We're not quite sure how it happened, but here we are again in Amsterdam, in a lockdown. Our beloved restaurants & bars have now closed again for (hopefully) just a few weeks. With everything grinding to a halt, we want to support the places we love more than ever. One of the places that's nearest & dearest to our hearts is our neighbourhood café, Back to Black. Luckily, this adorable little spot is still up & running for takeaway, so we can still grab our morning lattes & banana bread to take with us on our morning strolls.
We had a lovely chat with the wonderful owners, Noortje & Inge, to find out everything about our go-to cafe. Keep reading to find out all the juicy details!
gloobles: Hi guys! We can hardly believe everything has shut down again, but we're so thrilled you're still up & running for takeaway. Let's start at the beginning of your story. Tell us about the journey to opening Back to Black.
Noortje & Inge: We’ve known each other since we were 11 & 12 years old. We both didn’t like our office jobs, so one day, Inge asked Noortje if she wanted to open a coffee bar with her in Amsterdam, & she said yes.
gloobles: Amazing that you just fearlessly dove into another life. The space is so sweet & cosy. What was the vision behind the design?
Noortje & Inge: We opened up our first shop right after the crisis. Getting financed was quite a struggle, but we managed by setting up a crowdfunding campaign. My dad (Inge) had a woodmill, so we used a lot of wood. We also love wood anyway. We wanted to give the place a very homey feeling & we built a lot of stuff ourselves to save money. By building stuff yourself, you automatically make the place more unique.
gloobles: Too true! It feels like a family cabin almost. How would you describe the concept of Back to Black to someone who’s never been? What sets it apart from other cafes?
Noortje & Inge: Even though we didn’t have that much money when we started Back to Black, we spent a lot of money on the coffee equipment. We had very high standards & wanted to be a specialty coffee bar without going for this sleek, modern interior that most specialty coffee bars aim for. I think this sets us apart from other cafes.
gloobles: Absolutely. You are marching to the beat of your own drum. Do you have a go-to bean?
Noortje & Inge: Not at all.. you have so many countries, varieties, ways of processing. I do, for example, have some farmers who I think do an awesome job, but then they can still have a year with bad weather conditions resulting in beans that aren't as great as the year before. It’s always a search for that green bean that had the best conditions that season & was farmed & processed well so that it tastes great.
gloobles: It's a dynamic process. You have to evolve as the beans evolve. What’s your favourite order at Back to Black?
Noortje & Inge: Everything ;)
gloobles: Us too! What’s your favourite thing to pair with coffee?
Noortje & Inge: Chocolate.
gloobles: A match made in heaven. Could you describe your typical customer?
Noortje & Inge: I think we have amazing customers. Most of our clients see the effort that goes into ensuring quality & sustainability, & they support us in this. I think & hope that a lot of customers feel at home at Back to Black & feel part of the Back to Black family.
gloobles: We know we certainly do. If you could share a cup of coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be & why?
Noortje & Inge: I would like to share a cup of coffee with James Hoffmann. He is a very inspiring person within the specialty coffee industry.
gloobles: Well, he's a lucky guy then. Alright, last one. Where do you see Back to Black in ten years?
Noortje & Inge: We hope to be an important pioneer in how to run a sustainable, high quality coffee bar/roastery by then. Hopefully, in Europe but even better globally.