Oh, boy. I'm pretty sure all the blood in my system has been replaced by coffee at this point in my life.
I love coffee. Yes, I'm aware it doesn't make me any different from anyone else. But in my move from Austin, Texas to Amsterdam, I've become aware of a few things that have changed.
In Austin, I used to buy my coffee at Texas Coffee Traders on the East Side. It had entire WALLS of coffee, which was great! Also, you can ask for help with their lovely colleagues. I would always buy a few different types, of which included a blend that is office friendly, something chocolatey, or something more light and citrus-y. If I didn't buy it at TCT, I went to H-E-B. Yes, it is a supermarket. But it also had a great selection.
When out, I had a laundry list of great spots. However, my tops are:
-Houndstooth. They, to this day, have the best espresso I have ever tasted. Also, it sits next door to a taco place--what's not to love? The most perfect Texas morning begins with damn good coffee and 2 perfectly balanced tacos with some HOT salsa. My stomach cries in remembrance of the tacos I left behind.
-Medici. Also amazing coffee, and a convenient location next to my alma mater, UT. I first fell in love with coffee at Medici, and I will never look back. This cafe was the start of many friendships, study groups, and a wonderful short-lasting friendship with my French professor who felt disconnected from his surrounds away from his home. As an expat, I finally understand that after all these years and I hope you feel better now.
-Halycon. The coffee was always dependable, but what stood out were the memories. Because my friends and I were too young to actually go out to the clubs or bars at the time (drinking age in Texas is 21), we hung out at Halcyon drinking bountiful amounts of coffee late into the night, eating s'mores (yes, you can legitimately order s'mores at your table), and watching far too many couples breakup at the cafe. It was all tragically poetic.
Not in Austin, but in the deep south of Texas. Grind Coffee Co. is owned by a near and dear long-time friend of mine. I am not biased, just check their reviews online. He combined a love for pan dulce y cafecito and has a great thing going. Hands down the best coffee in all of South Texas, and I'm always excited to grab a coffee and catch up when I'm back home.
In Amsterdam, things are different but the coffee is still quite solid: Cafes here are incredibly trusting. You don't get charged until you're done with your stay. I find that strange, but it's honestly heartwarming. I typically buy my coffee from a friend who is a roaster in Noord--it's a 7 minute bike ride to his place by Expocafe Zamen (who use his beans), and it's quite nice to sit outside and watch the ferry go across the Ij on nice days. As for cafes--there are a million and 1 places here that I will never get around to, but thus far I've enjoyed:
-Filter [CLOSED] They had the most amazing red velvet cake of your life; it still haunts me. Their coffee was always great, and you got a cookie or piece of cake with your coffee order (a lot of places here do this; not a thing in Texas). I'm sad they closed--I've had great memories taking Couchsurfers there before heading to the Waterloo markt, meeting friends for coffee and impromptu picnics, or generally working in a nice setting.
-Back to Black. They take their coffee seriously. I love getting an espresso macchiato from them, and it's in such an accessible area of Amsterdam if you plan on being out and about shopping or browsing the city streets.
-Scandinavian Embassy. What the heck is going on at this place? It's so wonderful. When I first went to meet friends, a friend ate a second breakfast that day as she looked over at people's plates. I wish I was her that day. Her eyes opened wide and she proclaimed it to be the best thing she's ever eaten. And their Scandinavian coffee is phenomenal; personally, it's hard for me to get just one drink. The coffee is entirely from Nordic roasters, and it will probably be the best coffee of your life.
I love coffee no matter where I go; my mom makes such a simple, homey coffee but the love she puts into preparing my coffee warms my heart and I love knowing that there are people out there dedicated to doing that for others as a livelihood. Always go for good coffee.
And as always, if your cafe has appeltaart, get the appeltaart.