The Dutch are coffee-obsessed and quality is all-important. When staying in a London youth hostel with some classmates, my fellow travellers didn’t even know how to use the instant coffee offered at breakfast.
If coffee quality matters to you too, here’s a rundown of some of the best places to grab a coffee in Groningen.
Groningen shuts down on a Sunday. With many businesses closed, it’s easy to spend the day on the sofa. If you fancy a trip out though, this cafe near the Vismarkt is always open and has a great selection of cakes. You even get a piece of brownie with your coffee.
If price is as important as quality, Hema’s a great option. You can get coffee and a piece of cake for just one euro. You can even pick up some of your shopping essentials while you’re there – think bike lights, puncture repair kits and storage boxes – and the view over Herestraat makes for great people-watching.
The view from Hema isn’t a patch, however, on the one at V&D. On the top floor of this department store is an open-air terrace that looks out over the busy Grote Markt. It’s a view of the city that you can only match by climbing the 260 steps of the Martini Church’s tower. Fortunately, V&D has elevators.
Black & Bloom
For coffee purists, this cafe near the Harmonie building is a sure-fire favourite. With specialist and responsibly sourced coffees and innovative preparation techniques, the place is a Mecca for Groningen’s coffee nerds.
Anywhere you want
When you arrive in Groningen, your student card will quickly become the most important thing in your wallet. You’ll need it for printing, photocopying, going to the ACLO and, crucially, getting coffee. Dotted around the university, you’ll find coffee machines that you need your student card to use. Make sure you keep it topped up with funds so you can get a caffeine kick when you need one.
I’ve heard that university staff get coffee from these machines for free. Maybe that’s why Dutch students and teachers take such regular coffee breaks, often once an hour. So expect to drink plenty of the stuff during your studies.