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.
On my way home after my trip to Amsterdam in March, I spent a quiet week visiting friends in Ghent. It was very low key, but I did wander around the city centre a few times and, naturally, I checked out the local coffee scene with the help of European Coffee Trip. While I didn’t have time to explore as much as I would have liked, I found myself drawn to Way on Voldersstraat, right in the heart of the old city.
Way is a roaster with three very different coffee shops in the city. The one on Voldersstraat is an interesting place, serving takeaway coffee (but with outside seating) while also acting as a retail shop, selling both beans and home coffee equipment. And to cap it all, there’s a bookshop upstairs, with an eclectic collection, centred around coffee and sustainable living.
When it comes to the coffee, there are two single-origins on espresso, with all the shots pulled on a Modbar system. There are also multiple single-origins on pour-over, Way using the Modbar automated system with the V60. Finally, there’s a selection of cakes and pastries, all baked in-house with the added twist that Way is entirely plant-based/vegan.
Returning to the theme of speciality coffee in the centre of Amsterdam, another newcomer is Priesthood, which opened in 2021 and occupies a prime spot directly opposite Amsterdam’s central station. Even better for me, it was around the corner from where I was working, which made it a regular haunt during afternoon coffee break, along with a variety of my colleagues.
Priesthood is unusual amongst speciality coffee shops in that it is run by volunteers, part of a non-profit, Christian-led community space which is part bookshop (ground floor), art gallery (first floor) and, of course, coffee shop. Although the counter is next to the door, you’re welcome to take a seat on the nearby sofa or head upstairs, where you’ll find various chairs, tables and a bench along the window at the front, offering views of the station.
Priesthood uses local Amsterdam roasters, with Uncommon providing a single-origin espresso and a choice of beans on pour-over from either Friedhats or Rum Baba Coffee Roasters. Even the milk is special, coming from ElkeMelk, a local dairy where each bottle is from a single cow, while the oat milk is also locally produced by ROA. Finally, there’s a small selection of cakes/pastries.
Public Space is another Amsterdam Coffee Spot that came highly recommended by various people, with the added bonus that it is a rare speciality coffee outpost north of the River IJ. Public Space is also unusual in that it is a restaurant serving speciality coffee, rather than a coffee shop serving great food. Public Space is open in the morning/afternoon for coffee and lunch (although a breakfast service is coming soon) before re-opening in the evening for a full dinner menu.
Occupying part of the ground floor of a very modern high-rise building in a new development (which is still under construction), Public Space is, as the name might suggest, very spacious, with a small outdoor seating area, and much more inside, where coffee shop style seating (sofas, armchairs) mixes with tables for more formal dining.
I can’t speak to the restaurant/dinner side of Public Space, having only visited once, on a Sunday lunchtime. However, even though it’s a restaurant rather than a coffee shop, Public Space more than holds its own when it comes to coffee, with a single-origin from Manhattan Coffee Roasters on espresso, another on daily batch brew, and multiple options on pour-over through the Tricolate brewer.
Other than a brief visit to old friends Black Gold, the first stop on my return to Amsterdam last month was Sango. Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic city centre on Stromarkt, a stone’s throw from the station, Sango is a relatively new addition, having opened since my previous visit in 2018. Spread over three floors of a beautiful building, dating from 1670, there’s a roastery and equipment showroom in the basement, with the counter and limited seating on the ground floor and more seating upstairs, all connected via a tight, winding spiral staircase. You’ll probably also meet Mocha, the resident coffee shop dog, who has her own spot at the front by the espresso machine.
While the building is worth a visit in its own right, the coffee is just as big a draw. Everything is roasted on the 1.5 kg roaster in the basement, which you can see through a glass panel in the floor, or (more typically) on a 15 kg Giesen in a dedicated off-site roastery. Serving only single-origins, there’s a choice of espresso, batch brew filter or two options on pour-over using the Origami filter. There’s also cake, pastries and a range of toasted sandwiches.
Hummingbird was a new name to me in Amsterdam’s growing speciality coffee scene, having opened since my previous visit in 2018. However, it came highly recommended, being on almost everyone’s must-visit list when I started asking around. Located on the pedestrianised Spuistraat, close to Amsterdam’s historic centre, I made two brief visits, both in keeping with Hummingbird’s nature as an espresso bar rather than a fully-fledged sit-down coffee shop.
That said, you are welcome to stay (if you can find a seat, that is). In all, a dozen plastic stools are arranged around various window bars and counters, while outside there are another six of the stools along with a bench which runs along under the window. The real draw, however, is the coffee, with a bespoke house-blend all the way from Onyx Coffee Lab in Arkansas. This is joined by more coffee from Onyx, plus a pair of guest roasters, with filter options including batch brew (through the Moccamaster) and pour-over via the V60. Oh, and you’ll find Amsterdam’s first Modbar on the counter.
Screaming Beans is a well-known name in Amsterdam’s speciality coffee scene, having been roasting in the city for over 10 years. However, its coffee shop on Amstelstraat, a stone’s throw from the famous Rembrandtplein, is a relative newcomer, having only opened at the start of the year, joining the original on Runstraat and a more recent addition on the nearby Utrechtsestraat.
The coffee shop occupies part of the ground floor of a non-descript concrete building, its broad front consisting almost entirely of windows. Inside, it’s a surprisingly cosy spot, enlivened by multiple potted plants, with the counter at one end and the seating arranged around a central communal table at the other.
When it comes to coffee, Screaming Beans’ Whisper blend is in the hopper, joined by a single-origin option, currently the Ocotepeque, a naturally-processed organic coffee from Honduras. These are served from a concise menu, all the shots pulled on the iconic Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine, while for filter, there are single-origins on batch brew and pour-over via the V60. If you’re hungry, there’s a range of cakes and pastries, along with a small savoury selection, all in a display cabinet facing you as you enter.
I didn’t have very long to explore Amsterdam’s speciality coffee scene when I visited the city for the World of Coffee in June, but I noticed that the majority of places are outside of the centre, often to the south or west. In contrast, Black Gold, on a quiet, residential street, is just a short walk east of the red light district, making it one of the more easily-accessible speciality coffee shops for those on a more traditional tourist itinerary.
Black Gold is both a coffee shop and vinyl record shop, part of a small band of such establishments around the world. The front is given over the vinyl, although there is some seating and you are welcome to sit there with your coffee. Alternatively, there are a few more seats in the spacious rear of the shop. When it comes to coffee, Black Gold uses local roasters White Label Coffee, with a single-origin on espresso, where it’s joined by a guest roaster. There are also three single-origins on filter through V60, Aeropress, cafetiere and batch-brew, with the same single-origin guest espresso also available as one of the filter options, an innovation which only started in June.