Lets’s get right to the nitty gritty – Faebrew are selling cups of filter style coffee starting at $12.50 and going all the way up to $25 a cup. $25 a cup. That’s 5 times what you’ll pay at places like Aubade, Moving Coffee, Revolver, Timbertrain, Platform 7…. you get my point.
So is there any justification for this price? Is this a place where each coffee comes with a side of gold leaf encrusted cookies? Are the seats made of the finest mink fur and are the cups the size of oil barrels? More importantly is this coffee so unfathomably good that you’ll pay so much for a cup of that delicious nectar?
Various styles – $12.50 – $25 a cup
First let’s talk about the process. Faebrew market themselves as more of a coffee bar than a coffee shop. Their baristas are marketed as more like cocktail mixologists. When you sit down and order they ask you about what kind of flavours you like, what kind of texture, sourness, bitterness and astringency levels you like. They then create a coffee based off whatever your preferences are, in a variation of brewing methods (Chemex, V60, Siphon, French press). There are no espresso based drinks and nothing is ready to go in a decanter.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – Chemex – $12.50 per cup
There’s no doubt about the fact that this was a very good coffee. The flavours were well balanced, the texture was smooth and appealing, it was bright and had some great chocolate notes. The presentation was excellent, being served in one of the custom made ‘Fairy Wing’ style cups.
Which brings me to the peculiar mug you may notice in the above photo. Every serving vessel at Faebrew is custom made, with fairy wings for a handle. There are dozens, all shapes and sizes and they play a key part in the coffee experience. When you’re asked “how your day has been so far” it’s partly to find out what kind of mug to give you! Had a tough day? You’re getting a big, chunky, heavy cup. Having a great day? You’re getting a light and whimsical version. This has to be one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen in a coffee shop and it really adds to the experience.
Kenyan – Siphon – $12.50 per cup
Another excellent cup made all the more enjoyable by the Siphon process. I usually shy away from Siphon as I’m often unhappy with the results, but this was probably the best effort I’ve ever had in that style. Again, the flavours were well balanced, the consistency was great and the barista, er I mean coffee bartender took us through the whole process explaining every step along the way, throwing in his own custom tricks throughout (there were ice cubes involved!). It was some very entertaining theater thrown in with an already interesting process to watch.
Faebrew also carry a line of teas and also freshly pressed juices from local supplier UpJus
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie $5.71
There were a few different options involving chocolate chips but I’m team ‘oatmeal raisin or die’… I know, I know, I’m odd like that, screw you. The cookie was moist, delicious and more importantly it was bloody huge!
Faebrew also offer some interesting evening desserts such as Ferrero Rocher and Matcha mousse served in masonry jars.
I live in the city so technically it’s a pain in the ass for me to get to, but in reality it’s in a great location. There’s a skytrain close by, there’s heaps of parking directly outside and it’s really close to lots of shopping.
They’ve clearly spent a lot of time, effort and money on making this place look incredible. There’s a large bar area to sit at and the white and grey with slight coloured accents looks really stylish. The place very much resembles a bar, which is the intention, but there’s a small seating area away from action.
Large, perfectly clean and well appointed; the bathrooms at Faebrew are great.
Faebrew is run by an immensely friendly young chap called Vincent. The second you walk in you’re welcomed by someone you can immediately tell is very, very into his coffee. He self trained over only one year and has a wealth of information and knowledge tucked away in his head. He’s happy to talk all night on the subject but does it in a very humble and understandable way. As an added bonus we got to meet his mum, who was equally as lovely!
I’ve not struggled to conclude a review so much in ages. This has taken me two weeks to properly complete and I still don’t know if Faebrew is revolutionary in bringing amazingly rare coffee to Vancouver, or if it’s just too bloody expensive! I think that ultimately it’s a hugely exciting place to get coffee, run by great people with a great atmosphere, but I just simply can’t afford to drink there. I truly hope they succeed in what they do, because it’s great to have a venue like this to stop off at once or twice a year for a treat, but I wonder if it’s the kind of place that’s actually sustainable long-term. Only time will tell and I wish Vincent and team the best of luck.