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Coffeehouse and Cafe Reviews


phaelon56
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Hey hopkin, how about doing a eGullet Coffee Tasting.  We have much to learn.

I'd love to host a cupping / coffee social with food also. The depth of coffee in a cupping process, is comparable to the complexity of wine. Its very exciting.

I'll have to consider the logistics, its a small space and we're open 7 days/nights, but we do have quiet periods where say a group of 8-12 could engage. Great space for a wine tasting too, maybe make an evening of it :smile:

Edited by hopkin (log)

Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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Well, seeing as I live directly above a Starbucks, I also have to admit I end up there quite often.  It's the convenience thing.  (Sorta like Urban Fare.  If I didn't live on the same block as the darn store, I'd never shop there.  Every time I go in I get peeved, but I keep going back because it's so...darn...convenient)

But if I'm out of my Yaletown live/work cocoon (I know how awful that sounds, btw), I'd get my nonfat latte at Cafe Artigiano.

I'm not an espresso expert but in my opinion in the Yaletown area I had a decent espresso at coo coo coffee on Davie by Smythe I think. ( it is beside the steamrollers ). They use illy and it was quite a good shot.

They seemed like they were into their coffee based on 2 things. When I asked for a double expresso they asked me if I wanted a resoretto ( short shot ) and when I ordered a latte for my wife another time they made the fancy flower with the foamed milk.

The coffee's were good but I have never had Cafe Artigiano to compare.

Chester

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Has anyone seen the Jim Jarmusch film, Coffee and Cigarettes? One of the pieces on the features shows all of the tabletops from the film filled with coffee cups and paraphenalia and is suitably beautiful for this topic.

Just had to tell you about it.

S

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We went to BC Gelati today for a cup Alembic brewed coffee. You can call it Slow Coffee because the process takes a few minutes. The coffee was rich and smooth, so much so that I drank it black. We had some very good cannoli with the coffee. I'm glad they don't open late because this can be an expensive habit. Just another sunny afternoon in Lotusland.

Ciao a tutti

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After having once live less than half a block away from BC Gelati, when they had very different hours than what have now, yes, it is a very, very expensive habit!! That's before I count the trays of gelati that I used to bring home.

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peppyre did you find a source for Alembic brewers?  The owner said that the cost of shipping from Italy is the reason for not importing them.  I think they would sell better if they were called "The Coffee Bong".

To my knowledge Hellem France who make Vacuum Brewers (aka the bc gelati alembic) no longer exist as a company. It would be odd then to find a supplier in Italy... I have used both and I think Hario (Japan) make a superior, more elegant product.

Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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I found one from the Cona Company in Britain. It's almost identical to the one that Bcgelati used to carry, but just a tad pricier. 179 pounds :shock: I didn't even bother looking at the shipping cost.

Edited by peppyre (log)
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We use and sell the Yama and Hario Vac Pots in our store and I use one at home on a daily basis.  Love it.

Sometimes you have to hit me with a sledge hammer. I think hopkin has been telling us the Elysian Room sells Vacuum Coffee Brewers.

We will be checking out the Elysian Room soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just thought I'd let you know there was a coffee discussion about a month or more ago here with everyone posting their favourites. Not sure how you can find that discussion thread, possibly try a search and look at the Vancouver results???

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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Just thought I'd let you know there was a coffee discussion about a month or more ago here with everyone posting their favourites. Not sure how you can find that discussion thread, possibly try a search and look at the Vancouver results???

Actually, it was that thread that got me talking to a friend of mine about local coffeehouses, which is funny since you brought it back up. :biggrin: She and I were talking about which ones we found to be pretty good and she swore by Caffe Artigiano. Then another couple of friends recommended it a couple of days later.

I read over the thoughts on them again tonight in that thread and it helped but it still wasn't quite as pointed as I'm looking for. When I asked my friends to describe why they are so good, they just answer "Because they are... they're just so good!" :rolleyes: Maybe it's the investigator or critic in me, but I want to know why they are so good. Sorry, I should have specified that earlier! :raz:

Edited by Megaroo (log)
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We will be checking out the Elysian Room soon.

nwyles & I checked out The Elysian Room just before Christmas. It was funny, because I've been in there a couple times before, usually just after some wierd art film at The 5th so my brain would have been suitably numb and unable to notice the nuances of a decent cuppa.

Fortunately, Neils' rapier wit requires deft allertness on my part, and I was able to truly enjoy the coffee Alistair's crew serves. Our host was not in that day, so I can't comment on his table-side manners. The coffee however was excellent. Neil's latte had the requiset marked foam, the crema perfect. I chose the Americano route with similar results.

I like the room ... just across the street from the BMW shop (good gawking distance) and just down the street from a couple of my suppliers. No big couches or anything, but I prefer those for lounging in my own home ... if I can't take off my shoes, I'm not interested.

Baked goods could use some work. Then again, I have specific requirements for my butter-tart, so I won't be too critical. Suffice to say I'll be returning for the coffee.

A.

