Top 10 Best Coffee Roasters in Vancouver 2018
When it comes to the enjoyment of a coffee shop, there is a team of people who are the unsung heroes behind the whole experience. They’re the people that work in a noisy back room, hauling huge bags of beans around, getting dusty, acquiring burns on the end of their noses, all while not uttering a word of complaint. They are the people that make up the top 10 best coffee roasters in Vancouver 2018, as voted by you, the public.
There’s a reason why our west coast beans are so highly sought after over on the east coast of Canada. There’s a reason why our roasters win endless medals at the Golden Bean awards. Unsurprisingly, there’s a reason why our roasters get nominated for Sprudgie awards. Oh, and there’s a damn good reason why we’re coming for your reputation, Portland…
2018 also introduced a new mobile app I’ve been working on called Siply. Throughout this top ten, I do a cost comparison of two drinks on the menu, to show you how much you save if you use the app. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or email me if you want to know more.
NOTE: This list has been replaced with the 2019 version here.
10 Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters
Filter Coffee Price: $3.75
Filter Coffee Price with Siply: $2.93
I think I’m more excited by this winner than any others because the owner, Karen, is a pal of mine and I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow from a small online retailer called U-Roast-It Coffee to the largest local roaster in South Surrey.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: If you ask nicely, there’s often some under the counter light roast stuff, but their market is more of a medium to dark roast type of crowd, so that’s what they do really well. If you tell her I sent you, she’ll probably reply with “Oh, that wanker!”
One of the bigger names in Vancouver, Matchstick has been producing quality coffee for years, with their bags being spotted as far out as Montreal and as far south as California. They have four coffee shops in Vancouver now, so you can try their coffee in a cup, then buy a bag.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: I recently tried their Myanmar roast, which was the first coffee from that country I’ve ever had. I wasn’t really sure that I loved it, but it was amazingly interesting to try, with several layers of flavour including a Moussaka/eggplant taste as it cooled! Amazingly good fun to drink.
8. Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
Latte Price: $5
Latte Price with Siply: $3.90
Filter Coffee Price: $2.75
Filter Coffee Price with Siply: $2.15
I’ve noticed that Timbertrain coffee has been popping up as the bean of choice in a few coffee shops in 2018: Our Town, La Foret and Commercial Street Cafe to name but a few. This is because they’re a skilled and dependable roaster, with a multitude of roasts to try, as well as two awesome coffee shops.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: I had a Costa Rican natural the other day that was incredible, so I highly recommend that.
7. Elysian Coffee Roasters
Keeping on theme, we have another Vancouver classic, Elysian Coffee Roasters. They’re well known, well respected and highly sought after. With four locations across Vancouver, you can try their coffee in each location or even watch it being roasted in their 7th and Ontario location.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: I’ve been really impressed by both the service and the Americanos at Elysian recently, so I’d recommend a bag of their espresso. My preference is the Broadway shop, as their baristas are amazing.
6. 49th Parallel
I’d argue that 49th Parallel is the most famous roaster to come out of our fair city. You can see their teal coloured bags in dozens of cafes across Vancouver and even as far out as London, UK! This is all for good reason. Their quality is consistent, their beans are easy to work with and they have a large variety of roasts, with some easy to use classics as their regulars.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: The ‘Old School’ roast, while a bit dark for me, is a great starting point for those looking to get into home espresso.
At the halfway point of The 10 Best Vancouver Coffee Shops of 2018, I’d like to stop for 30 seconds to bring you a quick commercial 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 enables you to find the best coffee shops in the city then get amazing deals on drinks. Simply put – you can’t get better prices on your drinks anywhere else than this app.
If you’re keen to try it out, you can download it by visiting the website here.
5. Modus Coffee Roasters
Latte Price: $4.25
Latte Price with Siply: $3.32
Americano Price: $3.25
Americano Price with Siply: $2.54
I visit the Modus Coffee shop often and I can honestly say that after about 50 cups of coffee there, I’ve never, ever had a bad one. I even find that brewing their coffee is home is a breeze, as it’s so well made. You’re also going to get to meet some of the nicest folks in the coffee industry there. Get lucky and you may even meet Sharif, their head roaster and an all-around lovely bloke!
