But that’s not why you’re here. This is the big one. Today is THE master list. It’s the holy grail of where the best cafes in Vancouver can be found.
It’s the list of the 10 best coffee shops in Vancouver 2021, as voted by the public.
This list is bought to you by Jelly Donut Events
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 1-2 years it’s that working from home has been a bit of a challenge.
Personally, I’ve found that the dynamics in the teams I work in have totally changed on account of knowing that everyone is working in only their underpants.
Well, Jelly Donut Events has ya back for adding that spark back, with their awesome Virtual Team Building Events.
Take for example the coffee tasting event. Three incredible bottles of cold brew are sent to your door, then your group gets to sample them live on Zoom/Teams/etc, with a coffee expert host (transparency: I’m one of them).
A powerhouse of the coffee roasting scene, Timbertrain has two coffee shops that ooze style and class.
They have a varied selection of coffee with some of the best batch brew filter coffee in the city, in my opinion. Every trip to one of their locations involves meeting some of their amazingly friendly staff and eating some of their solid light food options.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: I’m always drawn directly to their batch brew filter coffee, but their shorter espresso drinks (eg a Cortado) are incredibly well balanced. While you’re there, get one of their popcorn cookies into your belly.
Craft Cafe are responsible for one of my top 3 cups of coffee of all time and definitely my favourite of 2020 (a Panama Geisha from Gardelli).
Their shop is light and airy, there’s loads of outside seating with a water view and the staff are so impossibly friendly that every single one of my visits has been an 11 out of 10. They carry easily the most varied selection of coffee in New West and possibly in all of the Greater Vancouver Area.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Ask the barista what is tasting great on pour-over at the moment and trust what they suggest. They often have $10+ cups of coffee available here that they sell at cost, so it’s a prime location to try exceptionally rare coffee you otherwise wouldn’t want to spend $100+ a bag on! Food-wise, their Lobster Grilled Cheese actually bought a tear to my eye it was so good.
Prado might be the best-known cafe brand in Vancouver and for damn good reason.
They mix community spirit, impeccable service, a varied and delicious food program and a consistently excellent coffee selection. This year saw them open their eighth cafe, this time in North America’s biggest Agrihood, Southlands (in Delta).
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Their flat white is always a solid option that blends a punchy espresso with luxurious milk. Bonus points for using Oat Milk.
Revolver has been on every top 10 list pretty much since they opened. They blend New York aesthetics with a massive coffee program and a selection of light sweet treats.
Their staff are friendly but more importantly, very skilled in every aspect of coffee brewing. 2020 saw them as one of the first coffee shops to switch to window service only, which they are still serving out of, at the time of writing.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Their auto pour-overs are always very consistent, but I often find myself getting an espresso/macchiato combo.
2020 saw the already consistent Modus Coffee Roasters expand their offerings with one of the best brunch programs the city has to offer.
Their shop is light and bright, meaning it’s perfect for Instagram moments. Their coffee selection is all roasted in-house and I’ve honestly never had a bad drink here. It’s also a fantastic place to perch at the bar to nerd out with their baristas about coffee.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: This year I’ve been especially fond of their Opus roast on pour-over for a creamy, floral and well-balanced coffee experience.
Kafka’s is one of the longest-standing coffee brands in Vancouver and is the oldest surviving shop that started serving pour-over coffee.
This year saw them switch exclusively to a brand new pour-over device (the Espro Bloom) as well as open their third location. The new venue is a masterpiece of interior design, blending 1950’s art deco with Gastown roughness.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Kafka’s have one of the best dark roasts in the city, but after they launched their new Nitro Cold Brew this year, I always get that when I visit.
302 W Hastings St, Vancouver 101 Carrie Cates Ct #110, North Vancouver On Siply – Yes!
This year we saw Nemesis’s, er Nemesises? Nemesi’s. This year we saw the Nemesis team (there we go) expand out their Dope Bakehouse program at their Polygon location. The baked food at this location is nothing short of spectacular, with a brunch program at both locations to match it.
