me of Edinburgh’s Brew Lab (subject of yesterday’s Coffee Spot Update).

The coffee’s from Bonanza in Berlin, with a seasonal blend and single-origin on espresso and, typically, three single-origins on pour-over through the Kalita Wave. These change every month or so, depending on what Bonanza sends through (during my visit the choices were from Kenya, Indonesia and Ethiopia). The single-origin espresso changes more frequently, typically once a week, sometimes twice.

If coffee doesn’t take your fancy, there’s a wide range of loose-leaf teas, plus cold drinks and a fridge full of beer. Meanwhile, if you are hungry, there’s cake every day, while the kitchen, serving brunch, is open from 08:00 – 16:00, Wednesday to Friday, and from 09:00 – 16:00 at the weekends. Note that Toki is cashless, so don’t forget to bring a card!

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a street corner in Amsterdam stands a bright, inviting space...
  • ... which stretches off a little way down the street to include these windows/doors.
  • The main entrance, seen here, is on the corner. This is Toki, by the way.
  • There's a window-bar immediately to the right of the door...
  • ... and another to the left, while straight ahead there's the counter.
  • This occupies the back half of the room and comes in two parts. Part one is espresso...
  • ... while part two is pour-over and tea, along with much more practical seating.
  • Off to the right are several openings in the wall which lead to another section.
  • However, before we go in there, there's more seating here, including a table at the front...
  • ... and this two-sided bar in what can be best described as an internal window.
  • There are two openings, one either side of the window. This one is at the front...
  • ... while this one is at the back. Head through here and you'll find Toki's kitchen...
  • ... which is behind this hatch. It's closed Monday & Tuesday (I was there Monday).
  • Looking the other way, here's the opposite side of the window-bar...
  • ... while to the left is a communal table with benches on either side.
  • Beyond this is a sofa and beyond the sofa...
  • ... are a pair of fold up chairs in the windows. Finally, there's one more table.
  • One of the many things I liked was the large amount of greenery, including this one...
  • ... and various flowers on the tables and shelves.
  • Toki is dog-friendly by the way.
  • Interesting use of a hammer to prop open the door!
  • Interesting light fittings too!
  • Okay. Down to business. The counter, where you order, faces the door.
  • You'll find (what remains) of tke cake here...
  • ... while on the wall to the left is a coffee menu.
  • There's a more comprehensive menu, including tea and cold drinks on the wall.
  • Meanwhile, if the cakes have whetted your appetite, there's also the brunch menu...
  • ... which is over by the kitchen.
  • The coffee is from Bonanza. These are the three filter options, plus the espresso blend.
  • More coffee, stashed away at the end of the counter...
  • ... which is also where you'll find the comprehensive tea selection.
  • Right at the end of the counter is a fridge stocked full of beer.
  • Espresso is from this La Marzocco Linea on the front part of the counter...
  • ... although you actually get a really good view from by the till.
  • I love watching espresso extract...
  • ... especially into a glass, where you can really see the creama develop.
  • Almost done.
  • However, I'd come for pour-over, not espresso...
  • ... which you get a really good view of if you sit at the second part of the counter.
  • A Kalita Wave, almost done (not actually mine).
  • Here's my coffee, served in a carafe, cup on the side, all presented on a tray.
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Toki is in a shaded spot on a bright corner, where Vinkenstraat (one of four streets that run in parallel between the railway tracks and Brouwersgracht) meets Binnen Dommersstraat, a shorter cross street. Toki occupies two long, thin spaces joined by two open doorways in the party wall (which is where the similarity to Brew Lab comes in). The narrow ends of both spaces face onto Binnen Dommersstraat and, despite this being the address, the entrance shows no favouritism, being a single door right on the corner at 45° to both.

This leads you into the left-hand of the two spaces, where picture windows on both Binnen Dommersstraat (to the right of the door) and Vinkenstraat (to the left) make for a very bright, airy space. There are two-person window-bars in each, although since the counter is dead ahead along the left-hand side, the two stools there are less attractive options.

The counter itself is in two parts, occupying the left-hand side of the rear section. The first part is L-shaped, one side facing the door, where you’ll find the till. The other side has a two-group La Marzocco Linea espresso machine which faces into the shop, so you can stand at the till and watch your espresso being made.

The second part of the counter is effectively a continuation, occupying the remaining space to the back of the shop. The pour-over is made here, along with the tea, while the five bar stools provide the perfect vantage point to watch them being made. There are also a couple of stools in front of the espresso machine, but they really are the seating of last resort.

A wall running down the centre separates the two parts of Toki, with a pair of open doorways, with a square, window-like opening between them, providing access. Staying in the left-hand side for now, there’s a table with a bench before the first opening, while the window-like opening has a four-person bar on either side, which means that you can sit on opposite sides and talk.

The right-hand side is also split into front and back, although here the back is occupied by the kitchen and toilets. The kitchen, which is on the left, was closed when I was there, the counter acting as a two-person bar at the back on the left. There’s a 12-person communal table against right-hand wall with long benches and two stools at either end, followed by a large sofa that stops just short of the windows at the front, leaving room for two folding camp chairs that look out onto the street. Finally, there’s a narrow, two-person table in the space between the windows and the first opening along the party wall.

I decided to order a pour-over, but feeling lazy, I asked the barista to select the beans, being rewarded with a subtle, gentle brew which turned out to be the Kenyan, a Mwendia AA. This had more complexity than the stereotypical juicy coffee associated with Kenya, a lovely brew which more than held its own as it cooled. All in all, a very mellow, relaxing coffee for a mellow, relaxing coffee shop.

BINNEN DOMMERSSTRAAT 15 • 1013 HK AMSTERDAM • NETHERLANDS
www.tokiho.amsterdam +31 (0) 20 363 6009
Monday 07:30 – 18:00 Roaster Bonanza (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Bars, Counter
Wednesday 07:30 – 18:00 Food Cake, Brunch (not Mon/Tues)
Thursday 07:30 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 18:00 Cards Cards Only
Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 18:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 25th June 2018

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