Read any most-livable city list and Vancouver is near the top, and for good reason. Between its breathtaking panoramas, copious green spaces, efficient public transportation, and excellent social safety net, it’s a city with few equals. But if you ask us, the real reason to live in Vancouver is the great coffee shops. One of its best cafés also happen to be one of its newest: Nemesis Coffee in Gastown.
Just a stone’s throw from Vancouver Harbour, Gastown is one of Vancouver’s most popular neighborhoods, and no stranger to third wave coffee. Many of the city’s best coffee shops are only a block away, but in a few short months Nemesis has already earned a loyal following. When we visited there was a non-stop queue, which the baristas handled with seasoned grace, not flinching in either drink quality or customer service.
Nemesis features a rotating cast of European and Canadian coffee roasters. An impressive selection of single origin espresso is pulled with triple Mythos grinders and a Synesso MVP espresso machine. Filter coffees are exclusively brewed by-the-cup, but ample staffing and smooth workflow means you won’t have to wait long.
When I visited I opted to try an espresso roasted by Denmark’s La Cabra and a pour-over from Finca El Vergel, Colombia roasted by Berlin’s Five Elephant. The espresso was punchy and sweet while the pour-over was more tea-like, with a juiciness that became more pronounced as it cooled. Not one to drink that much caffeine on an empty stomach, I also ordered Nemesis’s heirloom grits, which came with a poached egg, greens, and sautéed shiitake mushrooms. The dish was perfectly seasoned and beautifully plated. Not only does it rank amongst the best coffee shop food I’ve eaten, it was some of the best food I ate my entire week in the Pacific Northwest.
In a city with no short supply of excellent coffee shops, Nemesis has quickly cemented a reputation as one of its best. If more cities had a café like Nemesis, they might just make one of those lists as well.