Rocket Bean was one of the roasteries the Estonia Coffee team planned to visit last year. Well, tough luck. Latvia was closed for months. That meant no trips to Latvia, no trying coffee there, and no Black Balsam. But in February 2022, the stars aligned. Nice weather, extended weekend, and pretty cheap accommodation. We spent four days in Riga just walking, wandering and drinking coffee. Most of the coffee we tried was okayish, some of it was awful, but the Rocket Bean coffee honestly was number 1.
What is Rocket Bean?
Rocket Bean is a specialty coffee roastery and coffee shop located in Riga, Latvia. Apart from roasting beans and making delicious coffee, they also provide training, consultations and coffee development services. They are relatively small, but you can buy their beans in the USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Of course, all over Europe, too. And they offer free shipping for the Baltic states! What’s not to love?
Rocket Bean Cafe: An honest review
Somebody told me there used to be a Rocket Bean cafe in Riga’s Old Town. We took a nice little walk to this particular cafe, from our Old Town hotel. It wasn’t close, but not too far. From my tourist point of view, I bet the Old Town location would have been better. Here, it’s just a cafe located on a small back street. But hey, I don’t live here.
Rocket Bean Cafe has a pretty straightforward menu, and it’s above the counter. Very pleasant, and you don’t have to search frantically for the menu around the cafe or ask a busy barista what options are available. The options are standard, with the addition of Bulletproof coffee, neatly advertised as Rocket Fuel MTC. Of course, some sandwiches and pastries are available. The prices… not too different from Estonian prices, which was weird. One lady on TripAdvisor called it hipster tax, but we won’t say that. We will just say the prices are not that high, especially considering how fantastic Rocket Bean coffee is.
The interior is simple but gives out a warm vibe. You enter the door, on your right, you will see coffee equipment for sale, followed by a very nice choice of coffee. The third coffee wave is still in the focus.
And what do we see in the bottom right corner?
That’s right, Rocket Bean has the national coffee of Latvia. This batch was made to honour Latvia’s centenary. It is, honestly, a great idea and a mini marketing lesson to all the small roasteries.
When you stop drooling for that fine choice of beans, you look at the counter, and drooling begins again.
On the left side of the bar, the usual small tables are followed by one truly extra-large table.
For our readers with a dirty mind, the thing on the table is a model of the Rocket Bean logo. The rocket. Not what you think.
The toilet was spacious and clean, but unisex. No toilet selfie pictures this time.
As for the service, we were pleasantly surprised. After the annoying certificate + ID check at the counter, we ordered our usual – espresso and cafe latte. And then…bam! One of the baristas asks me if I want to try something new. Having two baristas in a not so spacious bar was satisfying. But having a barista that actually interacts with customers was excellent. I just wanted my usual espresso, but hey, when you are in Rome…
I wasn’t disappointed. I got my espresso made from West Java beans, with the most intriguing flavour notes. It tasted like chocolate and rotten fruits, but in a way that I savoured every drop, and it was an incredible experience. I also got my glass of water with espresso without having to ask. My better half wasn’t interested in experimenting and ordered her usual cafe latte. Her loss.
I tried her coffee, of course. Very nice, but I am not that fan of cafe latte. Also, I hate coffee in a glass, except if it’s ice coffee. Ceramic cups are still the best choice.
We asked for permission to take some pictures. The barista agreed and pointed out that I could ask whatever I want about the cafe, beans and equipment. Yay. I spent the next 15 minutes chatting with him about different Rocket Bean coffee blends. Also, he showed me the usual coffee making equipment they sell at the bar. Bit pricey, but overall a great choice. The official Rocket Bean merch was also there.
The barista also helped me choose the perfect coffee for my French press. Damn. That’s how you keep your customers happy. He also offered to grind the beans for me, but that’s the pleasure I want to share with my Molino burr grinder.
So, Rocket Bean cafe has great baristas that interact with guests, fantastic coffee-making skills, and table service. Who could ask for more?
Rocket Bean Cafe: Pros and Cons
We are going to Riga again in June, to attend the Iron Maiden concert and scream and drink beer. But we will stay there for a couple of days, and this time, we hope to see the Rocket Bean Roastery and perhaps interview someone from there. We will keep you posted.