Hey Coffee Nerds: Have You Tried All 10 Of These Indie Coffee Spots?

Power up your day at one of the city’s independent coffee shops.

July 5, 2019

By Barb Sligl

Vancouver has a thing for coffee. From longtime players and coffee roasters to one-off independents, our java shops are more than a place to grab a cuppa. They’re community hubs in which to soak up ambiance while, yes, getting that necessary caffeine fix.

Milano Coffee

A local coffee legend, Milano has won multiple international gold medals for its espresso (rare blends of up to 13 nano-lot, single-origin beans). Sip an espresso and gaze at the wowsers downtown view from the West 8th space, home to the original roasting equipment (for some 30 years) that’s now used for those small-batch blends. milanocoffee.ca

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

The teal-coloured bags have become ubiquitous, and the doughnuts (Lucky’s; try the strawberry-buttermilk old fashioned) are as much of a calling card as the coffee. Still, Epic Espresso says it all. Have it at the Main Street location in Mount Pleasant, where those doughnuts are made on site. 49thcafe.com; 49thcoffee.com

Nemesis Coffee

This Gastown go-to not only has the coffee goods and kombucha on tap (and hojicha, gaba and dok anchan teas), but serious food alongside (gnocchi carbonara, shakshuka, dill-cured salmon rosti). And the light-wood decor of this creative hub (abuzz with SFU downtown-campus students) is like a Scand-chic sanctuary in the city centre.nemesis.coffee

Greenhorn Espresso Bar

Tucked in Vancouver’s densest residential neighbourhood—the West End—this espresso bar (with record collection, listening station and DJ booth upstairs) is a local hideaway on a quiet, leafy street that’s become a destination spot. Sit under the red chandelier at the communal long table for the super-popular breakfast skillet and rich Vietnamese coffee.greenhorncafe.com

Matchstick Coffee

Everything is made in-house, from nut milk to the naturally leavened bread that forms the base for some of the best eggs on toast in town. Oh, and the coffee. Watch it being roasted at the first Matchstick, in the Fraserhood on the little strip by McAuley Park, where an original vault door is still in place from when it was one of the city’s first banks.matchstickyvr.com

Pallet Coffee Roasters

Pallet Coffee Roasters has won numerous awards for both its beans and its latte art. The story began at the East Van location near Victory Tattoo (creator of one of Pallet’s logos), and where the coffee is roasted still. Pastel-painted pallets hang outside, and the wooden slats are incorporated throughout the multi-level space inside for that industrial, eastside vibe.palletcoffeeroasters.com

Revolver Coffee

“Revolver is about two things: coffee, and the experience that should go with it,” says co-founder George Giannakos. Case in point: a rotating selection of not-seen-anywhere-else roasters and a designer pour-over and brew bar, where coffees are made using a sleek Seraphim brewing system with Hario glass decanters. Think coffee theatre.revolvercoffee.ca

Aubade Coffee

Owned by a multi-award-winning barista, this café shares space in Chinatown with a vintage store and barbershop and is named for a poem that reveres daybreak. “I’m trying to bring a little of that back to coffee,” says Eldric Kuzma, who handcrafts vegan milk blends, AeroPress, pour-over and espresso coffees—special-order single glasses of which are often booked in advance.aubadecoffee.info

Agro Coffee Roasters

Known for roasting organic coffee, this off-the-beaten-path tasting café on Clark Drive is worth the visit for its white-and-wood aesthetic, views of the roaster, and excellent nitro cold brew (not forgetting the avocado grilled cheese). It’s also where the incubator community of creative types and doers—from visual artists to brewers—from the Strathcona ’hood congregate for coffee. agroroasters.com

Kahve

This Kits café makes a great cortado (with Phil and Sebastian beans, a Calgary-based roaster that’s known as one of Canada’s best) and nitro cold brew, or, for non-coffee drinkers, the local-fave London Fog. But it’s also a coffee-and-design shop with modern-European pieces on display and for sale. (Get that Alessi coffee pot to brew up at home.)kahvevancouver.com

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