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Buds of the Future: An American’s Peek into Amsterdam’s Coffeeshop Culture (Part 1)

January 13, 2014

Long and dense verdant buds sprinkled with shimmering white crystals and scorching burgundy strands. Hard like concrete, yet fragile as sand and sticky-sweet to the touch. A pleasantly earthy aroma of pepper and pine.

This particular strain brings versatile effects. Cerebral invigoration. Creative energy. A grumbling stomach. Peace of mind. A relaxed body. Contentment with all. 

Folks, meet Flowerbomb Kush.

Second place winner of the 2013 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup and first place winner in 2012, this Green House Seed Company creation is a strain everyone should know about. 

A Cannabis Cup Prodigy 

Green House, which runs four eponymous coffeeshops (yes, in Nederland, “coffeeshop” is one word) as well as their own seed company, offers this hybrid of Green Crack, an electrifyingly potent sativa, and OG Kush, a popularly relaxing indica. Flowerbomb’s uniqueness lies in its duality: it stimulates and sedates the mind at the same time. That seamless blend of differing sensations is rarely accomplished as well Green House has achieved in Flowerbomb Kush.

Relaxed laws in the U.S. have allowed smaller, regional Cannabis Cups to spring up throughout the country; the upcoming Los Angeles Cannabis Cup is one example. But, no Cup can quite compare to the Amsterdam original. The Amsterdam Cup began as a way for talented growers and seed companies to showcase their hard work, and it also created a safe space for counterculture to get together to celebrate their accomplishments. The High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam is internationally renowned for promoting the best and newest strains of marijuana from coffeeshops around the city.

Cannabis connoisseurs will find no better place in the world for premium herb than this landmark event that wrapped up its 26th consecutive year in 2013. Flowerbomb sits comfortably at the top of the list of the best competitors, but there were no weak strains in sight. Every coffeeshop performed at the top of their game.

Good Strains Come From Good Homes 

The quality of the cannabis is the most crucial aspect of the smoking or vaporizing experience, but the environment in which it is consumed also plays an important role. The coffeeshop culture is unique to the Netherlands, so it’s a new, often fascinating experience for any non-Dutch visitor. The locus of the marijuana industry in the U.S. revolves around medical cannabis. This is not the case in Amsterdam, where recreational cannabis takes center stage in Dutch cannabusiness. 

The Green House atmosphere certainly did not hurt Flowerbomb Kush’s chances, or those of Lemon Crystal, the coffee shop’s first place winning Neder Hash. Much like bars and quirky cafés in the U.S., not all coffeeshops are created equally. The Green House near Dam Square serves as a typical example of a coffeeshop with an inviting, comfortable vibe. 

After you make your selection at the counter, choosing from a menu of indicas, sativas, hashes, edibles, and more, you find an open booth in the lounge, order a soda or sandwich, lean back, and enjoy. Especially in Amsterdam, coffeeshops big and small tend to be as tightly packed as the bowls their customers consume, but most people don’t mind sparking conversation with new friends if they end up sharing a table with strangers.

Each coffeeshop falls along a spectrum of atmospheres, ranging from the laid-back Mellow Yellow to the turned-up Bulldog. Prices remain consistently between seven and fifteen Euros (about nine to twenty US dollars) per gram, depending on the quality. Choosing a coffeeshop to patron is no different from choosing a restaurant, a movie, or anything else. You may have to test out a few different shops, but you’re sure to find one that’s exactly what you’ve been looking for. 

Check out Part 2 of An American's Peek into Amsterdam's Coffeeshop Culture here.

Photo: Inside the Green House Coffeeshop

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Matt D

Matt is a writer for The Berkeley Beacon and online news site eivnews.com.

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