I love coffee, and judging from the number of coffee shops in the city, most of Vancouver does as well. On most mornings our household starts off with a few bodums of French press coffee, made with freshly ground beans and water just a little cooler than boiling. I also love exploring Vancouver’s ever changing array of coffee shops, which are as much town squares and workspaces for the digital age as they are places to grab some caffeine-laced brown water.
Very few places embrace coffee to the degree Vancouver does, and so coffee culture can be seen as part of our larger culinary identity. We like high quality coffee, but also enjoy a particularly dark roast compared to many places. Our beans are often black and oily, carrying a lot of caramel and chocolate flavour. In many parts of Europe such dark roasts would be unheard of, but they have their advantages, including a lower caffeine content.
One thing Vancouver hasn’t had is a good reliable supply of the world’s best single source coffees. One can occasionally get Kona at Whole Foods, and my personal favourite, Jamaica Blue Mountain, has usually required mail order or a trip to Seattle. These elite beans are usually three times the price of coffee at the corner cafe, but they make up for the sticker shock with unparalleled smoothness and flavour. But thanks to Rocanini Coffee in Steveston, I won’t need to line up at the border to get my favourite blend.
Steveston has been undergoing a rapid transition from a sleepy seaside town to a vibrant restaurant hub surrounded by dense high-end housing development, and boasts a number of new and interesting culinary experiences. Rocanini is now at the corner of Moncton and No 1, and they offer a number of very high quality coffees, including Jamaica Blue Mountain beans. They also do two-cup orders of siphon coffee; this complex but very smooth preparation is a great activity for a leisurely coffee date. It is a bit out of my price range for everyday, but it is a wonderful treat, and shows that Vancouver’s coffee scene continues to evolve.