Learn about five places to drink specialty coffee in Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city and a populace that craves high-quality caffeine, based on a trip from May 27-30, 2016.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
1. 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
Caffe Artigiano co-founder Vince Piccolo has built 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters into a force. On my latest trip to Vancouver, I had the pleasure of experiencing their Mount Pleasant outpost, which shares space with sister company Lucky’s Doughnuts. Given the inextricable link between coffee and donuts, this marriage is of course harmonious, even yielding a delectable coffee crueller with espresso in the glaze and cold brew in the batter. You can also score a 12-ounce coffee of the day and any ring of your choice for $5. The space features a black steel framed patio with wood picnic tables, roll-up garage doors, motorcyclist mural, floor to ceiling wood and brick, pale blue ceramics, and a Spirit Triplette espresso machine.
2. Elysian Coffee Roasters
Alistair Durie was an early adopter to specialty coffee. The latest Elysian location debuted in March 2016 at the base of downtown’s Hotel Burrard. The space features a small wood fenced patio, and glass front. Inside, you’ll find a white tile fronted bar, wood tables, and black map of Canada. Expect the usual roster of espresso and brewed drinks done well. I’d also suggest their rooibos chai with almond cashew milk from Nuez.
3. Matchstick Coffee Roasters
Annie Viehweger, Spencer Viehweger, and Aaron Braun debuted Matchstick in Vancouver in 2012 near McAuley Park. I visited the Chinatown branch, which debuted in 2014. A glass front cedes to communal wood seating, white subway tiles, and wall mounted buck horns. The coffee program includes a red three-group La Marzocco espresso machine, Chemex, and nine different single-origin coffees available brewed to order.This Matchstick outpost also features a formidable bakery, including house breads, toasts, pastries. I’d recommend pairing their cinnamon twist with a Gibraltar made with a Bulldog No. 18 espresso blend.
4. Revolver Coffee
George Giannakos and brother John run Revolver, an ambitious Gastown coffee bar with one brick wall, a wood counter and booths, and triptych of global maps created with nails that debuted in 2011. Their counter hosts a four-group Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine and a row of Chemex pourover coffee makers with Kone filters. They carry beans from many roasters, including The Barn (Berlin), Matchstick (Vancouver) and Heart (Portland). To end 2013, Revolver added The Archive next door, offering retail shelving and overflow communal seating. Revolver offers a Tasting Flight of three coffees brewed one way and a Brew Flight of one coffee brewed three ways. Both options cost $12 and take 10-15 minutes.
5. Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
Timbertrain has been open since February 2015, a joint venture from Min Shin, Jeff Shin, and Peter Kim. They roast coffee outside of Vancouver, helping to fuel their contemporary Gastown cafe. A glass front and wood counter face the street. Customers sit in railcar-like seating with white wood panel framing and cushioned red and grey booths. A worn menu lists Fast Bar, slow Bar and Cold Bar Offerings. Single origin coffee is available on tap. A black steel fronted wood counter hosts copper kettles and V60 cones, a Modbar water tower, and three-group La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, which completes Timbertrain’s caffeinated phalanx.