Surrey. Famous for… well, we all know it’s reputation. It’s not exactly the coffee hub of the Greater Vancouver Area is it? But what if I told you that you could get very good coffee there. What if I told you that you could go to training classes, where you learn to taste different types of coffee, with fancy spoons, in an immaculate venue. Oh, you’re one of those people in Surrey that eats with their hands? Then what if I told you that you can drink coffee out of actual cups, not paper ones that are emblazoned with a minimum wage dodging companies’ logo on the side?
Well, all of that is true. That oasis I speak of is Spent Grounds… and it’s awesome.
Disclaimer: I know the folks at Spent Grounds personally, so I’m biased. As such, I’ve turned the ratings off for this review, lest I get immediately called out by you swarthy internet detectives! However, everything great I write about the place is 100% true.
The first thing to note is that Spent Grounds is not a coffee shop. It’s more of a coffee lab, so their drink options are not as extensive as your regular type of cafe, serving only pour over and espresso (no steamed milk) at the moment.
Spent Grounds have a long bar with six Hario v60’s in a row. It looks awesome, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that the barista/owner of the place. Karen (more on her later), turned down my request to pour me six simultaneous coffees, citing the pour excuse that “she only has two arms”. Appendage based weakness aside, the coffee was absolutely delicious. The stonefruit notes coming through nicely and the body well balanced.
Espresso – $2
Beans: Spend Grounds Espresso Blend
First off, Spent Grounds have no espresso machine. Instead, they have one of these puppies:
It’s a Flair Espresso Press. You fill the thing with coffee, pour some hot water into and pull down on the plunger. I was pretty impressed by how close to a proper espresso it was. The only thing that I noticed is that the body of the shot was quite thin compared to an electric machine. But for $280 it does a stunning job. The shot was sweet, strong, dark and well balanced.
Well, it’s a coffee lab, so I wasn’t expecting anything at all, to be honest, but it was great to a see a selection of sweet treats (ToDieFor banana bread is amazing) as well as some pre-packaged soups, vegan wraps and an assortment of entree style grab and go snacks.
I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a wanker. If I’m even more honest, you Canadians rarely call me out on it. You’re just so bloody polite! Enter Karen, the owner of Spent Grounds and the one person I can rely on to call me a wanker when I deserve it. As such I think she’s flippin’ awesome.
On a more serious note though, she’s a really attentive barista, listens to what you want and recommends drinks based on that, but is also a big influence on the home coffee roasting market, given that she’s the brains behind U-Roast-It-Coffee, the only company I’ve ever allowed to advertise on this site.
It’s a white, light wood, metal and glass masterpiece! There’s a communal table, as well as a big bar area, but my favourite part is that there’s a separate room called the chill-out lounge, with a couple of sofas and a coffee table. Perfect for locking up wankers when they go off on one about how gypsies ruined the town he grew up in (true story).
In addition to the lounge, there’s a cupping lab at the back of the venue where they hold regular tasting and education events. It’s far from the usual stomping ground, but it would be awesome to see Coffee Potluck there one day!
It’s in Surrey, I don’t know, what do you want me to say? I live in East Van so I want to imply that it reminds me of home, but they’ve actually set up shop in a nice area of town, so I can’t relate to that as our particular East Van location is sketchy as hell.
Jokes aside, there’s loads of parking, it’s impossibly easy to get to and if you live in Surrey it means you no longer have to drive to Abbotsford to find a decent coffee shop, so let’s be honest, it could be anywhere and it would be a great location.
When I grow up, all I want out of life is for my bathrooms to look like theirs. They’re poopingly AMAZING. Even the mighty BathroomsOfYVR would bow to their pristine, shiny, greenery infused goodness. SO. WELL. APPOINTED.
Like I said, I already knew Karen before I visited Spent Grounds, so I’m not able to be truly impartial. But, this wanker can honestly say that he’s really excited to see what Spent Grounds has in store for us in 2018. They’ve got a great venue, in a great location. More importantly, they’re bringing fantastic coffee and education to an area of the GVA that really needs it.
People of Surrey, this is the absolute pinnacle of coffee in your area. If you’re serious about the brown stuff you owe it to yourself to visit.