Way Roastery & Shop

A flat white, made with Way's house espresso, the Brazil Bota Fora, and Oatly oat milk, served in a classic grey cup.I discovered Way Speciality Coffee Roasters in March, when I stopped in Ghent my way back from my trip to Amsterdam. European Coffee Trip led me to Way Coffee & Book Shop on Voldersstraat in the historic city centre, where I had a chance meeting with Ward, Way’s co-owner and head roaster, who invited me to the Way Roastery & Shop the following Monday (Way also has a bakehouse and café on Jakobijnenstraat 7 which I didn’t manage to visit).

Way Roastery & Shop is in Dok Noord, an old industrial complex that’s been redeveloped into a residential, office and leisure hub, a 25-minute walk or short tram ride north of the centre. Way occupies part of what was once a washing machine factory, housing a spacious café, showroom and roastery. Today’s Coffee Spot is all about the café, with the roastery featuring in its own Meet the Roaster feature in due course.

Way only roasts single-origins and is entirely plant-based (vegan). There’s a choice of the house espresso (from Brazil) plus a single-origin on espresso, along with two choices (Brazil plus another single-origin) on batch-brew filter and a wide selection on pour-over through the V60 or AeroPress.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • A view of the Dok Noord complex from Sint-Salvatorstraat. Way is somewhere in there!
  • This is a view from the other (eastern) side. As you can see, it's a maze of passageways...
  • ... particularly ones like these, that run between the old factory buildings.
  • Finding Way can be tricky, but once you get close, signs like these really help...
  • ... particularly if you're heading in the wrong direction!
  • And here we are, on the corner of two of the internal alleys in Dok Noord.
  • The A-board confirms that we have correctly found our Way.
  • Way is on the northern side of one of the old factory buildings, with the door on the left.
  • This E-shaped arrangement of benches is under the windows to the right if you want to...
  • ... sit outside, but we're going to go in, the door leading us into this...
  • ... spacious room at the front of Way. It reminded me of a meeting room and can be used...
  • ... as overflow seating. That's the roastery, by the way, visible through the back windows.
  • The door to the main part of Way is to your right, accessed via a broad, platform-like step.
  • A view back at the meeting room from in front of the door. Before you go in, don't forget...
  • ... to look up, where this wonderful sculpture hangs from the ceiling. If you want to...
  • ... know more, there's an information panel by the door into the main cafe.
  • Talking of which, stepping inside takes you to the front of the counter, where you order.
  • Another view of the counter, which at the front of the cafe part of Way.
  • It's set back from the windows at the front, which leaves space...
  • ... for this five-person window-bar...
  • ... while a corridor leads back into the building, where you'll find the toilets.
  • Another view of the window-bar from the other end of the corridor. There's also...
  • ... a pair of seats down the side of the counter, ideal for watching the espresso machine.
  • The bulk of the seating, however, is at the back of the cafe.
  • It starts with this eight-person communal table which runs at an angle of 45°.
  • A view across the table to the seating down the cafe's left-hand side. The double doors...
  • ... lead to the meeting room, but aren't the main door, which is out of shot to the left.
  • Looking the other way, these two armchairs are tucked into the corner behind the table...
  • ... while beyond them, along the right-hand wall, is a display of home espresso machines.
  • Returning to the left-hand side, there's more seating on this raised platform, with a bar...
  • ... running in an L along the front and left-hand sides, plus a four-person table at the back.
  • The last of the seating is right at the back, which doubles as showroom and training area.
  • There's a 10-person communal table back here...
  • ... along with this three-person bar at the back of the raised seating area.
  • Finally, over to the left, is the door to the roastery, but it's invitation only, so don't go in!
  • Two of the Sage Barista Express machines on dispay at the back of Way.
  • The espresso machines aren't the only equipment for sale. These shelves are to the right...
  • ... of the door as you come in, while there are more shelves to your left.
  • This includes more coffee-making equipment and beans...
  • ... while there's a final display of beans on these low shelves to the left.
  • Down to business. You order at the counter...
  • ... where you'll find the menus on the wall above the counter.
  • The menu isn't the easiest to photograph directly...
  • ... but I promise that it's much easier to read in person!
  • You'll find the cakes, pastries and savouries on display at the front of the counter.
  • Note that Way is cashless, so bring your card (or phone) for payment.
  • Pour-over is via either V60 or AeroPress, which you'll find down the side of the counter...
  • ... which is also where you'll find the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine.
  • Talking of which, I put it into action for my flat white, which was made using the...
  • ... house espresso (Brazil Bota Fora) along with Oatly oat milk, which is where I'll leave you.
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Dok Noord is an old industrial complex that lies between Sint-Salvatorstraat to the west and Handelsdok (part of Ghent’s extensive canal network) to the east. Once home to ACEC (a Belgian manufacturer of electrical equipment), it’s now an interesting mix of residential, office and leisure facilities, which includes businesses like Way.

Dok Noord is a sprawling site, with Way on the western (Sint-Salvatorstraat) side. A network of narrow lanes runs between the tall, brick-built old factory buildings, one of which is home to Way. Although the address is Dok-Noord, an access road which runs along the southern side of the complex, Way is on the far (northern) side of the second building in from Sint-Salvatorstraat.

It occupies the northeast corner of the ground floor of the building, which has high ceilings and multiple windows, including in the internal walls, giving the café an immense sense of light and space. There’s limited outdoor seating in the form of a long, E-shaped set of benches running under the two sets of windows to the right of the door. Inside, Way is split into multiple rooms, starting with a large, open space which reminded me of a meeting room.

You can sit out here, where there’s a large, communal table in the centre, beyond which is a long table against the far wall. You can see roastery through the windows at the back, while the door to the main part of the café is accessed via a broad step on the right. The café runs the full length of Way’s part of the building, with the counter and a retail area at the front, while the bulk of the seating is at the back, sharing the space with the training area/showroom.

The retail shelves are either side of the door as you enter, while the counter, an interesting mix of tables and shelves, is straight ahead. A gap between the counter and the window to the right (where a corridor leads back to the toilets) leaves space for a five-person window-bar at the front and a pair of seats down the side of the counter. The remaining seating is at the back, starting with an eight-person communal table which runs at an angle of 45°, starting near the counter and going back and to the right.

A pair of armchairs is tucked into the corner to the right of the table, beyond which is a square, 10-person communal table. Meanwhile, on the left, a raised area has an L-shaped arrangement of tables along the front and left-hand sides which seats six, with a four-person table at the back. Finally, the rear portion of the café houses another 10-person communal table, a three-person bar along the back wall of the raised area and a combined showroom/training area for home espresso machines.

You can access the roastery from here through a door in the left-hand wall, but it’s invitation-only, so don’t just wander in! However, I did have an invitation, and you can read all about what I found out in my Meet the Roaster feature (once I’ve written it, that is). In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my impressions of my flat white, which I had while I was waiting for Ward.

In contrast to the Way Coffee & Book Shop, this was served in a proper cup and, having had the single-origin before, I went with the house espresso, the Brazil Bota Fora. Made with Oatly oat milk, this was lovely, rich and smooth, the classic chocolate notes of the coffee blending well with the milk.

www.way.gent +32 494 07 33 22
Monday 08:00 – 16:00 Roaster Way (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:00 Food Cake (vegan)
Thursday 08:00 – 16:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 16:00 Payment Card Only
Saturday CLOSED Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 20th March 2023

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