Vr. 09 - Zon. 11 Maart 2018 | Westergasfabriek

Newest Amsterdam Coffee Hotspot: White Label Coffee. White Label is joining us at ACF.

Source: http://thecoffeevine.com/2014/03/10/white-label-amsterdam-nl/

From now on it’s “bye bye” to bad coffee in De Baarsjes

It’s always very exciting when a promising coffee place opens near your house. I’ve mentioned before that Amsterdam’s West is currently the most happening area with regards to specialty coffee and to my delight we’re nowhere near maximum capacity yet. In fact it’s still only just getting started.

When my friend Franscesco Grassotti, formerly barista at Espressofabriek and Quartier Putain, first ran his idea by me a few months ago I wasn’t quite sure what “White Label” would become. I think at that point he was still trying to work it out himself. Then there was a bit of radio silence. Fast forward a few months and White Label was starting to take shape. The location was found, the logo was designed and vital elements like the gorgeous Kees van der Westen Spirit were ordered. I bumped into Francesco a few times along the way and each time he could barely contain his excitement. As I am currently also going through the motions of starting my own business after having broken free of the corporate world I could totally relate to what he was going through. There is of course always a degree of anxiety and nervousness. Will it work out? Will people come? Will I be able to do it? Personally, I had no doubt that White Label would be a hit. Now I just had to go check it out.

A few weeks ago I was invited to come in for a first “viewing” prior to the offical opening on Saturday 1st of March. I didn’t research the exact location on Google maps before setting off as I was curious to discover by bike where he and his partner Elmer Oomkens had decided to set up shop. Jan Evertsenstraat and De Baarsjes in general are still a bit of unchartered territory with regards to good coffee and more upmarket shops but as many other parts of the city nowhere is any longer out of bounds. I was indeed surprised to find White Label almost directly facing Mercatorplein, a large empty square that reminds you more of East Berlin’s Soviet achitecture than anything to do with Amsterdam.

Nestled inbetween a few highstreet shops, White Label immediately wows you with its high ceilings, minimalist interior and slightly unexpected raised platform that acts as the coffee working station and as a sort of partition between the shop’s front and back. When I walked in, Francesco was busy cutting out labels while Elmer was working on the Espresso machine. “Well what do you think?” Francesco asked. “Wow. This is really not what I expected. It’s great! I love how different this is,” I proclaimed and I was not even exaggerating to make a compliment. White Label’s lay out is odd, yes but don’t you just love things that don’t swim along with the mainstream?

Francesco and Elmer both started their coffee careers at Dutch outfit Brandmeesters before moving on to Espressofabriek where they began drafting their entrepreneurial collaboration. White Label’s minimalistic look and feel has to do with the philosophy that drives the business. For Francesco and Elmer it was important to start with a clean slate and to create a space free from any premonitions. “A carte blanche if you like,” as Elmer explained during my second visit.

I think this idea also applies rather nicely if you look at the customers that they attract. Not just coffee junks like you and me but random passers by who are discovering great coffee for the first time. The large street level windows allow for a perfect view of all those curious faces that walk by, stop and stare and in some cases walk in to ask what this is all about. A carte blanche indeed.

For the two gents it was very important to blend into the local fabric, which is why they decided to approach the Jan Evertsenstraat winkelstraatvereniging – Dutch for shop owners cooperative – first to find out whether their concept would actually be welcome here. Before they knew it they had been given the space and they were on their way to create the first specialty coffee shop around Mercatorplein and incidentally less than a 5 minute cycle from my house. What more could you ask for? Well a great little coffee place in the same building as my house would be great but let’s not get greedy just yet.

At this stage Francesco and Elmer are still roasting their coffees at Espressofabriek but in due course they will start roasting on site as well. They don’t use blends to make their coffees, instead sticking to the freshest single origin coffees they can get their hands on. Currently all Espresso-based drinks are made using a washed Ethiopian Sidamo or a Indonesian Sumatra Blue Batak. For filter they have a number of other coffees on offer and they also do a lot of the cake-baking in house. As I write this piece Elmer is chopping up butter for a hand-made apple pie.

Although it’s still early beginnings for the two coffee geeks White Label is certainly going to help change the coffee landscape in this part of town and that’s something anyone should welcome with open arms, right?

Basic info:

Opening times: Mo – Fr: 8 – 18, Sa – Su: 10 – 18
Address: Jan Evertsenstraat 136, 1056EK Amsterdam
Connect: Facebook, Twitter
Price check: Espresso €2,50 (double) / Flat White €3
Espresso machine: Kees van der Westen Spirit
Coffees on offer: various Espresso and filter roasts
Milk: Arla biological milk
Free Wifi: Yes
 
From now on it’s “bye bye” to bad coffee in De Baarsjes
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