We’ve recently returned from a week-long venture out to Canada’s West Coast over spring break. There’s lots we’re excited to share about our trip, but where to start…
How about with coffee?
Having recently celebrated Brendon’s fifth year in the specialty coffee community, a visit to some of Canada’s finest specialty coffee establishments was long overdue. After being cooped up in The Deer for a little while, it was refreshing and invigorating to once again find ourselves in a city with so many options for where to grab a caffeinated beverage.
Overall impressions were very pleasing.
Knowing that specialty coffee has been established in Vancouver and Victoria a lot longer than the rest of Canada (probably due to its proximity to Seattle, where specialty coffee in North America originated), there were high expectations going in. That being said, we were generally quite satisfied with all of our cafe experiences.
Now there are many ways to analyze or judge establishments that serve coffee. We’ve decided to go the route of making a few special mentions in various categories:
Best pour over: Revolver. Brendon thoroughly enjoyed his Ethiopian pour over from Heart Coffee Roasters.
Friendliest service: Timbertrain Coffee Roasters.
Having just opened two months ago. this place was actually not on our list, but we are ever so glad we stumbled upon this gem while strolling along West Cordova St. in Gastown.
Brendon enjoyed a good espresso and a tasty cold brew from the friendly guys at Timber Train. It was fairly quiet when we first went in, which we appreciated because it allowed us the opportunity to talk with owners Peter & Jeff (as opposed to Revolver, which felt a bit rushed/noisy because of how busy it was.)
Best design: Tie between Timbertrain and Nelson the Seagull, both which sport a very different vibe.
Timber Train’s design was clean and slightly industrial. We thought the seating within the mock train car setup was pretty unique.
Nelson the Seagull was much more eclectic, filled with a bustling hipster audience and an array of vintage nicknacks, bunting, and interesting items to gaze at for hours.
Best glutenous product: Sourdough toast with freshly whipped butter at Matchstick.
The new Matchstick cafe on East Georgia St., which just opened up a month ago, embodied a minimalist design. Simple touches like the blackened wood wall and the severed log tables were features that brought a natural warmth to the space. We appreciated how how well-lit it was, with ample seating. The intention in design was very evident.
Special mention in the glutenous product category also goes out to Nelson the Seagull for a croissant that Brendon says he will remember for a long time, (though too rich to indulge in regularly.)
Most coastal cafe: Tofino Coffee Company.
We discovered Tofino had their own coffee company when we saw their beans for sale in the grocery store, then asked around to find out the location of their cafe. Out of all the cafes we visited, this one had the most West-Coast feel to it. We loved the gigantic stumps that served as seating and also brought a rustic, natural vibe to the space. We had a friendly chat with the owner, and the coffee was pretty good too.
Overall good experience with good coffee: Fernwood. I actually didn’t take any pictures inside because initially, nothing stood out to me. The lighting wasn’t great, and there weren’t any particular decor elements that wowed us. But overall, the service and coffee were very good, and atmosphere was comfortable. However, this was the only cafe we visit twice, and bought a bag of coffee from, on our trip out West. So I guess that has to say something.
If you’re not interested in coffee at all, sorry… this post post was probably a bit boring for you. But don’t worry, we did do other things on our trip out West besides explore cafes. Looking forward to being able to share those with you soon!