On the coffee side of things, you can expect the usual varied selection of high-end roasters imported from around the world, with an added bonus of a rotating selection of imported coffee available on batch brew in their Polygon location.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: At Polygon I’d recommend the aforementioned batch brew, but at Gastown I always favour the pour-overs. Mostly so I can badger the baristas with my incessant questions about technique.
They may have only been open six months, but the momentum behind Harken has been unmistakable. They won Best New Coffee Shop, came third in the Best Roasters category and they’re back to take a podium finish in The 10 Best New Coffee Shops in Vancouver 2020 list!
Harken has a massive coffee program, all roasted in house and all incredibly high-quality. Their vegan menu is probably the best non-meat food I’ve ever had in my life and it’s all Japanese inspired. The venue is well designed and they’ve assembled a team of some of the best coffee nerds in Vancouver, all of whom know great customer service inside out.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Ask them if they have any off-menu beans for a truly unique experience. But if not I’d recommend a pour over using their Spring or Summer blends, followed up by a Cortado. For food, you can’t go wrong with whatever their homemade breakfast cereal of the day is (homemade Lucky Charms anyone?)!
Interlude from The 10 Best New Coffee Shops in Vancouver 2021!
The 10 Best New Coffee Shops in Vancouver 2021 will continue after this quick ad break!
For the last year, I’ve been working on a project called Siply. You might have noticed that throughout this article I reference whether a shop is part of the Siply network or not.
Siply is an app that gives you a curated list of the best coffee shops in Vancouver. Then it gives you amazing deals on drinks.
Simply put – you can’t get better prices on your drinks anywhere else than this app. I made a little calculator to show this. Have a play with it and see what you think:
If you’re keen to take it out for a whirl, you can download it by visiting the website here.
OK, back to the list of The 10 Best New Coffee Shops in Vancouver 2021!
Taking a podium spot for the fourth year in a row, comes the crowd-pleaser, Pallet Coffee Roasters!
Pallet has solidified its reputation as a cafe (well, six) that offers a wide range of exceptionally high-end house-roasted coffee, brewed up in various different ways. They have an extensive food program that caters to those of you that have a sweet tooth, all the way to those that prefer a bit of savoury with their drinks.
Each of their venues is masterfully appointed by one of my favourite interior designers, Alice D’Andrea. There’s always plenty of light and seating, plus a large bar area where you can watch the baristas work.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: I don’t think I’ve ever had anything other than a perfect Oat Milk Cortado at any of their cafes. But when I have the time to enjoy it, I’ll always opt for an Ethiopian bean on pour-over. Pallet also has one of the best decaf’s at the moment, with their Sidamo roast.
For the first time since they opened, Prototype Coffee takes the number 1 spot in The 10 Best Coffee Shops in Vancouver 2021 list!
Visiting Prototype is truly a unique experience. Firstly they usually have around fifteen different types of coffee available. Yes, you read that correctly. Do you see that guy in the photo above (that’s the owner, Matt by the way)? He’s roasting on their tiny Bullet R1 roasters. Because they roast in small batches, they are able to offer a huge selection every day.
Secondly, Prototype also just introduced their own food program. Wafnuts? Doghffles? Wafoughnuts? Whatever they’re called, they’re Donuts made in a Waffle Iron. They’re then dipped in some of the most luxurious and intensely flavoured frostings I’ve ever tasted.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Start with a ‘set’, which is a fancy way of saying an espresso/macchiato pairing. Then move onto one of their pour-over options. Third, shoot back a steamed cold brew. Finally, grab one of their to-go bottles for home. Of course, you won’t need it for days, because you’re going to be so wired that you’re hearing colours. Take the edge off with a grapefruit glazed waffle donut. Because you’ve earned it.
The final day of The Snobby awards! I’ve dubbed this “The Rest of the Snobbies”.
These are a mixture of my personal recommendations, some properly daft and sarcastic awards, as well as contrived shout outs to my friends in the coffee industry that might be hawking some awesome gear.