The Netherlands’ annual coffeepalooza filled factory-turned-funhouse Westergasfabriek back in March 2017. Part trade show and part barista tournament, the 2017 Amsterdam Coffee Festival had plenty of comeback stands, brands, and old hands. Yet this year also seemed to offer better gender balance among participants, even more international visitors, and an officialized partnership between coffee and cocktails via the debut Mixologists competition (look for more coverage soon!)
1) Brewers Cup Championship
The first Dutch coffee contest winner for 2017 was… a Swede. Daniella Nyström is best known in these parts as a spritely barista and expert fermenter at Amsterdam cafe Scandinavian Embassy. For the title of Dutch Brewers Cup Champion, she used a washed Ethiopian Kochere roasted by Coffee Collective in Denmark. Skål!
2) Cup Tasters Championship
The book of Esther is full of awards and distinctions—including that of four-time national latte art champion—though this time Esther Maasdam was crowned Dutch Cup Tasters Champion. She was one of 32 contenders, and the final round was a nail-biter, with the fire engine-red manicured victress beating Laurent L’Ortye by only one correct guess.
3) Jar Coffea
Glass terrariums are hardly conducive to flying off shelves, but Amsterdam design firm Pikaplant seemed to have no struggle selling its Jar Coffea. The hermetically sealed biotope contains a single specimen of coffee—it’s eye-catching and self-watering!
4) Back To Black
Just over a year since their roasting operation began, Back to Black has, contrary to the Winehouse lyrics, not found its odds are stacked. The Amsterdam cafe was showcasing co-owner and roaster Inge Bulthuis’ varied output, now prolific enough to necessitate a new second location. Meanwhile on the competition floor, barista Sybilla Jimmink won the 2017 Louis Claus Award for local coffee industry up-and-comer.
5) Dutch Hand Coffee Grinding Championship
Stooker Roasting Co was so stoked about the Orphan Espresso LIDO 3, they hosted a hand coffee grinding contest to award one to the fastest pulverizer of 30 grams of a Kenyan Kangocho peaberry. The winner came in at 25.14 seconds.
6) Barista Championship
With characteristic warmth and humility, quadruple Irish barista champ Colin Harmon conferred the 2017 Dutch Barista Champion trophy onto Merijn Gijsbers. The freelancer from Eindhoven, who works under the name het Koffiegenootschap, came in sixth in the same competition last year. He thanked his coaches Ben Morrow and Esther Maasdam for helping him make the jump and roasting the Panamanian La Berlina Geisha that did the job.
7) JADE cups
From afar, they could be cupping bowls. On closer look, the white porcelain JADE cups designed by Eindhoven-based product developer Maarten Baptist appeared in three sizes and showed striking details: a two-tone Twizzler-effect band, a single polka dot, or words parsed from a, let’s say, coffee koan.
8) Tea Jam
Kiona Malinka kept an audience rapt during her Tea Jam, a 30-minute riff on Chinese and Japanese tea cultures and how they contrast with today’s Dutch drinking practices. A remarkably attentive little boy delighted in the comparison of his jacket’s color with that of her matcha bowl. Malinka’s Crusio Tea is headquartered in Bergen op Zoom, but the brand’s classy cylinders can be spotted at specialty cafes around the country.
9) Latte Art Championship
Winning this year’s Dutch Latte Art Championship marked a trifecta for Nick Vink, who works at restaurant H32 in Oss. Like the Netherlands’ new number one barista, Vink hails from the province of North Brabant, also famously home to Kees van der Westen and the Bossche bol.
10) Holy Cannoli
It was impossible not to smile at the pink banner reading: “We understand—coffee first! But can we just say cannoli second?” The reference was to a Dutch-created video knocking American exceptionalism that went viral after the US presidential inauguration and spawned copycat clips across the Schengen Area. And turns out, the cream-filled tube-shaped pastries that Dutch company Cannoli sells B2B are tasty, too. Viva l’Olanda!
Karina Hof is a Sprudge staff writer based in Amsterdam. Read more Karina Hof on Sprudge.