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I read over the thoughts on them again tonight in that thread and it helped but it still wasn't quite as pointed as I'm looking for.  When I asked my friends to describe why they are so good, they just answer "Because they are... they're just so good!"  :rolleyes:  Maybe it's the investigator or critic in me, but I want to know why they are so good.  Sorry, I should have specified that earlier!  :raz:

Thanks for clarifying Meg ... I was going to point you to that thread but it appears you've already found it.

I like Keith Talent's remark about Artigiano having reached the "jumping the shark" phase of coffee houses. This remark was further reinforced when I saw an add for Artigiano in Terminal City! I dunno, that just seems wrong to me, or at least a severe juxtaposition.

Artigiano's coffee is good, but no more so than many other coffee houses in town. Their hype is what makes them "great." eGulleters probably know better than most how hype (Go Fish!, Chambar, Kolachy, etc.) influences a business's success.

A.

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JJBean (@ G.Island & Commercial Dr) does fantastic espressos. They're my favorite: full-bodied, buttery and rich with a perfect balance of acidity. Like good bread, a treat on its own!

Senses, Delanys on Denman, Elysean room (5th&Burrard), that tiny new cafe on Davie (@Burrard), they all do a great job. The quality of coffee in Vancouver is outstanding.

Eddy M., Chef & Owner

Se.ed Artisan Foods, Vancouver BC

Follow Se.ed's growth at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/fromseedtofood/

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shame about torrefazione shutting down all it's locations in vancouver. the only one left was the best, on government street in victoria. i spent hours there over the holiday, people watching and sipping from very well made americanos and little caprese sandwiches. the ones in vancouver, especially the one in west van, were borderline useless in comparison.

ed.

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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I don't think there are very many places that serve an esspresso as well as Cafe Artigiano. I have not been to EVERY place so I'm not saying that they're the best, just the best to me.. They are getting quite big, with their fifth location opening up in Kerrisdale soon. They do a great job of training their staff, although I agree that the one in West Van needs some work. They definately have the best mochas around. Yes, I've tried them all. :laugh:

Derek

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I read over the thoughts on them again tonight in that thread and it helped but it still wasn't quite as pointed as I'm looking for.  When I asked my friends to describe why they are so good, they just answer "Because they are... they're just so good!"  :rolleyes:  Maybe it's the investigator or critic in me, but I want to know why they are so good.  Sorry, I should have specified that earlier!  :raz:

To answer your question as to why Artigiano is great, its because they are covering the basic priciples in producing great espresso. very briefly, these are:

- quality bean and roaster, fresh at least once a week

- coffee is ground per shot for each and every drink

- fresh milk for every drink, steamed properly

- quality equipment that is serviced & cleaned regularly

- a barista that understands what great espresso is and all the elements involved in making it happen.

in old school italian there is a saying: the bean, the grind, the machine, the touch.

this may all sound simple as there is so much more to understand about coffee and espresso. but 95% of the cafes/baristas in this town ignore even these basics. they don't know, or do not care to know, how to produce a decent shot.

as for starbucks and other major chains: it is really not so difficult to beat them on quality - their format is built around marketing and they will probably never be able to deliver on any one of the principles.

a handful of shops in vancouver (listed in the other thread) are pulling very fine espresso. they are paying attention to the principles and you can taste and see it right in the cup.

Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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Now I don't drink a lot of coffee (for some reason I'm very sensitive to it, I end up sleepless at 4am in the morning).... but I love the Mocha chiller at Delaney's on Denman st. near Davie. It's thick and smooth (unlike the Frap at Starbux), and sweetened perfectly to my taste.

I've been going there since my University days, the staff are extremely friendly and you can order a drink and stick around for hours on end. I can't remember how many courses I've studied through there.

Their Belgium Chocolate brownie is also quite delightful when I get the sweet tooth. :raz:

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I try to get coffee from Caffe Artigiano and JJ Bean now (with the occasional Starbucks for convenience). I like JJ Bean a little better, for the same reasons posted by edm.

btw, I think the new cafe on Davie at Burrard is Cafe Rio. I've had their coffee too, but I don't like it as much as JJ Bean or Caffe Artigiano.

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I would like to hear more about the Park Royal location. I'm the manager, and I've been there since day one. One of the drawbacks to the ristretto shots we pull is the fine line you must dance to pull them. A touch low in volume - bitter. A touch over - no longer a ristretto. We will always make a new espresso if it doesn't meet your expectations.

I hope your visits (coop and winegeek) were not recent. We trained the staff almost completely from scratch - and they have come a very long way, believe me. We prefer to teach from scratch. It may seem like more work, but in the long run, it's not.

A few days ago, I'd read good (not great) things about our espresso on coffeegeek, and was pleased. When I read this, I was taken aback, I wanted to learn more... so, if you're willing, give me the details. I'll figure this out, and fix it.

Barrett Jones - 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

Dwell Time - my coffee and photography site

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I'm a JJ Bean fan as well, but just before xmas my sister in law was shopping for a home machine and during the research I made her do, she encountered all this discussion on how espresso tastes better when the portafilter has had it's spouts removed. Apparently one of the Victoria coffee houses is brewing this way, anyone notice one of our Vancouver spots brewing this way? Photos of the technique are quite beautiful, and the espresso is reputed to be hands down better even in taste tests with less discriminating tasters!

Please let me know if you have seen this / tasted this, and where.

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