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Chose anything, it’ll be amazing! I do have a tendency to sway towards their Latif roast though. If you’re taking their coffee home, I’d say that their ‘Bare’ roast might be one of the most accessible and easy going coffees I’ve ever made at home.
4. Moving Coffee Roastery
I have to watch my language when I go into Moving Coffee because I’m often so mind blown by their drinks that I say things like, “HOLY F$%K, THIS IS INCREDIBLE.” Without a doubt, their coffee is some of the best on the planet right now. The head roaster, Edmond, is a Q-Grader (and thoroughly nice chap to boot), so the quality matches his skill level, with some intensely unique and delicious roasts.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: I’m a huge fan of their ‘split’. A shot of espresso (Phantom is my preference) and a tiny macchiato using grass-fed milk. If you’re looking a more traditional filter style coffee, their Guji will make your brain melt out of your ears.
It’s nothing short of jaw-dropping how quickly Lüna has risen up the ranks of coffee roasters in Vancouver. From their humble beginnings of a small roast called Disco Marmalade all the way to getting nominated twice for a Sprudgie award, roasting Geisha and producing arguably the best instant coffee on the planet. It’s not surprising though. The two owners, Laura and Nate, are from amazing coffee lineage. Nate formerly roasted for Elysian, who appeared earlier on this list, with Laura formerly spent her life as a green bean buyer for 49th Parallel.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: People will argue about their favourite roast until they’re blue in the face (or in Lüna’s case, blue with a gradient to purple with some amazing artwork overlaid), but my go-to is and I feel will always be their Disco Marmalade roast.
2. Agro Coffee Roasters
Latte Price: $4
Latte Price with Siply: $3.12
Filter Coffee Price: $3
Filter Coffee Price with Siply: $2.34
Cast aside the fact that their coffee is flippin’ incredible, Agro has some of the nicest damn people in the world working for them. Their customer service is matched by their roasting ability, so it’s no surprise to see them taking the number two spot in the Top 10 Best Coffee Roasters in Vancouver 2018. Agro caters to pretty much every band of coffee drinker, with dark, medium and light roast available in their East Van shop every day, as well as all sorts of great options on pour over. Their espresso game is also as tight as can be, with easily the best bang for buck bags of ‘spro in the city.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: Cappuccino is life at Agro. It needs to be part of yours. While you’re at it, they have some amazing Ethiopian available at various times of the year, try it and you’ll not regret it.
1. Pallet Coffee Roasters
Latte Price: $4.35
Latte Price with Siply: $3.39
Filter Coffee Price: $2.35
Filter Coffee Price with Siply: $1.83
Taking the top spot for the second year in a row, Pallet knocked it out of the park with their massive selection of roasts including their foray into the world of Geisha. 2018 also saw them open their fourth location, on Oak Street, as well as announce a new location coming in 2019. What you can expect at Pallet is… everything. They honestly have a roast for everyone in the medium to light roast ranges. Are you a fan of Costa Rica? They probably have a bag. Like natural Ethiopians? They probably have that too at some point in the year. Want a coffee from Wales? They don’t have that. No one does. It’d be awful.
Vancouver Coffee Snob Recommendation: It’s another roaster that amazes me with pretty much any of their beans, but if I had to choose I’d say that their Ethiopian Kayon Mountain might actually be my coffee of the year in 2018. It was a bright, grape tasting, fruity and juicy cup, with just the right amount of acidity and body. This, by the way, was anywhere I had it. At home – check. Inside a Pallet shop – check. At KOFFIE – check. Truly an incredible coffee.
Let me know in the comments below what you thought of the list and remember, this was a public vote, so I highly encourage you to completely disregard that fact and personally insult me instead. I dare ya, I DOUBLE DARE YA!
Karen’s right, I am a wanker.