Updated September 21, 2016: VancityAsks is your source for reliable recommendations, locally and manually curated. We genuinely endeavor to find the best of Vancouver – hence we try to minimize bias across all our list. We hope to save you time; helping locals rediscover their amazing city and visitors to find the best Vancouver has to offer. To maintain the validity and accuracy of our content; we review/edit/update our content from time to time.
We true Vancouver locals always enjoy a good cup of coffee. There are cafes in every corner of Vancouver. Everyone one of them are great in their right but when you want to find the best “MUST-try” cafes in Vancouver, here’s where you look. We’ve highlighted these establishments for their interior experience and phenomenal Vancouver coffee. These are also some of the best cafes in Vancouver to stick back, enjoy a good cup of Americano, and dive into a book, paperwork, or let your mind wander. (If you’re privileged enough, make sure to visit them for your daily coffee runs…only if you appreciate luxury for a small price. $2.75 is a nominal cost for such enjoyment and the productivity from a good cup of coffee. (not to forget, the hipster vibes – who knows you may be more creative at work?)
Here are VancityAsks‘ TOP 5 picks for the best cafes in Vancouver to try (subject to improvements and updates). If you’re a local, it would be a shame not to try these local cafes. If you’re a tourist, experience a local’s unique appreciation for good Vancouver coffee. You can understand a lot about a city by their food scene; some of these cafes are also conveniently located near tourist attractions, points of interest, or neighborhoods hence you’ll find a few cafe stops recommended in 48 hours tourists itinerary. (Some activity ideas if you’re visiting Vancouver for a brief lay-over upon arriving in Canada. Itinerary assumes you arrive on an international flight in the morning/afternoon however you can easily adjust the schedule to your time of arrival and cherry pick your choice of activities. The activities plan are fairly economical; we’ve tried to incorporate as much of a local experience as much as possible to provide a solid insight to Vancouver added with your typical touristy activities.)
It was a difficult decision trying to find the best cafes in Vancouver as there are no lack of good Vancouver coffee and cafes but we believe these are absolutely the top 5 MUST try coffee/cafes to try…especially if you’re around the area.
Here are some of the BEST cafes in Vancouver:
1) Revolver Cafe: Located in Gastown, Revolver Cafe is 10 for 10 when it comes to espresso. They are known for their coffee tasting events! Quite possibly some of the BEST coffee in the Gastown locality.
Revolver Cafe baristas can frequently be found wearing a beanie.
Address – 325 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7
Revolver Café is not just any café. It has espresso tasting flights. Yes, espresso tasting flights. Go and try their variety of espresso to find which beans you like. Revolver has a huge fan following for good reason.
The coffee is made fresh to order from specially selected roasters across the globe – liken to your exclusive LV purse (or murse). These coffee are quality-checked and Revolver only serves the BEST coffee. You’ll be sure to get wowed by the taste and feel like a million bucks. (possibly – no guarantee). Certainly good coffee that will keep you awake and productive.
Price wise, the cost of coffee at Revolver Café is nominal for the utility you get from such a fabulous cup of coffee. You don’t want to miss this. 10/10 MUST try!
Go for their unique espresso bar and try the different blends. Milano has several branches but you may wish to visit their coffee lounge at 156 West 8th Avenue.
Address – 156 8th Avenue W Vancouver, BC V5Y 1N2
Milano café takes 2nd place currently because they also roast their own beans and distribute to UBC. More interestingly Milano Café main branch has a nice espresso bar that’s a unique experience. It’s a bit out of the way but certainly worth a visit.
This is a larger coffee roaster that distribute their beans far and wide. You may have recognized their coffee at various cafes downtown so give their café a visit and taste it freshest.
Price wise, you’d be looking at $3 for a shot of espresso or $2.75 to $4 for an americano. Certainly worthwhile for the enjoyment at their espresso lounge.
Here’s a tip from Holly on Yelp:
“I always get a large, because the medium and small are a little on the skimpy side for what you would usually get if you were at a large chain coffee place. Having said that, there’s a good reason the sizes are small – this stuff is strong. This coffee goes down slowly because it’s so full of flavour, and by the end you find yourself way more alert and energetic. It definitely gets you going. ”
3) Trees Organic Coffee Roasters: Trees Organic is a new addition to our list of the best cafes in Vancouver. Having been enjoying their coffee for several months, their stores are always packed with patrons who enjoy their freshly roasted, single-origin brewed coffee as well. They’re also relatively known for their in-house pastries, notably varying flavors of cheesecake. (That rings in at $7.50/slice!) But, let’s get back to coffee…this cozy cafe on Granville Street is where you have to visit if you enjoy good coffee. Forget 49th Parallel, Trees Organic coffee beans are even better. (Slightly a notch under Milano Coffee. Revolver Cafe doesn’t roast their own beans but procure a variety of unique suppliers; it is still one of the only spots in Vancouver where you can enjoy coffee prepared three-ways.)
