One of the best lineups of coffee in the Lower Mainland
Extremely friendly staff
Parking is limited and free parking is quite far away.
Inside the venue is not great for large groups (patio is though)
Craft Cafe: Is this the best coffee shop in New Westminster?
I grew up in a town where the most popular weekend activity was to get drunk and watch toothless idiots punch each other in the forehead. This was inside a nightclub we affectionately nicknamed “Humping Yacks”.
My town was rough as hell and Jumpin’ Jacks was an abomination of an evening venue.
So when one of my overly tanned Kitsilano friends said “oooh, New West? It’s rough over there”. I knew I was going to feel at home.
Well, it turns out, New West is actually a lovely place.
And it just so happens to have a cafe that might have a better lineup of coffee than anyone else in the city.
Craft Cafe is genuinely going to blow your mind.
What is the Coffee Like at Craft Cafe?
In a word: fucking spectacular.
Yes I know that’s two words but it earned the second one.
Craft Cafe brings in coffee from the best coffee roasters in the world.
And I don’t make that statement lightly. If you look at their retail shelf you’ll see they often have beans from the USA, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Australia.
And they bring in the best of each roaster. What I mean by this is bags of coffee that cost $100+.
Suffice to say, it’s an incredible place to drink coffee.
They’re also on the Siply app, meaning that you can save a little cash when you buy your coffee using your app there.
Beans: Gardelli Roaster (Italy). Finca Hartmann, Panama Gesha Microlot (Honey Process)
Price: pour overs range from $5 up to $20 depending on the bean.
I’m not kidding when I unashamedly tell you that I actually gasped like a schoolgirl when I tried this coffee.
I’m a man. I’m 6ft4. I’m 210lbs.
It. Was. Insane.
I could smell this coffee across the room before it arrived at my table.
The taste started with a massive hit of orange/tangerine citrus. Then there was a Bergamot tartness that crept in with a really nice vanilla aftertaste.
It’s was so preposterously sweet that you’d think that there was honey added to it. But nope, just a fucking incredible coffee.
This legitimately goes down as top 3 coffees I’ve ever had in my life.
Beans: The Barn (Berlin) Brazil
First off, the mugs they serve their espresso drinks in are retro-looking art pieces that I’m sure get stolen a lot!
The drink was rich, nutty and had some vibrant and clean light-caramel notes. The milk was so thick and luxurious that I thought it was a Breve. It wasn’t, it was just killer milk from Avalon (the fancy grass-fed stuff).
Beans: Proud Mary (Australia) El Salvador
For a batch brew, this was way closer to a pour-over level of quality. When it was hot it was a nice, warm all-rounder coffee. But as soon as the temperature dropped, the floral notes came out and it tasted really special. It was one of the best batch brews, if not the best I’ve ever had.
What is the Food Like at Craft Cafe?
Sausage and Egg Breakfast Sandwich
This is always a solid option at most coffee shops. I enjoy them, but I’m rarely blown away by them.
Consider myself truly blown away with this one.
Salty and herby sausage, crispy muffin and intensely umami cheese. This was the Rembrandt of breakfast sandwiches.
Lobster Grilled Cheese
Yep, you read that correctly.
Lobster. Flippin. Grilled. Cheese.
As you can expect, this was rather tasty.
Actually, let me rephrase that. This is the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had in my entire life. By a huge amount.
The richness of the cheese was made even more intense by the sauce with the lobster. But at the same time, the whole sandwich tasted so clean and fresh. The bread was crispy and the addition of a zingy pickle made the whole sando perfectly balanced.
Craft Cafe isn’t huge, but the seating inside is well designed. There are lots of two-person seats as well as a huge patio with great views of the water.
As you enter, you’re greeted by a well-covered bar area (it is, after all, COVID times) with a beautiful Ferrari red KB90 espresso machine.
It’s welcoming, colourful and has a nice organic feel to it, with small accents of greenery dotted about.
OK, put down your tactical gear, New West isn’t the Gladiatorial zone I expected it to be. It’s really rather lovely and peaceful here.
However, parking can be a little awkward. There are a few pay spots around but I couldn’t find anything for free within about a kilometre. It’s not expensive parking though, which is nice.
There is a Skytrain and plenty of buses around a 5-10 minute walk away.
Every single time I’ve visited Craft Cafe, I’ve been given a huge welcome by whoever happened to be closest to me. All the staff are obviously enjoying working there and it really comes across in their service.
Get lucky and you may meet owner-operator, Taryn. She might be the most humble person I’ve met in the coffee scene.
Or you may meet Bob, who’s their chief coffee nerd! He’s a fantastic wealth of information on pretty much any great coffee that exists on the planet right now.
Get really lucky and you might have Cynthia as your barista. She’s the immensely friendly creator of the pour-over I mentioned earlier. I firmly believe that she is some sort of sorceress that added magic to that drink.
I think there might be two of them, but I can say for certain that the one I went into was bright, clean and nicely appointed.
OK, look. No offence to New West, but I was NOT ready for this level of quality from you. I was one of those idiots that figured that the closer you get to Vancouver central, the better the coffee got. Craft Cafe totally blows that theory out of the water.
This isn’t just a must-visit spot for the area. This is quite simply one of the best coffee shops in the lower mainland for any self-respecting snob to visit.
Need more proof? Well, they got voted one of the ten best coffee shops in Vancouver, in my Top 10 Coffee Shops poll this year.