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Aug 10, 2012 04:02 PM


Looking for a great coffee/coffee mocha in Downtown Vancouver or nearby. Any suggestions ?

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  1. Best coffee in the city is at Revolver on Cambie just near E Hastings.

    The chain JJ Bean is also pretty good, I'd choose them over Starbucks or Artigiano.

    2 Replies
    1. re: reiney

      Agree with Revolver re best coffee in downtown vicinity (it's closer to Gastown really) and avoiding Artigiano and Sbux. Haven't had a mocha in Vancouver in years so no help there.

      1. re: reiney

        Third the Revolver recommendation. Though if you're willing to stray further away from dt then Elysian Coffee is a decent option (Broadway & Ash, a block away from the Canada Line station. Also a nice people-watching spot especially with a seat by the window.

      2. Is it great coffee or great coffee mocha that you are looking for? Answer to each is different.

        4 Replies
        1. re: _js_

          You're right JS - and I'm perfectly willing to hit two spots if need be. What do you think ?

          1. re: Bruce Kerr

            For mochas, hit up any Blenz. Yes, I know it's a chain. I like my mocha with half dark and half white chocolate, with an extra shot of espresso (3 shots in total).

            1. re: _js_

              I actually agree with this. Blenz has one of the best mochas I've tasted. I typically opt for the dark chocolate myself.

              1. re: Florentine

                You cannot go wrong with any drinks made with chocolate there (hot chocolate, mocha) -- and that`s objectively speaking.

        2. My recommendation may be stale as I haven't been there in eons - but I recall Mink having a good mocha. My choice for coffee downtown is JJ Bean.

          14 Replies
          1. re: fmed

            FWIW it's worth-the Ockers & Kiwis I work with say Coffee here sucks compared to what they have @ home.

            1. re: Sam Salmon

              Having lived down under for more than a decade I'll disagree with that (though I do miss flat whites). You can have some terrible coffee in Oz too, like anything it's knowing where to go. I'd stack Revolver, 49th Parallel and even JJ Bean up against most coffees there.

              It would be fair to say it's a more established coffee culture, having been influenced by a lot of Southern European immigrants, and you probably have a better chance of getting a good coffee playing roulette with the options. Filter/drip coffee just doesn't exist there - it's French press, stovetop espresso or espresso machine.

              1. re: reiney

                It's worth asking if places will do you a flat white -- there is the odd barista around town who knows what that is. At the now-defunct Re-Entry on Main, they were even on the menu, which is how I discovered their existence.

                1. re: grayelf

                  As long as the customer is able to describe the drink and the ratio of components (espresso, milk, others), any barista should be able to make it. In any case, if they didn`t get it right the first time, you can always ask them to remake the drink.

                  1. re: _js_

                    "Should be able" being the operative words ;-). This is all putting me in mind of my quest for a Gibraltar here several years ago after trying them in SF. Now they are popular but back then...

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Inspired by this thread, I ordered a flat white today with renewed optimism - every barista I order it from describes it as something different, and this time it was "like a latte, except less foam?"

                      It got close anyway :)

                      Prado @ Commercial Drive

                      1. re: reiney

                        This whole "flat white" thing sounds pretentious.

                        AFAIK, it just means it's a latte but without the foam head and focusing mainly on the steamed microfoam milk that doesn't get scalded to retain the "caramelized" flavour.

                        I basically make this all the time for myself with my machine. I make these for my co-workers for a treat ... they like it (but I don't go around calling it a "flat white") Anyways, just my 2 cents.

                        1. re: bill_n_opus

                          Dunno about pretentious, it's just a name after all, but as a non-foam lover it certainly appeals to me. Though as I'm moving away from espresso based drinks toward various drip contaptions, I'd probably not do well in Oz or NZ :-)

                          1. re: bill_n_opus


                            It's a legitimate, and distinct, coffee style - as you yourself point out given the alterations to a latte preparation that you believe are necessary to come up with the end result. And it's a *specific term* used in Australia, where "flat white" is not only prevalent, but on every espresso menu across the country next to latte and cappuccino.

                            If a flat white is pretentious, then so are the myriad of other espresso-based coffee preparations. Let's keep it real, then - Tim Horton's filter drip for everyone!

                            1. re: reiney

                              Fine, we'll agree to disagree.

                              But if you're gonna try to argue more foam versus less foam with a bit more milk than less ... and try to somehow connect it to a "myriad of other espresso-based coffee preparations" I think you're seriously reaching there. "Please!"

                              and let's do keep it real. No one was going so far to say "Timmies for everyone!" I guess you like the deep end of the semantic pool. I'm not going to tread water there to make you happy. :)

                              "Flat White" in Australia, fine. Potato ... potatoe ... oysters or "errsters!" You say Aboriginal, others say Native ... meh. I'm going to ask for a "low-rise egg-shell" next time and tell them it's distinct from a "flat white" ;) because it's what they call it in Kuala Lampur.

                          2. re: reiney

                            So how much less foam than a latte for a flat white?

                            1. re: _js_

                              Honestly, if you order a flat white in Aus, you'll get as much variance as if you order a cappuccino in Canada. Some will be great, some will be terrible. Ordering one up here and trying to instruct a barista on "how to do it" will rarely be effective, even with some of the best. I would argue this is due to expectations by the consumer.

                              A customer looking for a flat white wants the same coffee they sipped on at Market Lane in Melbourne, or perhaps at AIR Coffee. Maybe you got hooked on them at Flat White, the Antipodean coffee shop in London. The way most quality shops in Vancouver (and following that, Western Canada) are doing things with milk is the same way they're doing things at the high end shops in Australia. Order a cappuccino at front running cafes in Vancouver - Revolver, Matchstick, Elysian, 49th and you'll get something pretty similar to the coveted flat white.

                              As a little insider secret, almost all great baristas steam their milk the same for every drink. The end goal with steaming is microfoam. It's dense, with the texture of warm double cream giving you an amazing mouthfeel. In a proper 5-6 ounce cappuccino cup, you get the appearance of more "foam" simply due to settling out of an unstable milk foam in a smaller cup. With a larger cup, say 8 ounces plus, there is less of an unstable foam layer, resulting in the appearance of less foam. For the most part though, it's a homogeneous milk foam throughout the drink. That same way of steaming milk is used for flat whites.

                              The term flat white is likely derived from the way drinks were typically prepared 10-20 years ago at espresso bars. Remember really dry cappuccinos? That was a cappuccino back then. Usually served in a shorter cup, with a big head of dry, stiff meringue-like foam. You rarely see those these days. A latte was a taller cup or perhaps a glass, served with less foam than a cappuccino. Here's where the flat white came in, it was a short cup, perhaps the same as a cappuccino, but it was served as a drink with non-bubbly milk, level to the edge of the cup. 20 years later and the term is making its way around the globe, confusing consumers and baristas worldwide.

                              Sigh. I apologize for the rant, but it had to be said. Disagree if you will.

                              1. re: peter.v

                                A good assessment, Peter, and you're absolutely right that there are plenty of variations throughout Oz (as an Aussie I have probably had most of them!)

                                I only disagree that ordering a cappuccino here gets the same result, as the foam is drier - not fluffy clouds of meringue-dry, but still drier - and the milk : espresso ratio off.

                                "Similar"...well, perhaps :-)

                                1. re: peter.v

                                  Not a rant. Candidate for best post of the year on our board. Passing it on to my SO for his edification and education. Thanks, peter!