My top coffee shop picks in Vancouver

28 Mar

Since I moved to Vancouver, there have been many changes in the Vancouver food scene. The most noticeable change that I’ve seen is the gradual improvement of the coffee scene. In the past few years we have seen the introduction of many new coffee shops in Vancouver and I am now far more impressed with the coffee scene than when I first arrived in the city, more than 7 years ago.

I wanted to make it easy for you to find good coffee in Vancouver so I put together this list of coffee shops that I recommend (these are in no particular order):

UPDATE AS OF APRIL 27, 2014

Greenhorn Coffee

The West End finally has a good neighbourhood coffee shop in Greenhorn Espresso Bar, which opened recently on the corner of Nelson and Nicola. A cute space with quite a bit of seating, but very popular so can be busy at times.

Another addition to the Gastown coffee scene is Timbertrain Coffee Roasters. I’m excited about this place as not only is their coffee done well, they are also open on Sundays.

Timbertrain Latte

I have recently been made aware of South Granville‘s Dose Espresso Bar at 1517 West Broadway (at Granville). This tiny coffee shop does a great brew. They have limited baked goods to compliment your coffee.

The new Matchstick in Chinatown (East Georgia Street) is a comfortable, large space to linger over a delicious cup of house-roasted coffee and some pretty good baked goods or toast. They are also licensed, although, I’m more keen for the coffee than a beer.

If you are in Kits and looking for a decent coffee hit, Momento Coffee House at 2766 West 4th (at MacDonald) has you sorted. Not open on Sundays.

JJ Bean, various locations: Good coffee to be had at JJ although the quality can be inconsistent. Their baked goods are made in-house daily and their muffins are absolutely huge! JJ cafes try to adapt to their location so the Alberni Street store is more chic for the downtown crowd, whereas the Commercial Street store feels more comfy.

Nelson the Seagull, Gastown: Any café in Vancouver that sells flat whites is alright by me! Nelson offers good coffee (although I’ve had a few sour ones recently) and I, personally, am a big fan of their lattes. They bake daily so you can grab yourself a muffin or a bacon and egg cup, or you can sit in and have something more substantial, like a sandwich. Nelson has the feel of a friend’s lounge room, with easy-going tunes, comfy couches and communal tables.

Breakfast at Nelson the Seagull

Revolver, Gastown: So hipster it hurts but these guys know their coffee. The space is well-decorated with lots of wood and exposed brick. I am almost intimidated with all of the coffee paraphernalia that covers the counters here. Limited snacks such as coffee cake and muffins are also available.

Revolver Latte

Matchstick, Mt Pleasant: Matchstick is reliable and consistent. Large windows, wooden commune tables, and a chic look encourage you to linger. The problem is can you get a seat? Matchstick has a loyal following and successfully fills a void in an area with few options. Pastries, sandwiches, and muffins are also available.

Matchstick Coffee

What are your favourite coffee shops? Send me some suggestions if you feel I’ve overlooked some good ones!

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10 Responses to “My top coffee shop picks in Vancouver”

  1. Melissa March 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    You got all my favourites!

    • greedyguts March 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Great minds think alike! 🙂

  2. Vox March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Kafka’s coffee and tea (Main and Broaway). Another serious coffee place!

    • greedyguts March 29, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      Good to know! Thanks I’ll try and pop in there soon.

  3. ali March 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Remember us in the North Shore please! My votes are for “Crema” in West Van and “Cafe Brazza” in North Van

    • greedyguts March 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Thanks for sharing! It’s a bit hard for me to get to the North Shore, but when I’m over that way next pop into one of these. It’s good to know that the North Shore has good coffee! I’ve heard great things about “Crema”.

  4. wendyhpuam January 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Interesting that 49th Parallel didn’t make the cut, as it often makes the top 3 coffee recommendations, but I’m not a fan personally (thought I was the only one in Vancouver!) Little known cafes that I’m growing fond of are Momento in Kits and Dose Espresso Bar in Fairview – both do flat whites! yay!
    Still searching for my melbourne latte equivalent though…one day!
    Thanks for writing a great blog, I think you have similar tastes to me so it’s a great guide for a newbie

    • greedyguts January 5, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Thanks for your message, Wendy. Yeah, I’m not a fan of 49th Parallel at all. It tastes too bitter for me. Sounds like we have similar tastes so I’ll have to put Momento and Dose on my list to check-out (I’ve just been going to the same ones as they are consistently good – Matchstick & Revolver. Hope you enjoy Vancouver!

  5. Becca February 5, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    I agree with Vox, Kafka’s is one of the best coffee shops I have ever visited, not limited to Vancouver only. I don’t know how they do it but time just seems to pass a lot slower when sipping my latte there. I guess I am not the only one if I say that coffee is not just about the beverage itself, It’s the uniqueness of the place and the very atmosphere which cannot be imitated. So yeah, Kafka’s is probably my favourite one in Vancouver along with Elysian, but you have already mentioned that one:) I took a liking to many coffee spots in Vancouver and am really grateful that you can always stumble upon a lovely cozy cafe instead of a Starbucks or McDonalds when taking a stroll.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Photo Visit – Matchstick – August 2012 « The Culinary Adventures of a Greedy Guts - August 11, 2012

    […] and that means coffee, food, and fun. B and I like to start our weekends with coffee at one of our favourite coffee shops. That could be Revolver, JJ Bean, Bica, or Matchstick. We haven’t been to Matchstick as much […]

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