Slow Roasts: The Best New Vancouver Coffee Shops

By: Amy Watkins

January 14, 2014

Forget grabbing a quick espresso; in Vancouver it’s all about brew bars, siphons and slow roasts. Many of the best Vancouver coffee shops use freshly ground beans from local roasters and take the time to create the perfect cup of Joe. Here are a few of our favourites, for next time you’re in town”¦

Great coffee starts with great beans and many of the best Vancouver coffee shops began as small roasteries, that have grown to include a retail arm. In 2000 coffee guru Vince Piccolo opened Caffe Artigiano, going on to open a string of the cafes before starting 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters in 2005 to supply them. In 2006 he sold Caffe Artigiano to concentrate on 49th Parallel and a year later he opened 49th Parallel Café in Kitsilano and then a second café location on Main Street in 2012.


49thparallel | Vancouver Coffee Shops

Micro roasters are big in Vancouver’s coffee scene © 49th Parallel Roast

Now both cafes, along with a range of top restaurants and cafes in Vancouver, use 49th Parallel’s beans to craft creative coffees. As well as espresso drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes, the cafes also focus on drip coffees using beans sourced directly from farmers around the world.


Revolver Café in Gastown is owned by Tarry and Kristine Gianniakos, (of West Vancouver’s Crema Café), and run by their four sons. Each week the four brothers select three to six guest beans from local roasters during a blind tasting and offer different methods of slow coffee brewing, from filter coffees to aeropress, siphon and French press brewing.


Revolver | Vancouver Coffee Shops

Pour over coffees waiting for customers at Gastown’s Revolver © Revolver

New kid on the block, Matchstick Coffee Roasters on Kingsway and Fraser, is a micro roaster and café that’s gaining a good reputation for their single-origin beans and approach to slow coffee. This winter they’ll be opening a second location in Chinatown and expanding their operations but sticking to small batch brewing.


Over on West Broadway, Elysian Coffee serves up drip coffees and now roasts their own beans. Elysian also sells coffee equipment to take home (if it will fit in your suitcase) and many of the slow coffee shops are branching out into retail – Revolver has started work on a shop called Archive, next door to its current Gastown location, which should open by Christmas and will sell everything a coffee geek could ever dream of buying.


Matchstick | Vancouver Coffee Shops

Clean lines and bright space are hallmarks of Matchstick’s cafe © Matchstick

If coffee isn’t really your cup of tea then there are plenty of options for a slow brewed cuppa. Canadian chain David’s Tea has brightly coloured shops all over the city selling fantastic loose leaf teas and staff will talk you through the different flavour profiles, sniffing and tasting along the way. The Urban Tea Merchant in Coal Harbour offers a vast selection of tea for sale and even offers tea cocktails from its on-site bar. True tea connoisseurs, however, should head to Kitsilano’s o5; a dimly-lit tea bar that serves a range of rare teas from all over the world.


49thParallel Beans | Vancouver Coffee Shops

Many Vancouver coffee shops roast their own beans © 49th Parallel Beans

Whatever your wake-up juice of choice, in Vancouver it may take a few extra minutes to get your hot shot of caffeine. But it’ll be well worth the wait.

Written by Amy Watkins

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Are you a fan of slow roasts? Tell us about your favourite Vancouver coffee shops in the comments below.


Amy Watkins

Amy Watkins ( is an award-winning British travel journalist who has lived in Vancouver since May 2012. Whilst on assignment for UK newspapers and magazines she has eaten thousand-year-old eggs in Hong Kong, swam with crocodiles in Australia and braved a week in the Caribbean with a celebrity chef.

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