Review – Revolver: the alchemy of coffee
– by Sonia Stastny
There were whispers of a new coffee shop opening at the hip edge of Gastown, a neighbourhood that has become the Mecca of all things gastronomically-related. (I mark the beginning of this era with the arrival of Salt in Blood Alley.)
Revolver, the new darling of Vancouver’s coffee scene, lives up to all expectations and more. On its first day, there were photographers and bloggers galore pointing macro lenses at their dainty cappuccinos.
Run by the four charming sons of the owner of Crema (Ambleside), this space is a coffee alchemist’s lair. The bar is lined with mysterious coffee-related gadgets and curious glassware; the barista performs his magic with the precise movements of a scientist. After buying some sexy beans roasted in San Francisco, John reveals to me the secret formula for the best aeropress (my gadget of choice) brew: 14 grams* of coffee, 208 grams of water off-boil (wait 30 seconds post-boil before pouring onto coffee), 35 seconds for the pressing process. Hardcore.
*A coffee scale retails at Revolver for about $34
Location: 325 Cambie Street (at Cordova)
Ambiance: Undeniably hip, yet casual and welcoming. The space is designed by the man responsible for Meat & Bread – exposed brick, industrial-utilitarian look with thoughtful details ranging from tiny succulents to the neat geographical wall design and sweet tile detail in the bathroom.
Coffee: Consistently stellar. A new supply of beans is brought in weekly from a variety of roasters: Ritual (San Francisco), Coava (Portland) and Phil & Sebastian (Calgary). The staff does blind tastings to choose two espressos per day to tickle the clients’ taste buds. The pastry selection is small but satisfying – the goodies are brought over from Crema each morning and there will be more as the café evolves. A variety of raw nuts are also available, which is a refreshing option for the modern health-conscious coffee drinker. Although the website remains minimal for now (clearly, the focus is on the hands-on business of coffee making), the daily menu is tweeted every morning (@revolver_coffee).
Price: Mid-level. Cappuccino is $3.50, a flight of 3 coffee tasters is $9.
Wi-Fi: Yes. Seats are not guaranteed, however – this place is busy!