Now this is exciting. One of Sprudge’s favorite little coffee bars anywhere in the world—Scandinavian Embassy in Amsterdam’s De Pijp neighborhood—are working to expand their operations into a new space in Amsterdam Zuid, not far from the Amsterdam Convention Center (RAI Amsterdam), with an increased focus on baking, food, and takeaway service. Let’s learn more!
As told to Sprudge by Natalie Fiorenza.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Scandinavian Embassy is an intimate, specialty coffee cafe that opened in Amsterdam back in 2013. Here we are dedicated to bringing people together in a comfortable and relaxed setting, to enjoy artfully matched coffees from our favorite Scandinavian specialty roasteries, with Scandinavian-inspired seasonal food.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Over the past couple of years, it’s become increasingly evident that we really needed more space to meet the demands of our wonderful customers, as well as to be able to grow as a business and bring more of our ideas to life.
A little different from the original concept of our cafe, this new space will be our Scandinavian Embassy Bakery & Kitchen Lab. Here we will focus on increasing our production (for the cafe and the new location), and most excitingly for us, on experimenting more and expanding our range of baked goods and pastries on offer. The new space will also include a retail shopfront for products we usually serve at the cafe, a pastry and bread counter, and of course, expertly made coffees to go or enjoy in a corner of the shop.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our approach to coffee is all about excellence, and making more direct connections between coffee and food. We have long-running partnerships with a small number of diverse specialty coffee roasteries across Scandinavia—Coffee Collective, Koppi Fine Coffee Roasters, and Drop Coffee Roasters—and to best highlight these beautiful coffees, we offer various brewing methods day-to-day as well as seasonal specials.
Most importantly, we think a lot about what we offer on our food menu to get the most out of our coffees. We believe that Scandinavian roasts pair perfectly with food, and even use coffee as an ingredient in our dishes as often as we can!
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
The new location will only serve take-away coffee so along with speed and efficiency, we want to make the most of the short time we are interacting with people. The equipment we’ve chosen is a big part of us creating an open and welcoming space that showcases quality craftsmanship and inspires good conversation. We’re really excited to be installing Modbar’s AV under-counter system for espresso, whose design approach is the perfect match for us. A couple of Mahlkönig grinders, the EK43 and E80 supreme with built in Puqpress, will line up for the best grinding results. And for perfectly brewed filter coffee we’ll be using our 3Temp Hipster 1-Group Batch Brewer.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We take a multifaceted approach to sustainability and attempt to do as much as is feasible across various aspects of the business.
With the build-out itself, we have tried to keep as many original features of the building as possible and to work with the history and footprint of the original building whilst bringing our vision to life. This meant restoring instead of replacing things wherever possible, like the gorgeous terrazzo flooring. Where new materials have been used everything has been carefully considered and we’ve chosen as many natural and sustainable materials as possible. Opting for lime wash paint on the walls, environmentally certified Swedish pine for the floors, and even a low emission floor primer and topcoat.
In keeping with the eco-friendly roots of Scandinavian cuisine, we trace small, niche suppliers and work with foraged ingredients to ensure our menu changes seasonally based on what products are in their prime and locally available. We also think it’s important to be creative with the food and drink we offer to limit waste and get the most out of ingredients.
We work with small roasteries that are committed to sustainability in their own practices, and compost all of our coffee grounds. We also only offer two milk options to reduce our carbon footprint; cow milk and oat milk. We work with MOMA, a local cow milk supplier that provides us milk in large buckets (we have an under-counter milk fridge/dispenser) to limit plastic packaging. And we always order our oat milk from Dryk per standard pallet load to limit transportation emissions.
We use recyclable and compostable packaging for our take away items wherever possible, and as a team we are committed to conserving energy and water wherever possible in simple, routine ways throughout our day. For instance turning off the oven and proofing cabinet when not in use and only running our dishwasher when it’s full.
We’re also lucky to be located in Amsterdam, a city that’s fully committed to energy transition and the recycling of resources!
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
This is still TBD. We have just moved our bakery and pastry production to the new space, however we don’t envision opening to the public until sometime after the summer.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
The short answer is “sort of.” The building was originally built in the ’30s and has the most beautiful terrazzo floors, large windows, and high ceilings. We wanted to treat these original features, which are steeped in history, with the utmost respect and care, whilst making the space functional for us. Daniella Nystrom (part-owner) has a passion for visualizing and designing spaces in search of combining harmony and functionality, she’s been in charge of designing and planning this build-out. We made the decision to work with experts for certain aspects of the fit-out as it was important for us that the work was of high quality, particularly with regards to restorations. We were lucky to find a firm that fit us in in their busy big projects building schedule in a time when construction workers were extremely busy in Holland.