Always abuzz with students from across the globe, Utrecht shows how the Dutch mentality regarding coffee has changed drastically. Long gone are the days of coffee time restricted to home, promptly at 10:30 am with a cup of Douwe Egberts and a single biscuit; these days it's all about diversity and atmosphere.
Kopi Susu is a prime example of culture fusing with coffee. Located in neighbourhood Lombok, where the streets carry names with references to the colonial past, this ‘cultural day-café' has a name with meaning. The Indonesian expression translates as ‘coffee with milk', and also dubs as slang to indicate mixed heritage. This blend of culture and food is the leading force behind this cultural café, which is run by volunteers, where both the coffee and small menu impress with its quality and simplicity.
One of the main reasons that people are attracted to Kopi Susu is the open culture. In a country where many coffee lovers feel the pressure in bars to have their coffee and leave when finished, Kopi Susu and its staff adopt a laid back attitude. Students and freelancers are free to spend as much time as they want to lounge, work or study – something that is hard to find in the busy establishments of Utrecht, where the focus lays on maximizing profits and attracting as many customers as possible. To many this is a gem – having a friendly staff that is readily available to take any orders, but no pressure of unspoken rules about how long it is acceptable to stay. And don't forget - free wifi! It seems like a common service, yet those who live in Utrecht know it's anything but easy to find a cozy coffee bar where one can work in peace and enjoy good coffee.
The coffee served is by Simon Levelt, one of the most popular brands in the Netherlands. While the assortment of coffees is not as wide as in certain coffee bars downtown, Kopi Susu deliberately focusses on the simplicity of good coffee for a very reasonable price. Regular coffee, cappuccino, espresso and latte – the famous Kopi Susu beverage – are available, as well as the option to kick things up a little with Irish or French coffee. (Spiked, that is.) Fresh juices, sandwiches and savory snacks are available for lunch, and there are several options to satisfy one's sweet tooth: traditional apple pie, a delectable chocolate cake (which is a must-try) and a weekly selection of other pies.
In short, Kopi Susu represents what many people in Utrecht look for in a coffee place: friendly, cozy and offering a ‘third place' next to home and work where one can enjoy coffee, meet up with people and work. While not located right in the shopping centrert of the city, Kopi Susu is located two busstops away from Central Station – or a good 10 minute walk through the active and expressive neighbourhood Lombok.