Vancouver is widely considered one of the most livable cities on earth. Its wide array of fantastic cafés might have something to do with that. We already wrote about our visit to Nemesis Coffee, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention five more cafés that have us applying for Canadian citizenship.
Revolver might be the best Beatles album, but it’s also one of Vancouver’s best cafés. Located in the historic Gaslight district, Revolver has a classic elegance that feels lifted straight out of some London high street. The combination of wood and glass makes for a pub-like atmosphere befitting the extensive selection of Canadian, American, and European roasters available at Revolver. Revolver rather distinctively brews all of their drip coffee with Able Brewing’s Kone filter. These filters offer more body than paper filters, albeit at the expense of some flavor clarity. We couldn’t be happier with the way our Ethiopia roasted by nearby Bellingham, Washington’s Camber Coffee was tasting. Revolver also features an impressive array of coffee books and brewing equipment for sale.
At Propaganda Coffee in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighborhood we found an impressive combination of thoughtful experimentation and engaging service. Their Canadian-centric line up of roasters are brewed on their Modbar. For espresso, the baristas have decided to forego tamping in favor of just using an OCD distributer. Though we were initially skeptical, the delicious shot of espresso we tried suggested they might be on to something.
Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
We’ll admit, Timbertrain was not on our “must-see” list before we visited Vancouver. But when we walked by their Gaslight location we popped in on a whim and we’re very glad we did. Not only did we enjoy an excellent cappuccino, we also scarfed down one of the best pastries we’ve ever had in a café: a house-made gluten free rhubarb tart. With a new roastery space on the way, we expect we’ll be hearing more from Timbertrain.
For most coffee professionals outside of Canada, the city of Vancouver is synonymous with 49th Parallel. The roaster/retailer was an early pioneer in the specialty coffee movement, but has remained relevant and in the rotation of some of the most esteemed multi-roaster cafés in North America. If their balanced, sweet, coffee wasn’t enough to bring you in, both of their retail locations also feature doughnuts made in-house under the moniker Lucky’s Doughnuts.
I’m going to be honest: by the time we got to Matchstick Coffee’s Chinatown location. I had already drunk more coffee in one day since I took the Q course. As such, their tea menu sounded much more appetizing than coffee. That being said, you can find Matchstick in the lineups of many of the best cafés in town. Our party shared a pour-over and cappuccino, and I sampled a fantastic natural cider. This location also features an enormous woodfired oven that churns out fresh loaves of bread for the café’s impressive food program.
Photos by Steve Rhinehart and Michael Butterworth.