You may recognize parts of this review, as it’s been repurposed from a review I did of Tangram Creamery, which rebranded itself to become Sweet Barrel Creamery.
I was a huge fan of its previous incarnation and I’m a huge fan of this one too.
It’s what happens when you mix 1 part nano roaster, 1 part ice cream creator, 1 part crepe master and 1 part mad scientist!
Sweet Barrel roasts their own coffee on site. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to watch them at work, as the roaster is front and centre in the store.
Pour Over – 12oz – $4 Bean – Sweet Barrel Ethiopian
Made in a v60, this coffee had great subtle fruit flavours when hot and was an overall great example of Ethiopian coffee that I could drink all day. However, this really shone when it cooled down. An absolute peach bomb – the stone fruit flavours exploded out of this once it got lukewarm. A fantastic coffee.
First off, it was a delight to see Michael, the owner, work this thing like the mad scientist I mentioned earlier. Second, it tasted bloody delicious! It definitely opened up as it cooled down, with some raisin flavours coming out to play and a juicy, full-bodied texture following it up. It’s a bit more expensive than a pour over (because it’s such a pain in the ass to make) but it’s well worth it.
Holy bloody ice cream deliciousness batman, these things are INCREDIBLE. I tried several of them so I’m not going to go over each one, but here are some highlights:
Vanilla Bean – one of the best vanillas I’ve ever had in my life. Hoji Cha – toasty and bright. A really interesting flavour I’ve never had before. Earl Grey – Tasted just like a London Fog Drink. Strawberry & Cream – Heavy on the cream with a delicious strawberry note.
Asian Twist Crepe – $8
The crepe had bite but was soft and the fillings were crisp and fresh. The sauce was the real star here though, being sweet and sour at the same time, with a delightful punchy savoury note.
They also have a range of other pastries, waffles and other treats.
The staff at Sweet Barrel are amazingly welcoming, knowledgeable and more importantly enthusiastic about their products. They’re always keen to tell you about a new ice cream flavour they’re working on, a new type of coffee or even a new contraption they’re working on for brewing coffee. Which brings me to…
The venue is compact but they’ve made great use of the space, with a communal table and small bench in the window for people to perch in, as well as a bench outside. There are lots of other little seating areas dotted around the place too. The most fun part of it all, though, is finding all the small additions they’ve made with steel pipes and wood. Everything seems to be custom made, from the shelves, the portable pour over station, the cabinets and even the til system. It’s all made by the owner and it looks great!
Sweet Barrel is in a busy location on Arbutus, just off Broadway. As such it can be a bit of a pain to park for free around here. There’s lots of meter parking around the area though, as well as a bus stop on Broadway.
Immaculate and incredibly #wellappointed (this seems to be my catchphrase for loos). The single bathroom is clean, spacious and even has two different choices of how to dry your hands. I chose both because I’m fancy like that.
Sweet Barrel is the best ice cream shop I’ve been to in Vancouver and probably one of the best I’ve ever been to in the world. But don’t just get excited by the grub, get excited by awesome brew methods that they use on their awesome coffee as well as their solid food and super freindly staff.
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