In the last decade Australia has undergone a coffee boom, we know coffee and take pride in how well our coffee shops size up to the rest of the world. Rarely in Oz will you find drip/filter coffee, only espresso here! A lot more goes into coffee than people realise it’s the beans, the roast, the machine, the milk and the barista all combining to make the perfect cup. It’s the one thing I really miss from home as just no where I have been on this trip seems to do it aswell.
However, Vancouver has quite the up and coming coffee scene which I diligently check out during my stay. All the coffee shops were quite good and very comparable to one another but what they do differ on, which is also very important for your coffee drinking experience, is atmosphere. You don’t want to sit amongst people you don’t relate to in an ugly setting, no matter how good the coffee is your image will be negatively skewed if you don’t like the vibe.
So below is my summary of the shops I had the pleasure of checking out. What I found interesting about all these shops is that almost none gave me a saucer and they all expected you to return your own dishes to a dirty dishes box.
Note: I drink long blacks/Americanos…no milk, no cream, no sugar – just coffee.
Price of a small cup: $2.25 – $3
Located in East van on commercial drive this shop is completely hipster, everyone sits around with their MacBooks discussing art/environment/politics etc. Coffee was decent, quick preparation time and they had a good food cabinet. Space was utilised well and didn’t feel too close to other tables.
Also on the drive Turks proudly stands by their ‘indie, no conformist’ image. Only place I have found which actually offers a long black. Coffee was very good, however they didn’t offer me the option to chose which beans u wanted however seemed to have a number of different roasts.
First impressions were ‘wow this place knows their stuff’, they offered you a selection of beans upon order and had the widest variety of coffees, layout was also very modern and clean. However, I then noticed they served all their drinks in latte glasses, big no no. Moreover, I ordered a Macchiato (1 shot coffee, dash of milk) but instead received a piccolo (1 shot with full glass of milk) and I noticed that they were not giving full 30ml shots with these beverages and with cappuccinos they were giving 50ml of espresso. Ridiculous! Although the coffee was nice the place seemed way to pretentious and they really didn’t know as much about coffee as they led on.
Laye Fare Espresso House:
This place immediately grabbed my attention with their chilled out vibe amidst the busy location near a large transit stop. Staff were friendly and very helpful. Coffee was good but served in cups which were too large for my liking. Also have a small food menu along with a dessert cabinet which runs all day
Probably the best coffee I had in Vancouver. This is also one of the oldest stores so seems to have a solid regular clientele. However, the furniture is all very far apart and the crowd is much older (mums, babies, seniors etc)
Nelson the Seagull:
Now this place was cool! Decor is like an old beach shack, quite spacious with a fair bit if communal seating and have a funky vinyl player in the back. Also doubles as a bakery which you have full sight of in the back. Coffee was good, a little on the weak side though. They offer a number of pastries and a full breakfast and lunch menu. The smell of bread baking while you drink your coffee is amazing.
Bump and Grind:
Super cute little shop, set up was different to other with a standing only tall table, also good people watching bench out front. Coffee was very good with a beautiful crema. Small selection of goodies.
Matchstick coffee roasters:
Located in China town this was a giant coffee shops! All wooden decor with red features and cute drop down lights. Mostly communal seating. Coffee was a bit weak but otherwise okay, they also offer jugs of water for the table.
Tucked away on a busy street in East Van this little gem served amazing coffee! Inside of the shop resemble a train station and had a cute garden out back. Lots of fresh baked goodies and a bunch of to go foods, I really enjoyed this cafe. They were also the first place to give me a saucer!
This shop is actually in Victoria on Vancouver Island but deserves a mention. Friendliest staff I’ve encountered and they were interested to know how I enjoyed my coffee and food. Coffee was served in a cup with no handle which was interesting, but great full flavour. Amazing home made pastries and donuts. Smaller shop with cute decor.