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Where to find a good cup of coffee in Amsterdam

DutchAmsterdam.nl — There are lots of places throughout Amsterdam where you can get a good (or even great) cup of coffee.

Whether it’s served in a huge, American-style mug (less common), a cup that seems entirely too small (quite common), or something halfway in between (very common), more often than not you get served a pleasant brew.

After all, the Dutch have taken their coffee seriously ever since Dutch traders were the first to capture the world market for the beans. They got acquainted with coffee as soon as the Venetians imported it, and as early as 1614 the Dutch established coffee trading agreements with the Arabs.

The Dutch were also the first to plant coffee in their colonies, first in Ceylon and later in Java as well — soon making ‘Java’ a household term for good coffee.

Get off the tourist trail

't Loosje

‘t Loosje at Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam
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To find good coffee in Amsterdam you have to follow the traveler’s mantra: get off the beaten path. Or, more precisely, get off the tourist trail — since you do want to follow the beaten path to the places the locals favor.

In Amsterdam (as elsewhere in Holland), that means you don’t drink coffee at such places as MacDonald’s, restaurants and street side caf&@33;’s where you see more tourists than locals, and most outfits that look like franchise stores. (There are a few exceptions to the latter — notably Julia’s, an Italian eatery you’ll find at Amsterdam Central Station and other train stations in the Netherlands. Decent fast-food pasta and satisfyingly good coffee).

Whatever you do, stay away from Starbucks. In our opinion as coffee lovers this late-comer to the Dutch coffee scene is just not up-to-par.

Finding good coffee in Amsterdam is as easy as finding a brown café or a coffee house (Koffie Huis) frequented primarily by locals.

That means leaving the main drags and squares (where you often end up paying premium prices for anything and everything on order) in favor of side streets, back streets and the like. Of course here, too, you’ll find exceptions — including ‘t Loosje at Nieuwmarkt.

In many neighborhoods you’ll find plenty of small café’s, canal-side terraces and small eateries where the brew served helps you understand why nowadays the Dutch rank fifth in the world when it comes to yearly per capita consumption of coffee.

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This post was last updated: Apr. 28, 2011