Oh yes! Introducing Friedhats feels a bit like presenting a rebellious indie rock band. Friedhats does not only have an attitude but also symbolizes a playful and relaxed lifestyle. In an unpretentious way, they deliver a real high-end product, a bit like a good rock band in the genre of coffee.
Behind Friedhats are two nice guys, who run their roastery with a coffee bar from an alley in Amsterdam. Lex and Dylan met at Headfirst (which was Lex's first café to close again in 2015, when it was no longer allowed to roast coffee in their premises).
Lex and Dylan decided not long after that to start up a new roastery together in an old dilapidated garage in west Amsterdam. With a few bags of green beans and a 6 kg Giesen roasting machine, Friedhats gradually began to be created. The name Friedhats is an anagram of Lex's previous place Headfirst, as a little hello to the old. Here they wanted to focus on having fun and not having to constantly stand behind the (coffee-)bar.
It is very reassuring for the soul when the highest priority is not to make money. We want to make sure we can enjoy life by working with some kind of balance, Dylan explains when we ask about their relaxed style.
After Lex took home the second prize in the WBC (World Barista Championship) 2018, they decided to also open a coffee-bar with the name FUKU, which means "Good luck" in Japanese. However, the story behind the name is not really that cute - Lex's first idea was to jokingly name it Friedhats Fuck You Café after getting his old place shutdown and gradually getting tired of no one understanding the thing about specialty-coffee and all the complaints about light-roasted coffee. The name FUKU came to them from a visit to Paris where a sushi restaurant had the same name, which is a bit reminiscent of the phrase Fuck You.
Nonetheless, they have both taken with them much of the precision and accuracy in their own workflow, both at the roastery and the café, from their visit to Japan. Also, the fact that Lex has several years of competing and all the preparation required there has left its mark on what Friedhats is today, a roastery that constantly delivers really high coffee quality.
Dylan tells them that they choose their coffee almost entirely to taste. There is a certain degree of maintaining a nice selection of coffee with a varied taste spectrum, so we must keep that in mind, but for the rest we are looking for exciting, candid - mainly fruity coffee.
After my and Beatriz's visit to FUKU café earlier this autumn, we were very impressed and taken by their job behind the Friedhats brand. We are not only talking about really good coffee but the whole vibe around it, which gave us the feeling that we wanted to be part of their little gang.
I bought a Friedhat's t-shirt just like a groupie does at a rock concert and dragged with us home to Sweden several "medicine jars" with funky motifs, designed by their part-time barista Ivo Janss. The fact that the customs looked sceptically at these cans during a routine check before the ferry over to Denmark did not make it any less obvious that Friedhats would get an obvious place in one of our future coffee boxes.
For those of you who have already subscribed or choose to buy this month's coffee box will have the chance to read an entire interview we had with Dylan.
Because we love Friedhats and that it will soon be Beatriz's birthday, we have as a bonus several different coffees from Friedhats in the box, plus we offer a little more coffee than usual this month. Then we can also honestly admit that these three were all so incredibly good that it would have been completely impossible to choose just one of them.
If you want to read more or want to try this month's coffee box, you can do so here