Well dressed, well spoken and a great barista. Here this Dutchman from Alkmaar tells us how he fell in love with coffee.
Even before Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters officially opened about 1 month ago it had already caused a wee stir in the local specialty coffee community. But, while owner Adam Craig runs around town attending to his two locations, Amsterdammer Florian Hessel looks after the daily needs of all local coffee lovers. Here’s his story.
Name: Florian Hessel
Home town: Amsterdam
Job: Formerly Head Barista at Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters
T: Florian, you look so sharp today. Were you expecting me to come in and take pictures of you?
F: (haha) No. I just woke up this morning and thought: “I feel like dressing up a bit.” Looks like the timing was good.
T: Where did you grow up?
F: I was actually born really close to here but spent most of my life in Alkmaar. Definitely not the most exciting place in Holland. When I started university I eventually moved back to Amsterdam and have been here ever since.
T: What was your coffee Eureka moment?
F: Actually, I had been working in a caffe at my university, serving coffee to hung over or stressed students. The quality of the coffee was pretty poor though and it was only when Stumptown had its pop up shop on the Albert Cuypstraat that I discovered what really good coffee could actually taste like. I remember I had an Espresso there and I was stupefied for a few moments, unable to process what was going on in my mouth. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted another Espresso like that, although the ones we make here get extremely close.
Once I was making a Cappuccino for some middle aged Dutch guy who said to me: “Oi, what you doing? I don’t want those stupid patterns in my coffee. They’re rubbish!”
T: How did you end up at Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters?
F: That was totally random. I was working at the Espressofabriek on Ijburg at the time and one day this guy came in and started asking all sorts of questions about the roasting profile and so on. It’s not every day that a customer wants to know those things so I was immeditaly like: “Who is this guy?” We ended up chatting a bit and he – Adam Craig – told me he had just moved here from New York and was trying to figure out what the standards of the local coffee scene were like. He gave me his card and before I knew it I was working here.
T: What’s been the reception you guys got here since you opened?
F: It’s been really amazing actually. I never realized how many expats live in Oud West. They’re the ones who come in and ask for a Flat White or an aeropress and I’ve often heard them say: “Thank god you guys are here. I was in desperate need of a good coffee.” But there’s also been quite a large amount of local Dutch people who come in and just ask for a coffee, not really knowing what the options are.
T: What’s been the funniest thing anyone has ever said to you here?
F: I once had this mid-forties Dutch guy come in and ask for a Cappuccino. As I was pouring the milk he said: “Oi, what you doing there? I don’t want those stupid patterns. They’re rubbish!” I was like: “Oh we always do that with milk based drinks.” “Nah, I don’t want any of that crap. Just pour in the goddam milk already.” I guess he truly was one of those no-nonsense kind of people.
T: How would you lure someone who doesn’t drink coffee into the world of coffee?
F: Hm… I would probably offer them a Flat White. It’s the perfect drink to start with I think. It tastes enough of coffee for you to get the real flavour but it’s also smooth because of the milk. Or, if they don’t like milk, I would just offer them a really nice filter. Make sure they get to smell the freshly ground coffee first. That often does the trick!
T: What’s your prediction for the local coffee scene for the coming 6 months?
F: I think there will be at least one more successful concept entering the stage. What that will be I don’t know but I also feel that some of the bigger chains might start reducing their presence. I know my friends over at ****** ******* are gonna hate me now but I think that’s where it’s going. People are becoming more and more conscious about what they put in their bodies and are starting to choose quality over brand names more and more. You see the same with places like De rollende keukens and Neighbourfood market. They’re not cheap! But here you can actually get a really decent cup of coffee for less than what you pay at the chains.
T: Finally, what’s your favourite way to drink coffee?
F: Definitely V60. I don’t do milk, haha.
Read our review of Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters here