We're deep in the throes of work on the second edition of AMSTERDAM the gloobles guide, and we've even secretly begun research for our second book (keep your eyes peeled for which city it'll be!). And with so much going on, we're busier & more exhausted than ever. In order to keep go-go-going, we need a little help. Otherwise, we'd be falling asleep on our laptops just about every day.
When it's time for just such a pick-me-up and we're knocking about the Grachtengordel, we love to pop into Bocca. The space is stunning, the coffee is fantastic and the vibes are even better. We chatted with Bocca's very own Menno Simons to find out all the juicy details. Keep reading to find out more!
gloobles: Hi Menno! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let's start at the beginning. How did Bocca come into being?
Menno: I started The Roastery in my garage in the Jordaan in 2001 to feed my curiosity & desire to learn & understand coffee better. I love quality in general, so it's natural that I look for it in my coffee as well. That passion for quality is in our DNA. It's also evident in my other green coffee sourcing company, Trabocca, that sells specialty green beans to high end roasters worldwide. The Café is a place where we bring all knowledge & our ‘lust for life’ together; it is a training centre, café, retail space and beautiful place to organise events.
gloobles: It wears many hats! Speaking of the space, we love how airy & warm it is despite the industrial leanings. What was the vision behind the design?
Menno: In designing the Kerkstraat (the Bocca experience), we wanted to show our customers how we feel - insightful & inspired, silly & serious. We love what we do, & we wanted it to show. We like quality & style, pure & natural products without the bullshit. When you enter the place it gives a relaxed vibe, but you feel we know what we're doing. From a design perspective, we wanted to create a slightly overwhelming & inarguably inspiring experience with an international touch. For the materials/colours, we were inspired by our travels & by the beauty of nature. We envisaged a space that would show the variety of styles & approaches in high end, quality coffee. Education & exploration of roasting styles, brew methods & coffee approach is the (main) aim.
gloobles: That's a great way to put it. It's sort of jaw-dropping when you walk in, but it's still down to earth. How would you describe the concept of Bocca to someone who’s never been? What sets it apart from other cafes?
Menno: The Kerkstraat is an alternate reality. It's place where our customers can step out of the rat race, a place where we invite people to slow down, to disconnect in order to connect. The place is light & spacious (we have windows on both sides, which is unique for Amsterdam. The size is also unique for A’dam. It is a vibrant & inclusive place where a dedicated family of service professionals work tirelessly to give our customer something special every day. The vibrant community & friendly faces are our hallmark. It's a place that produces only exceptional local & international products (+ people) in an unbiased & educational form. It is a platform for establishing connections and creating relationships. It's a combination of passion, style, quality, people & relaxed atmosphere.
gloobles: It's pretty rare to have the level of finesse you guys do while still being accessible & friendly, so you guys have done a fantastic job. Tell us a bit more about the types of coffee you guys sell.
Menno: We have 3 different lines of coffee: the Goldline (soon available, super special, limited availability), the Red Special line (the highest quality we can find) and the Green Line (very high quality but easier to drink, less complex, just to enjoy great coffee as it should be).
gloobles: Do you have a go-to bean?
Menno: We source with Trabocca all our own beans from around the world. We have many great projects in different countries. Everything is quality-focused & agronomy-focused, but we also have social projects we focus on - building schools & clinics as well as a great stove project for farmers (Ethiopia & Kenya).
gloobles: That's so wonderful you're giving back to these communities that make your business what it is! We love that. What’s your favourite order at Bocca?
Menno: A great Ethiopian Drip coffee or double espresso naked filter.
gloobles: Yum! And how about the best thing to pair with coffee?
Menno: My wife.
gloobles: You've really carved out a special place in the industry here in Amsterdam with the cafe on the Kerkstraat. Would you guys open a second location?
Menno: We could do, but it is not our core business. We want to reach more people with amazing coffee through our Roastery. We do get many requests though, so you never know.
gloobles: We'll keep crossing our fingers. If you could share a cup of coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be & why?
Menno: Richard Branson. He's an enterpreneur without too much ego, & he seems like a nice, interesting man who enjoys life.
gloobles: Definitely! Alright, last question. Where do you see Bocca in ten years?
Menno: We need to grow & become better in everything we do. We need to keep innovating, to reach more people & stay true to our hearts. We want to make a difference in an honest yet challenging way.