After blogs about Singapore, Hong Kong, Peru and so much more, it’s time to blog about The Netherlands. This time it’s about De Koffiemolen in Alkmaar.
I have been writing about the biggest, prettiest and best coffee hotspots all over the world for a couple of months now. Recently a colleague of mine asked me why I didn’t write about The Netherlands. Coffee culture is booming in The Netherlands and I was all but forgetting to write about it. Time for me to visit a coffee hotspot near my home town: De Koffiemolen Alkmaar.
De Koffiemolen Alkmaar
Most of you will know about the amazing city of Amsterdam, but few of you ever heard about Alkmaar. Alkmaar is located north of Amsterdam and is a growing prospering city. Alkmaar has an old monumental city-centre and is mostly famous for it’s cheese-market. After this blog Alkmaar will also be famous for another thing: De Koffiemolen Alkmaar (ahem). A coffee hotspot owned by Roelof Pieters and Jacqueline van Koert. I heard about De Koffiemolen via Instagram and my interest was peaked when I saw some nice pictures passing by. Since Alkmaar is only 30 minutes away by bicycle from my house, it was a no-brainer that I should drop by some day. So why not today?
De Koffiemolen Alkmaar: come into our world
For me it is always a bit awkward to introduce myself as The Coffee Attendant. I’m in no way a celebrity in the world of coffee and I will not be one for a long time. I am not not aspiring to be a celebrity either by the way. So each time I have to tell the people what I do, and why I am visiting the place. Sometimes the conversations start off slow, but this time was not one of those times. When I introduced myself to Roelof Pieters, it felt like I opened up a door and got invited inside. Before I knew it co-owner Jacqueline van Koert and Cilia (not an official barista but she can make a mean pour-over!) joined in on the conversation. It soon became apparent that De Koffiemolen was build on a dream rather than on a concept.
De Koffiemolen Alkmaar: How it came to be
Owners Roelof and Jacqueline had been working in the insurance business for years. It had been their dream to have a business of their own one day. When they finally decided to pursue that dream, they had no clue as to what kind of business they wanted to run. Roelof had studied at a university similar to Le Cordon Bleu in London, but never pursued in that direction. Roelof eventually became head of the sales department for an insurance company. Jacqueline studied at Nyenrode Business University and had been working in the field of socially responsible entrepreneurship. You can imagine that their first idea’s for a business of their own wasn’t about coffee at all. When they idea of a coffee shop popped up, it fit perfectly with the dream Roelof and Jacqueline had had for many years. That dream was a place where people can enjoy themselves and work in a care-free environment with a positive vibe. Now they added quality coffee to that dream.
In June 2017 Roelof and Jacqueline had the official grand opening of De Koffiemolen Alkmaar. Together with Bocca Coffee Roasters they serve first class quality coffee and offer official Barista courses as well. In accordance to their dream, the staff working at De Koffiemolen Alkmaar are people who have a passion for coffee and a passion for people. It sounds a bit cheesy but it took this coffee shop only five minutes to make that clear.
De Koffiemolen Alkmaar: as good as it’s staff
I should have done some more research before I visited De Koffiemolen because I didn’t have a clue what was on the menu when Roelof asked me what I wanted to drink. After telling me that they were serving a Brazilian and a Ethiopian bean, I asked if they had Yirgacheffe on filter. Roelof told me that the filter coffee would soon be on the menu, but that they did not want to rush things too quickly so soon after opening this coffee shop. It was Cilia, the Barista on duty that day, who surprised us both when she told us she could make me a pour-over with Yirgacheffe. Chance had it that she brought her own batch of beans and was willing to make me a pour-over even though it was not on the menu. It tasted great! Talking about staff with passion for coffee and people.
De Koffiemolen Alkmaar: It’s gonna happen here
Now I know this is not something that happens on a daily basis, but it does show the kind of environment Roelof and Jacqueline have created for their staff. When talking about the environment Roelof and Jacqueline created for their customers the first thing that comes to mind is the word living room. The interior is set up in a cosy way with natural materials such as wood and plants. The three story building gives room to both people who want to enjoy a cup of coffee, and also for people to work away from the office. Roelof created a space on the first floor where you can work away from home or the office. De Koffiemolen Alkmaar also houses a small training-centre on the first and second floor. Jacqueline told me about an American visitor who travels the world and stopped by for a coffee. He told her something that I totally support: De Koffiemolen Alkmaar is a unique place and one thing is for sure; it’s gonna happen here!
De Koffiemolen Alkmaar
Alkmaar, The Netherlands