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Dutch coffee dreams: The Netherlands’ rising coffee scene

From the September 2012 issue.

Ahead of the Amsterdam edition of the European Coffee Symposium, GCR takes a look at how modern trends are fitting into the Netherlands' coffee history, and why the market shows such ample opportunity. 

The coffee trade is nothing new to the Dutch. Dating back to the 17th century, the Netherlands has a long history in the coffee trade, with the Dutch West India Company playing a central role in bringing beans grown in exotic locations to Europeans.

In terms of the country’s specialty coffee scene, however, only in the last decade has the Netherlands seen a trickling of third wave cafés arrive on the scene. Jonathan Tao, from the Dutch-based coffee chain Doppio Espresso, says that recent years have seen that trickling turn into a wave, with an onslaught of domestic coffee chains on the market. Although still behind their British European peers, Tao says the market shows vast potential for growth.

“If you look at Holland 10 years ago, there was no third wave scene at all, the cafés just didn’t exist,” Tao says. “People would drink coffee either at home or at the workplace.”

Tao explains that this sudden taste for quality coffee followed the release of single-serve systems on the market. He says this changed people’s perspective, opening their eyes to quality coffee.

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