Four days of our recent vacation were spent in the lovely Vancouver, BC, with Dan’s brother  Nick and his partner Cristina- I was nervous to spend time in such a big city (Halifax is small!) but turns out, I actually kinda loved it (it also helps that Nick and Cristina are rad!). I had a huge list of coffee shops I wanted to visit that I had compiled with lots of help from my friend Marc, I didn’t make it to them all but here is a list of the places I did make it to and what I thought about them.

Day One:

Caffe Artigiano–  This place was a little weird for my taste- it seemed super fancy but commercial. They had a huge menu of drinks that I had never heard of on top of your standards. The cashier gal was a little snarky but it was a busy spot and that’s what happens when you are on cash sometimes. The Barista defiantly knew what was up and made us 3 beautiful macchiatos (one for me, Dan and Nick). It says on the website that the baristas here are ‘…award winning baristas specialize in coffee art, creating a unique rosetta, tulip or heart atop of each cappuccino and latte served…’. They had some interesting info posted near the espresso machine about how the machine is specially designed for Vancouver and the water there (or something… I actually can’t remember but at the time it was interesting and now I can’t find anything on the website about this!!!), or they used special water that they brought from somewhere else?! Who knows! The espresso tasted very, very citrusy- The most citrus tasting coffee I have ever had. I didn’t love it but I am glad I got stop in and try it as it was unlike any espresso I had ever tasted!

Day Two:

Kafka’s– I had heard great things about Kafka’s before going here and it did not disappoint- I had the best cappuccino ever here!! I loved it there and I am really sad we didn’t go back again as we had planned on. I truly recommend this place- The baristi were friendly and were eager to talk about coffee when I told them I was visiting from NS. It turned out the Barista who had made our drinks is from Cape Breton! Nice looking place, awesome espresso, they do pour overs and siphons, have a super simple menu and yummy baked goods, locally made art on the walls and Baristi who clearly love what they do. They also specialize in tea! What more could you want???

Day Three:

Elysian Coffee– Elysian, Elysian… You stole my heart. I loved this spot. First- it is small and intimate, which is always great. We went here on a nice sunny day (only the second day I had worn short sleeves outside so far this spring) and we sat on the patio and  sipped our Cappuccinos. The Baristas here were really sweet and they were all super babely and dressed oh-so-well which is always a bonus. The guy who made my drink actually happened to be from NS too! Awesome! And they new of a few of the coffee shops in Halifax (Just Us! and TIBS). He also remade my drink because he wasn’t satisfied with (I think) his art on the first one, which is great.  They serve Intelligentsia here and have sparkling water on tap! AMAZING. Seriously- Amazing. I now dream of having this in my own cafe one day. I was also sad I didn’t make it back here again but, a girl can only drink so much coffee! They also used a Synesso espresso machine which I have  a big place for in my heart… they are a dream to work on.

Bump & Grind– We had the best Macchiatos here. The experience wasn’t as memorable as Elysian (the sun! the cute people!) or Kafkas (the massive tables! The guy working on his art in the corner!) but my Macchiato was seriously good. The guy working got what he was doing  and was very calm and quiet in a really nice sort of way. I also picked up a copy of 33 Cups Of  Coffee here which I am pretty excited about (but have yet to use it!!!). The also had a perfect bar to stand up and enjoy your drinks at… I thought it was a nice addition for those who are having something like an espresso and are not going to sit down. I will defiantly be going back here next time I am in Van.

Day Four:

JJ Bean– I was pretty stoked to try out JJ Bean, I had tried a few of there coffees before (some one I work with had brought some back from Van a few months ago) and was pretty struck by it. Dan and I both ordered Cappuccinos (surprise, surprise!) which were made pretty effciantly considering how busy it was in there. I loved the aesthetic here (it was the commercial and E 6th Ave. location) lots of wood and open space, great windows and a cute looking patio. We also grabbed a bag of single origin coffee (The Boquete Classico from Chiriqui, Panama. Tasting Notes- Creamy, Sweet, Concord grape & Almond). You get a free espresso when you buy a bag of coffee so that was a nice bonus (we are JUST getting around to drinking this coffee now… I’ll let you know how it is!) All in all JJ did not dissapoint and had everything it takes to make a cafe awesome. The staff were great too!

Prado– I think I could have loved Prado…. The interior was beautiful, white walls, wood, metal, a black bathroom (what IS it with black bathrooms these days…. Elysian had black bathrooms too, and a few other places we ate at while we were on the west coast. Anyways, I love this trend!), huge windows, babely baristas, a white espresso machine that was a beaut! But, the service kinda got me… the girls working there just weren’t that nice. I forgot to tip so after my drink  (macchiato) I went back up to tip and I wasn’t acknowledged at all by either of the girls who were standing right in front of me…. There was no line up, nothing, they were just talking. Maybe I am too sensitive but customer service is so important to me and can make or break my experience. After that I didn’t even bother looking to see what kind of beans they used….. Sorry Prado! Our drinks were totally good and I clearly liked the ambiance, Plus there was a really cute dog waiting for it’s owner outside… I would give it a try again in hopes that I would receive better customer service!

Our coffee experience in Vancouver was GREAT…. It has really inspired me in so many ways and opened my eyes up a lot to what some of the best cafes are up too. The coffee culture out here on the East coast is just starting to take off it seems and I am so excited to see where it is going to go!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

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