Vancouver’s Top 10 Cafés

Coffee bloggers share their favourite spots in the city to enjoy local beans, handcrafted brews, delicious lattes + more

When you’re looking for your next caffeine fix, don’t settle for anything less than the city’s best

It’s a scientific fact—which I just totally made up—that 89 per cent of Vancouverites have had a coffee in the past hour, the other five per cent are dreaming of caffeine as they suffer through a “cleanse” and the remaining six per cent are on their way to get another cup right now.

With so many excellent places in the city to get your coffee fix, we decided to consult with Mike and Shirley, the dedicated bloggers behind Vancouver Barista, who road-tested a different café every week in their quest to find the city’s best.

“It’s really changed us. We wanted to get to know the Vancouver coffee scene and explore the city through its cafés,” explains Shirley.

According to Mike, one of their biggest changes is how they drink coffee at home: “We’re not coffee snobs, but we’ll definitely buy local beans now. It’s unbelievable how many roasters there are in Vancouver and it’s important to support them. Their coffee is way better than any chain out there!”

Here are Vancouver’s best coffee shops according to Vancouver Barista.

Café Milano, 36 Powell Street

“If we could only go to one café, it’d be Café Milano in Gastown. We love their beans! Brian Turko, their master roaster, is in a class of his own and so is this café. I’ve never met anyone so into making perfect drinks. Milano has 13 different origin coffees and you won’t find anyone doing this kind of blending with the beans. I always get a latte here. Theirs are total standouts, and their La Futura blend is amazing. On top of that, the place is relaxed and it’s got a really nice interior.”

Small Victory Bread & Coffee, 1088 Homer Street

Small Victory is a really elegant, upscale café and it suits the neighbourhood well. They rotate featured coffees and offer local brands, as well as U.S. ones. You can pull up a seat at the slow bar and watch the coffee being made by hand. It’s one of our favourite pour overs because the baristas are so knowledgeable; they’ll show you different styles and you’ll always get good tips here. The baking is incredible too—so good. We like their almond croissants.”

Bump n Grind, 916 Commercial Drive

Bump n Grind is a great little neighbourhood café that offers a variety of brewing methods—which is amazing for such a small place. They have an espresso machine, AeroPress (which we always have), French press and even a Clover machine, which brews through a vacuum. They also rotate their beans and bake all the food in house. We love that neighbourhood, too.”

Matchstick Coffee Roasters, 213 East Georgia Street

Matchstick is a small-batch roaster with handcrafted brewing. If you’re lucky, you can get a delicious latte made by Ian Chagunda, who just won the 2015 Canadian Latte Art Championship. It’s seriously one of the best lattes in the city and just massive, too, served in a cup bigger than my head! Matchstick also bake in house and they’re well-known for their food. We always have the almond croissant.”

Platform 7, 2331 East Hastings

“Mike grew up in the East Village and Platform 7 is our favourite place for a siphon coffee, which isn’t something that’s commonly offered. Siphon coffee is a special kind of slow brew. You watch them make it over a little flame. It’s definitely the most expensive kind you could order, but the experience is all part of it. They use Stumptown beans from Portland and the siphon will take about five to eight minutes to make. It’s got a totally different taste: a lot smoother and cleaner. You can really taste the flavour of the coffee. The café is designed to look like a Victorian train station and we love that it’s in an interesting mixed neighbourhood.”

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, 2902 Main Street

“Aside from the coffee, which is always great, 49th Parallel has the best doughnuts in the city—the perfect pairing for an old-school espresso. I love the distinct turquoise cups and the best doughnut for me is the orange-pistachio glazed. The café is right in the heart of hipster Mount Pleasant on Main Street and it’s a social spot in a big space.”

Revolver Coffee, 325 Cambie Street

“We’re big ‘slow bar’ fans. Any kind of coffee that you make by hand, like a pour over or Chemex, is more ‘artisan’ and, yes, very trendy. Going to Revolver is a personalized experience: the barista makes your drink in front of you and you can ask questions and they’ll often give you tips on how to make better coffee at home. Revolver is great because they change up their coffees and you can try anything from Berlin to San Francisco. For us, the coffee house experience needs to be the whole package: we want the right service and atmosphere, as well as fantastic coffee.”

Café Medina, 780 Richards Street

Medina certainly has the city’s longest brunch lineups, thanks to their high energy, elegant decor, amazing food and great service, but you can go to the coffee bar section and get a coffee there. They serve 49th Parallel coffee. I had the salted caramel latte and it was amazing—one of the best lattes I’ve ever had.” 

Greenhorn Espresso Bar, 994 Nicola Street

“I think Greenhorn gets our nod for the café with the best eye-candy interior. It has a red chandelier and its whole look is curated and vintage with its vinyl record collection, but it’s in the middle of a young residential neighbourhood. They serve Moja Coffee, which is roasted in North Van and probably one of our favourite beans to take home. I recommend their espresso-based drinks. I like their Americano, which is particularly good.”

Ed’s Daily, 686 Powell Street

Ed’s is a charming foodie café in an up-and-coming ‘hood, which is popular with hipsters. The café also does duty as a commissary kitchen for other businesses, such as food trucks, so all the food is made in-house. They serve Matchstick Coffee and offer French press brews and pour overs, which not many other places do. We really like the pastries here and it’s a great addition to the Strathcona neighbourhood.”