They have a frequency card that gives you every 10th coffee free. Reasonably priced at $2.55 for medium size, $2.90 for large, and you should never go small with coffee at Trees Organic, because why would you? Their standard drip coffee comes in medium or dark roast. Trees Organic roasts their own beans much like Milano Coffee and 49th Parallel; the roasting is right at their Granville branch. Mentioned earlier, Trees Organic also only uses single origin beans for their coffee so depending on where the beans come from at the time you savor their freshly roasted coffee, your coffee may taste slightly different month to month. (It’s subtle but moderately noticeable. An interesting experiential process to observe over-time.)
A visit to Trees Organic is recommended if you enjoy good Vancouver coffee in a cozy cafe, especially so if you like cheesecake (and willing to spend $7.50 for a small slice.) The main branch is on Granville Street, right outside Canada Line Waterfront station (how convenient.) while another branch is right at Gastown outside the Gastown clock. This is the one on our 48 hr tourist itinerary activity list.
Address: 450 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1V4
Other things to note: The Granville Street location is just minutes from Waterfront and Vancouver Convention Centre; grab a coffee and enjoy it by the water as you see the furry of activity on the water. (Seabus, Boats, Planes, Cruises, and the occasional Cargo ship.) There is also a nice look-out seating spot at 200 Granville Street above the Waterfront Station, where Denton’s and PWC office is. It is no more than 5 minutes walk to Trees Organic Granville.
They say they have the best cheesecake in Vancouver but truth be told, it’s “average at best” as many food bloggers/reviewers will share. The gimmick gets a few who haven’t yet tried, shelling out $7.50+ for a slice. Best only means something when you truly are the best hence we try to be as honest with our recommendations on VancityAsks. When ratings goes to “votes” it’s rarely accurate but a marketing ploy; all our highlights on VancityAsks are manually and locally curated. Go for their coffee but do yourself a favor and skip the cheesecake.
4) 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters: If you haven’t heard of 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, you’re likely either new to Vancouver or the coffee scene in Vancouver. 49th Parallel Coffee is a Vancouver coffee icon whose beans are also used in various cafes nationally.
The ones I’ve tried were too mild for my liking personally. Also, you may like to know it’s the same company that spun off Lucky Donuts arguably the BEST donuts in Vancouver.
Go ahead. Treat yourself. Go step into their Kitsilano store at 2198 W 4th Avenue and sip a freshly brewed cup of coffee with one of their unique Lucky Donuts like Creme Brûlée or maybe an apple bacon fritter? You deserve it. If you’re around the area you can also pop by their Main St. store at 2902 Main St.
Address – 2198 W 4th Avenue Vancouver, BC V6K 1N6
5) Coal Harbor Cafe:
Acceptable Coffee but amazing view right at Canada Convention Centre makes for a nice sit in café. They also serve Thomas Haas bake goods and a variety of sandwiches. You can also typically catch a special daily deal in-store like a croissant and coffee for $3.40.
They don’t have power plugs for your laptops though. If you were hoping to enjoy the view and get some work done, make sure you have your batteries fully charged. WiFi is unsecured publicly accessible WiFi which can get slow.
The view though once again is amazing. Sit there with your coffee in hand and watch the sea planes land and take off by Coal Harbour or catch a view of North Vancouver. They don’t have a Zomato or Yelp listing but it exists! You got to walk towards where it says Port Metro on the Google maps.
Zomato – https://www.zomato.com/vancouver/coal-harbour-cafe-coal-harbour-vancouver (Coal Harbour Cafe has two branches one at 1055 and the other at 999. The 999 is better than 1055 although Zomato doesn’t have a listing for 999 by Canada Place docks)
Address – 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1
More Options to consider:
Once again, leave your suggestions bellow and we’ll shake things up base on feedback. VancityAsks.com is community based list. Your call. Quite possibly the most controversial decision you’ll make today so think carefully. Coffee is always a difficult topic.
Here are some that come to mind:
(1) Creme de la Crumb – Located right by Waterfront station, 200 granville street, Creme de la Crumb is a convenient location, nice communal tables, and good coffee
As you can tell, we’ve intentionally left out the franchise options like Blenz and Starbucks on our list.
Lists of Updates:
September 21, 2016 –
– Removed TimberTrain Coffee Rosters from #4.
– Moved 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters from #3 to #4.
– Added Trees Organic at #3. Remarkable coffee
– Best Cafe in Vancouver for #1, #2, #5 remains unchanged.
– Former description for Timbertrain Coffee Roasters bellow
4) Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
With a name like that, you already know the coffee is going to be hipster good. Timbertrain Coffee Roasters is an artisan coffee roaster. It’s as good at 49th Parallel but slightly lesser known in Vancouver. Make no mistake however, they are highly acclaimed for some of the BEST coffee in Vancouver…hence why it’s on this VancityAsks.com list.
“Timbertrain Coffee Roasters is committed to the fundamentals and the science of brewing perfection into each cup of coffee we serve.”
Address – 311 W Cordova Street Vancouver, BC V6B 4K2
Any cafe that roasts their own beans immediately get a notch over others. Timber Train nestled in downtown Vancouver with passionate owners who enjoy good coffee and company. If you’re looking for a delicious, fresh coffee then Timbertrain Coffee Roasters is where you ought to go.