Vancouver coffee report – Dose and Innocent Coffee reviews
– by Sonia Stastny
In recent months, new coffee shops have been appearing in Vancouver like mushrooms after rain.
I try to keep up with this rapid growth of the coffee scene by talking to my barista friends, eavesdropping on conversations at cafés, and taking tips from our readers on Guttersnipe. So here are a couple of New(-ish) Kids – the first one is not so new, and the second one is friends with the first one.
It seems like the coffee community is very small and insular. Everyone knows each other. Baristas leave one coffee shop and start their own. They make it better, or if that is not possible, make it equally as good.
New Kid #1: Dose
Location: 1517 West Broadway (corner of Granville)
Ambiance: A tiny closet-sized caffeine station for those on-the-go. The owner, Tony, loves coffee and wants to cater to anyone who might pass by, or those who live or work in the neighbourhood. Unlike many coffee connoisseurs, Tony’s attitude is laidback; he understands that everyone has their own taste, and that a good cappuccino is not everyone’s cup of … er.. coffee. As a result, Dose has a variety of fun, non-caffeinated drinks, such as Raspberry or Nutella Hot Chocolate (easily transformed into a mocha of course!). Further on the neighbourhood note, Tony sources all his goodies from local companies: the tempting looking pastries are from Baguette and Co.; the coffee is Origins Organic Coffee from Granville Island (brewed with La Marzocco machine); and the loose-leaf tea is from Bayswater Tea Co. Although the café itself is minute, it still exudes a welcoming ambiance. The walls are adorned by conversation-worthy art by local artists (chosen by Tony’s designer and rotated every few months) which is for sale. You might even make new friends with the people squeezed next to you on the small L-shaped bench.
Coffee: lower-mid-range; cappuccino $3.13
Wireless: yes, and there are two outlets
New Kid #2: Innocent Coffee
Location: 1340 West 4th Avenue (at Hemlock)
Ambiance: Strange but wonderful little place that makes you feel like you are Alice in Wonderland. Or maybe it was the snow last weekend that suddenly covered the whole city, creating instant magic and coincidentally matching the décor of Innocent Coffee – a two-storey doll house with a sweet, pure, white look and an engaging attention to detail. Jerome, one of the owners, bakes the pastries daily – out of the regular-looking stove/oven behind the bar come dainty-looking croissants and an array of shortbreads (only $1 each) in dreamy flavours such as lavender and thyme with orange zest. Yawei, the second owner, works the La Marzocco coffee machine, making tasty cappuccinos from Origins Organic Coffee beans. The ambiance is mellow, peaceful, even on a Saturday afternoon when there is an opening reception in the upper room for a new art exhibit and guests are milling around, munching on the samples of shortbread (the shows are of local artists and change monthly).
Coffee: mid-range; cappuccino $3.65
Wireless: yes – one outlet available
Read more of Sonia Stastny’s Vancouver coffee reviews: