Chilli pepper in your milkshake

The hippest coffee shops

Coffee has long since ceased to be just the regular cup of joe it once was. Groningen is awash in hip coffee shops that serve coconut cappuccino, matcha tea, and brownie milkshakes. Lacking money or time to test them all? No worries, UKrant.nl tested them all for you.
By Tamara Uildriks / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Quetzal

Quetzal can be found next to the public library in the Oude Boteringestraat. Their menu boasts eighteen different kinds of milkshake and twenty types of hot cocoa. They have four different types of chocolate they can use. Prefer soy over regular milk? You got it.

You could order an ‘ordinary’ coffee and cake, but if you’re feeling adventurous you could go for a milkshake with chilli peppers and a Brownie Bacasa (with banana, caramel, and whipped cream).

It’s a great place to take a break from studying at the UB and let the sugar rush give you renewed vigour to get back to your books. The leather seats facing the street are comfortable, and the entire place smells wonderfully of chocolate. It’s easy to spend several hours lounging around. During summer you can sit on the seats outside, and in the winter you can let the hot cocoa warm you up while the weather is bad.


Upon entering Food Matterz, you immediately run into a set of shelves filled with plates, kitchenware, and snacks. Past the shelves is the sitting area in a grey colour scheme. The walls are adorned with inspiring slogans such as ‘keep your head up’, and ‘it’s a good day for a good day’.

The whole place is straight out of an interior design magazine. Cliché or not, the place looks nice, and the clear separation between the bar and the sitting area means you’re not disturbed during your conversation even if there are very few people in the shop.

Food Matterz is mainly a yoghurt shop. Next to the coffee bar is a display case filled with the different toppings you can put on your yoghurt. There are so many that picking just one is nearly impossible (but they have standard options). The yoghurt looks just as designer as the interior, and tastes great.

Flavour is important, because, as the wall says, ‘Food Matterz’. That is why they use only local products, although their provenance is kept fairly vague on the menu. The granola came from aunt Luus, the bread has been provided by Luuk’s bakery, and the artisanal yoghurt was made by neighbour Durkje. Those probably aren’t real people, but all the products ‘have their own story’, and the food and the coffee is good.


City Central

This coffee shop is perfectly located, albeit hard to find. It’s right below the Der Aa church, but there is no sign and there are no tables outside. The name doesn’t scream ‘coffee’, either. Most people who come here do so not looking for coffee, but asking about Het Hanze Huis, a shop that used to be here.

And that’s too bad, because City Central is a lovely place. In addition to coffee shop, it also serves as a workspace, meeting place for internationals, and a shop selling designer items.

This month their special item is bubble tea: tea with little tapioca balls. A Chinese woman makes the tea on site. The tea can be served hot or cold and is a good reason to visit this shop. Too bad it’s not a permanent item on the menu.

City Central doesn’t really have a menu, but ‘we can make most coffees if you ask’. They also don’t have a bathroom, but if you ask nicely you can use the one in the church. It’s a great reason to have a look around.


It’s too bad so few people visit the Carolieweg, where Inspirational café OSO is located. OSO has all the makings of a great coffee shop: a cosy atmosphere, a piano, leather couches, a large map on the wall. They serve coffee and provide coaching sessions.

The coffee is good and is served in real cups, the pie is great, and the tables have small jars with question cards on them, in case you run out of things to talk about. It just feels a bit awkward because there are so few other people in the space.

To liven up the place, they have dog Luna walking around, which is nice if a little scary. Trying to pet her leads to growling and barking, after which the waitress explains that we ‘should let sleeping dogs lie’. It would have been nice to know that.

The iced coffee is gigantic, and can be served with actual ice cream upon request. No extra food needed. The cappuccino is good and the cake is gluten-free, with the pecan pie standing out in particular. It would be great if there were more people, because it’s just a little awkward how empty it is.


Barista Café

The city centre isn’t the only place to get coffee: shopping centre Paddepoel also has a new addition. It makes for a nice place to get a cup of joe after a day of shopping, or if you need a break from the long bike ride from the city centre to the Zernike campus.

The interior boasts hip designer lights and kitsch wallpaper. The table in the middle of the space has newspapers, but you’re better off bringing friends to entertain you. The atmosphere is relaxed, and there are mostly young families, and a few students from the tents near ACLO. It may not be a great place to study, but it is a way to meet stadjers.

The lemon almond pie is small, but filling and tasty. They serve a broad range of coffees, smoothies, frappes, and matcha tea. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, you should the coconut cappuccino: it doesn’t really taste like coffee at all.


You can’t have missed Cappuvino: it’s the Vismarkt’s prominent new hot spot. It’s the fanciest place on the list, boasting red carpet, a golden bannister, and waiters in shirt and tie. The customers match the atmosphere: they’re well-dressed and a little older, although not so old that they can’t still climb the four sets of stairs to the rooftop terrace.

The renowned rooftop terrace serves very few types of coffee, and no baked goods. They have a classic cappuccino, but it’s lukewarm and contains too much milk. That’s too bad, because instead of enjoying it, we find ourselves drinking the coffee quickly before it cools off even more.

Perhaps the vino is a better choice than the cappu. It might also be better to bring your parents, rather than your friends, here.

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