The Sprudge Maps Spotlight series does a lot of heavy lifting for us here at Sprudge Media Network. It allows us to shine a nice big spotlight on cool cafes around the world; it gives those cafes the opportunity to tell us more about what makes them special, and share beautiful photography of their spaces; and it encourages more coffee bar operators to sign up for the Sprudge Maps program, a free, global compendium of the very best coffee bars around the planet.
But there's also one secret, arguably more important purpose for the Sprudge Maps Spotlight series, and that's the thrill of vicarious travel. Let's take it one step further: one year into this damn endless global panini, we are so absolutely stir-crazy and we miss travel beyond the beyond. Today's spotlight takes us to Amsterdam, which is home to Lot61 Coffee, and is also just absolutely one of the most interesting, beautiful, delicious, endlessly walkable and explorable cities on the planet.
Someday soon we'll go there again. Until then, we have Sprudge Maps Spotlight. We spoke digitally with Lot61 Head Barista Dani Bordiniuc to learn more.
This story appears as part of our Sprudge Maps Spotlight series. Want your cafe to be considered for a Sprudge Maps Spotlight? All you have to do is register your shop for Sprudge Maps, our user-driven compendium of coffee shops around the globe. And the best part is, it’s completely free! Sign up today!
This interview has been gently edited and condensed.
Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!
We're a roastery and cafe established six years ago in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We have a multinational team and a laid back vibe. We serve a mix of both blends and single origins, good tunes, and fresh goods from local bakeries.
What equipment do you use in your shop?
We usually have the heavy lifter, a gorgeous three-group Kees van der Westen Spirit, to which we also added a two-group La Marzocco Linea Classic to keep up with the current takeaway demand. For espresso, we just upgraded our grinders to Mahlkönig E80 Supreme and for filter we have an EK43. Our filter coffee comes out of a 3TEMP Hipster batch brewer.
Which roaster or roasters do you serve?
We source and roast our own coffees. We have a bunch of signature blends which you will always find on our shelf and single origins which we constantly rotate depending on season. At the moment, for espresso, we have an easygoing mainstay blend (pulped-natural Brazil and washed Guatemala), which tastes great on its own or in combination with milk, and the same Guatemala but served as a single origin. On filter, we're currently rocking two washed coffees (Colombia and Kenya) and a natural Ethiopia.
What is the neighborhood like where you're located? What's some other cool stuff nearby?
Old West is a dynamic neighborhood where locals, expats and tourists all converge. There are lots of small businesses and boutiques around, including bars and restaurants, an eclectic food hall (which back in the day used to be a tram depot) and a local market nearby. City center and the picturesque canals are just a short walk away.
Did you close during a mandated Coronavirus shutdown, and if so, for how long?
Following the government's announcement, we closed our cafe for about two weeks. Once we changed the bar flow and trained the staff, we reopened for takeaway only.
How has Coronavirus impacted daily work at your cafe?
Regardless of current restrictions, we remain committed to the same level of quality for our coffees and service. We work tightly together to provide feedback between the cafe and the roastery, and maintain consistency.
We usually have benches outside for everyone to relax and our cafe has become a popular meeting place in the neighborhood. We of course do miss the vibe of welcoming everyone and catching up with our regulars. Considering it's only allowed takeaway at the moment, the flow has changed and it's slightly more fast paced. And we're missing a lot of the tourists! We have visitors coming from all over the world and this makes it very special.
But this period has also provided a great opportunity for customer education, brewing advice and talking through our coffees. Since most people are working from home now and many have upgraded their coffee setup, they now not only come for takeaway but also for their weekly supply of freshly roasted coffee beans.
What's something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?
Many of our customers don't know where “61” comes from. It's Australia's country code since the owners are from Sydney. Makes for a great conversation and a nice surprise for the visitors coming from the “Land Down Under.” :-)
Photos courtesy of Lot61, used with permission