Best of Amsterdam: Coffee & Chocolate Part 3

Koko: Coffee & Design

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Wandering around the central canal network of Amsterdam we found the perfect spot for a short respite on the unpronounceable l. Koko blurs the lines between that of a coffee shop, a workspace and a high end retail destination all with aplomb. Entering into the corridor shaped space we made our way down to the counter, trying not to get distracted by the fine looking clothes and artsy ceramics.

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Koko offer a range of origins all roasted by Caffenation, some offered as espresso and others as filter. Feeling a little adventurous we opted for the Indonesian Sulawesi brewed on V60 hoping for some slightly darker flavours. Having some time to wait for the coffee to brew, we browsed Koko’s design collections and took at seat on a table towards the back, admiring the curated arrangements of ornaments and stylish furniture filling the space.

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The coffee arrived with aromas of muddy earth and sweet chocolate, something I’ve stopped finding unusual in Indonesian coffee. To taste it developed flavours of white grapes and mandarin with a toffee like sweetness and a slightly alcoholic tone to it. It was exactly what we were looking for, for a change of pace. Before leaving we took another quick look around at all the exciting items inside.

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http://ilovekoko.com/

Oudezijds Achterburgwal 145
1012 DG Amsterdam

Dutch Homemade

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Heading into Haarlemmerstraat we couldn’t avoid popping into Dutch Homemade at the sight of their colourful macarons. Deciding to stop off for a quick indulgence on our way to the Coffee Company. Inside was a treasure trove of colour and so we attempted to pick out our favourites.

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That was before I got distracted by the shelves of chocolate behind me. Where in amongst some of flavoured bars I spotted an 80% Panama and having enjoyed plenty of Panamanian coffee, I was intrigued as to how the terroir crossed over to chocolate.

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Picking up a bar, we returned to selecting some macarons to take with us. The highlight was probably their passionfruit macaron, which was fruity, zingy and thoroughly refreshing.

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http://www.dutchhomemade.nl/

Haarlemmerstraat 122
1013 EX Amsterdam

Coffee Company

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There’s Coffee Companys all over Amsterdam, but as far as I could tell this was the only one selling Colombian geishas on their brewed menu and what’s more they were selling both a washed and a natural version.

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Taking up position on a corner of Haarlemmerdijk heading out of the centre as it begins to start getting a little quieter, Coffee Company looks like a somewhat functional coffee shop, with lots of seating appropriate for laptop wielding caffiene drinkers. Although there’s a good share of book readers and conversationalists in the mix too. Approaching the counter, we ordered both the washed and the natural geisha before taking up seats on the long communal table.

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Both coffees came from Café Granja La Esperanza a collection of farms in Valle Del Cauca, Colombia, with these particular geishas growing at the Cerro Azul farm. Brewed individually on aeropress the natural geisha arrived first with refined yellow fruit aromas, which surprised me a little, with most natural coffees headed in a red fruit direction.

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To taste the coffee was bright and transparent with a big smooth creamy body and flavours of mango and papaya. The stand out features, which come from a lot of quality geishas, were the refined balance and the clarity of flavour, which create a distinctive experience. Shortly afterwards the washed arrived.

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With more floral notes than the natural, the washed arrived with lighter more delicate aromas. To taste it was noticeably different, while retaining some core qualities, equally transparent, here were notes of elderflower and a mix of slightly sour floral and fruit notes. What was impressive about both of these coffees was the abundance of clear flavour that matched up with refined mouthfeel. It’s pretty clear while drinking them that the processing on the farm is done with particular attention and produces a clean aspect to their beans.

http://www.coffeecompany.nl/locations/haarlemmerdijk-62/

Haarlemmerdijk 62
1013 JE Amsterdam

Scandinavian Embassy

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Waking up the following morning we were in search of breakfast again and if we’re being honest we’d been saving Scandinavian Embassy for last, well aware of their reputation for food as well as coffee. Taking up some seats on the bar/chefs table we asked what coffees they had available on the brew menu. With a range of Scandinavian roasters available the barista brought out some pre weighed beans for us to smell, before making our choice.

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In the end we opted for a natural Ethiopian Kochere from Swedish roasters Per Nordby. While our barista set about brewing the coffee on V60, the chef took our order for blueberry porridge with yoghurt and a Scandinavian breakfast potato salad, which I could have sworn was called Skauss, but I’m unable to find anything on the internet to support this.

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Shortly afterwards our coffee arrived with strong raspberry and caramel aromas coming from a lovely brewing tea pot and supplied with some attractive porcelain cups. To taste there was raspberry and strawberry flavours on a base of dark chocolate with a sweet floral finish.

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Cooked in front of us, the food arrived without surprise and we began tucking in to the Skauss?, which was a warming mix of creamy potatoes with contrasting pickle flavours. Moving on to the blueberry porridge is was a light acidic style contrary to the thick and creamy Scottish porridge that we’re more used to. It reminded me how important berries are to Scandinavian cuisine for their tart sweet flavours. Bellys full and appropriately caffeinated we headed off to see some art, having enjoyed this little piece of Scandinavia in northern Europe.

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http://scandinavianembassy.nl/

Sarphatipark 34
1072 PB Amsterdam

Screaming Beans

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Perfectly located for a central cup of specialty coffee, it’s maybe not surprising that Screaming beans on Hartenstraat is often pretty busy, still we were passing by and we weren’t in any rush. Heading inside we took a look over the brew menu and opted for another natural Ethiopian, this time from Limu, before taking up some seats in the back.

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The brewing style is a little unusual here at Screaming Beans although I’m still unsure whether unusual is a good thing or not. They do, like many others, brew on V60 – although there are other brewing options available – but the unusual part comes when they brew it at the table for you. For the uniniated to brewing it offers you a chance to see coffee brewed up close and you get plenty of opportunity to smell the aromas coming off the coffee as it brews. For others it could feel a little strange or unnecessary with most coffee shops choosing to brew your coffee at the counter.

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As the coffee brewed it gave off familiar aromas of lime, marzipan and nuts, something I’ve experience before from the Limu region in Ethiopia and to taste there was sweet almond and sugary apple flavours with a big almost juicy body. Here Screaming beans feels like your busy central city café offering you a quick getaway from the surrounding main streets, something we didn’t hesitate to take advantage of.

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http://www.screamingbeans.nl/

Hartenstraat 12
1016 CB Amsterdam

 

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