The coffee culture in Vancouver is quite strong. The city is home to a myriad of third-wave shops and roasters crafting an incredible cup of coffee — from sweet specialty lattes to stripped down pour overs.
Let’s embark on a caffeinated journey to the best coffee shops in Vancouver. Skip the Starbucks drive-thru and branch out to one of these locally owned coffee shops in the city!
Photo Courtesy of Relevant Coffee
This Uptown Vancouver hotspot has everything you might want in a coffee shop — a trendy space, some outdoor seating, friendly service, a convenient location, and expertly crafted coffee.Upon stepping through the doors you can tell that Relevant Coffee is a hospitality driven company with a coffee focus. Their team chooses community over competition by fostering a culture of education and inclusion. Over the past year, Relevant has championed other local shops, supporting them in difficult times as well as taking on community issues. As a coffee roaster with many accolades, they maintain a global worldview by focusing on sourcing from reliable coffee growers and bettering coffee communities and our local Vancouver community as a whole.Relevant is also passionate about education by teaching their guests how to best prepare their beans to create the perfect cup.
Photo Courtesy of Compass Coffee
Compass is a vibrant and modern coffee shop with two locations in the Vancouver area. The first is a roastery/tasting lab northeast of the city in Walnut Grove and the second is their main cafe in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
At Compass, the true dedication to their craft begins long before coffee beans reach their roastery. All of their coffee is ethically and sustainably sourced from only the best and most reliable farmers. The focus at Compass is “coffee as culinary” — from crop to cup. They carefully roast five days a week in small batches of 6 pounds (or less!) at a time in order to control quality and freshness. Relax in their gorgeous space in downtown, see the action at their roastery/tasting lab, or cross the river into Portland to visit the third Compass Coffee location!
Boomerang Bistro is a newly reopened coffee shop that recently downsized into a smaller space but expanded its food and drink options. But with the relaunch, this philanthropic coffee shop didn’t change one important factor — their commitment to giving back to the community. Boomerang Bistro gives all of their profits to various community organizations they are passionate about supporting.
You could essentially spend an entire day at Boomerang, as they offer an array of coffee and pastry options for breakfast, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and a variety of small plates, cocktails and desserts for late-night eats. This third-wave coffee house is airy and inviting, providing a refreshing atmosphere no matter what time of day you’re there. Boomerang Bistro serves espresso beans from Proud Mary Coffee, based in Portland.
Photo Courtesy of Black Rock Coffee Bar
With over 50 locations throughout the region (and counting!), it’s clear that Black Rock Coffee Bar is doing something right. This regional chain may be rapidly growing, but they remain focused on connecting with customers and fostering a sense of genuine community. Their aim is to become a place for connection and building relationships — and they have achieved just that. Black Rock serves coffee that is globally sourced and locally roasted. They have 11 locations in Vancouver alone — plus several in the Portland area and one in Camas! So you have plenty of opportunities to experience the community focus and taste the exceptional coffee at Black Rock Coffee Bar.
Portland’s beloved Albina Press took a leap across the river in late 2017 when they opened their first Vancouver location. The reception has been very positive as the shop put down roots in the community, much like they did at the first two Albina and Hawthorne locations in Portland. In fact, Albina Press does not use social media or a website and instead relies on reputation and word of mouth to keep the business running. Their expertly trained baristas are dedicated to the perfect pour, whether it’s a pour over or intricate latte art. Albina Press sells and uses Coava coffee beans, sells pastries from Portland’s Crema, bagels from Bowery Bagels, and tea from The Tao of Tea. Find this hidden gem in the small complex across from McLoughlin Middle School in East Vancouver.
Photo Courtesy of Thatcher’s Coffee
This local, woman-owned coffee shop cares deeply about supporting the community that supports them. Thatcher’s uses locally roasted and responsibly sourced coffee from Roseline and Heart, chai from Tanglewood Beverage Co., and a wide variety of loose-leaf, high-quality teas from Jasmine Pearl and The Tao of Tea. Plus, they bake a variety of seasonal pastries in house and make most of their sauces and syrups from scratch.
Thatcher’s has an inviting space with soaring ceilings and garage doors that open up the airy, modern interior. The sense of community is strong here — exemplified in the service, the locally sourced menu items, and the welcoming atmosphere that encourages conversation and connection.
Thatcher’s also operates an employee-directed donation program. Each month, a Thatcher’s employee chooses a local nonprofit organization to support, and they donate a portion of monthly sales to the organization of their choosing. The donation program reflects Thatcher’s deep commitment to serving the local community, as well as encouraging employees to authentically show up for themselves so they can authentically show up for others.
Photos Courtesy of Pines Coffee
The mantra of Pines Coffee is to “question everything.” They don’t to simply assume every aspect of their business is of the highest quality and integrity; they want to ensure they are only incorporating pure, natural, local and fresh ingredients. Go back to the basics with their drinks and food items made with high-quality and hand-crafted elements, like the milk they make in-house. Their outdoorsy, modern interior creates the perfect environment to sip on their natural drinks or bite into a gluten-free pastry.
If you mourned the loss of River Maiden in 2017, you were probably pleased to see it return this spring at a new location. This pop culture-loving shop has been welcomed back with open arms, and continues to serve top-notch drinks and various food items. River Maiden serves Stumptown Coffee, boba tea with house-made syrups, tea, soda, sandwiches, pastries, toast, oatmeal and more. Sit inside or relax on the outdoor patio at their new location and welcome River Maiden back to the neighborhood!
Photo Courtesy of Sweet Touch Cafe
This family-run Ukrainian coffee shop and bakery basically does it all. Originally called Svitoch when they opened in 2002, Sweet Touch entered the artisan coffee world in January of 2017, partnering with Caffé Umbria to incorporate high-quality coffee. Sweet Touch also serves macarons, pastries, cakes and crepes, and even has a catering business. Explore the diverse menu of tasty offerings at Sweet Touch and visit their clean, open and modern space near the Vancouver Mall before your next shopping trip!
This relatively new addition to the Felida community has provided a much-needed space for connection for local residents. Felida Coffee House opened in the new mixed-use space in Felida Village in the summer of 2016 and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive ever since. They serve locally roasted Deep Roots Coffee and treats from Rosycakes, plus additional drinks and various food items. The urban loft and soaring ceilings of the shop create the perfect environment to catch up with friends, meet new people, and enjoy high-quality coffee all the while.
What local shops do you love?
Let us know which coffee shop in Vancouver is your favorite!