By Joyce Chua
A stroll around Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood will tell you just how much locals love their coffee. Artisan cafes mark every street corner ready to re-fuel shoppers, wanderers and to tide over diners before their reservations are ready. You won’t find coffee like this in every city, let alone the passionate purveyors in Gastown who live and breathe quality beans.
Here’s some places to start:
Consider Purebread. The Whistler-born bakery entices patrons with piles (literally) of fresh pastries, cakes, brownies, breads and oversized meringues. Heaven would be envious of how the little bakeshop smells. It’s one of the only places in Vancouver that you’ll find Stumptown coffee – the sweetheart success from Oregon.
In Gastown’s iconic Woodward’s Building, JJ Bean Coffee Roasters is simultaneously perfecting French-pressed single-origin coffee and freshly baked goods. With 18 locations in Vancouver, this family business knows the city inside and out. A hot coffee and a warm cookie makes for a happy traveller.
In Prado Café, Vancouver’s tech-types tend to stop in for a cup of 49th Parallel and a chewy Belgian waffle. Owner, Sammy Piccolo, is the World Latte Art Champion, four-time Canadian Barista Champion, and a partner in his family’s business – 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters.
In the long glass windows of East Van Roasters, coffee beans are roasted before your eyes. Hints of chocolate linger in the air – as they’re also processing cocao to create organic fair trade truffles and chocolate bars. The 16-seater café is a social enterprise that provides training and meaningful employment to recovering women from the Downtown Eastside.
The variety of contraptions that coax the flavours out of the beans could fill a small library. In the dark and dramatic Revolver Coffee, gadgets and gizmos line the counter. The baristas are precise in their movements, happy to educate curious guests who await their order.
And these aren’t the only places in Gastown to choose from – stroll around and you’re sure to find your perfect cup at your perfect table.
Vancouver Foodie Tours runs food tasting and cultural walking tours to explore to one-of-a-kind dishes that define Vancouver’s culinary scene. Find out more at foodietours.ca.