Mmmm, coffee. If you’re anything like me, you can’t live without that fresh cup of coffee and the rich aroma that stimulates your senses at 5:30am.
We’re all addicted to caffeine.
We all know Starbucks- it’s not overrated but it’s the standard coffee chain society has to offer.
But if you take the time to walk around, there are definitely better ones.
I’m not against Starbucks, I love and admire their drinks but I’m all for supporting small businesses. So, don’t think so low of the aspiring cafes, some are just as good and if not better. Plus, don’t you feel good and a sense of pride when you show your support?
Here are some of Vancouver’s hidden gems, in no particular order.
1. Elysian – Coffee Roasters
Broadway & Ash 590 West Broadway, Vancouver
Founded in 2000, this aesthetic cafe in the center of West Broadway, mixes community spirits, impeccable service, a varied and delicious food program and a consistently excellent coffee selection.
Kafka’s is one of the longest-standing coffee brands in Vancouver and is the oldest surviving shop that started serving pour-over coffee.
Recommendation: Kafka’s have one of the best dark roasts in the city, but after they launched their new Nitro Cold Brew this year, I always get that when I visit.
325 Cambie St, Vancouver
Revolver has been on every top 10 list pretty much since they opened. They blend New York aesthetics with a massive coffee program and a selection of light sweet treats.
Their staff are friendly but more importantly, very skilled in every aspect of coffee brewing. 2020 saw them as one of the first coffee shops to switch to window service only, which they are still serving out of, at the time of writing.
Recommendation: Their auto pour-overs are always very consistent, but I often find myself getting an espresso/macchiato combo.
4. Nemesis Coffee
302 W Hastings St, Vancouver
101 Carrie Cates Ct #110, North Vancouver
One can expect the usual varied selection of high-end roasters imported from around the world, with an added bonus of a rotating selection of imported coffee available on batch brew in their Polygon location.
Recommendation: At Polygon I’d recommend the aforementioned batch brew, but at Gastown I always favor the pour-overs. Mostly so I can badger the baristas with my incessant questions about technique.
5. Craft Cafe
960 Quayside Dr Unit 115, New Westminster
Craft Cafe are responsible for one of the top 3 cups of coffee of all time and definitely a classic favorite of 2020 – a Panama Geisha from Gardelli.
Their shop is light and airy, there’s loads of outside seating with a water view and the staff are so impossibly friendly that every single one of my visits has been an 11 out of 10. They carry easily the most varied selection of coffee in New West and possibly in all of the Greater Vancouver Area.
Recommendation: Ask the barista what is tasting great on pour-over at the moment and trust what they suggest. They often have $10+ cups of coffee available here that they sell at cost, so it’s a prime location to try exceptionally rare coffee you otherwise wouldn’t want to spend $100+ a bag on! Food-wise, their Lobster Grilled Cheese actually bought a tear to my eye it was so good.
Next time you wander the city’s streets, stop by some of these beautiful, aesthetically cafes, and you never know, maybe it’ll your Starbucks.