i like coffee, i like tea, i like the java jive and it likes me
December 7, 2005 1:12 PM   Subscribe

What are some really nice varieties of coffee beans, and where can I find them in Vancouver?

I'm running out of time for internet shopping, and I'm a tea drinker myself, but someone on my list has expressed a desire for "good coffee".
posted by stray to Shopping (20 answers total)
Kicking Horse. Murchie's.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:19 PM on December 7, 2005

Bean Around the World is an OK Starbucks alternative in the V dot. They roast their own beans and they often have some pretty interesting blends (they used to roast them at a location near my house until the neighbours complained and made them move...apparently roasting coffee stinks). They've got a few locations, but I know there's one on Sasamat-ish and 10th...

The Starbucks Christmas Blend is pretty good, too...if you don't mind getting something a little more mainstream.
posted by johnsmith415 at 1:19 PM on December 7, 2005

I'm partial to Torrefazione, which tastes good to me but might not be posh enough for your wishmaker. The Gourmet Warehouse on Hastings has a good selection and good prices. You could also go to Urban Fare but you'll probably pay more for the same stuff.
posted by acoutu at 1:20 PM on December 7, 2005

Drive south to Seattle! Or order online from one of the best local roasters.
posted by fatllama at 1:22 PM on December 7, 2005

Yeah, I'll second acoutu's recommendation of Torrefazione...BUT, keep in mind they're owned by Starbucks (sad, but true)...
posted by johnsmith415 at 1:25 PM on December 7, 2005

La Colombe. Trendy, but truly the best coffee I've ever had. Daniel Boulud and other restauranteurs have said the same. Not roasted in Vancouver, though; call and see if they can expedite shipping.
posted by The Michael The at 1:30 PM on December 7, 2005

Jamaican Blue Mountain is the tastiest coffee I've ever had. However, it's pretty expensive ($35+ per pound). It would make a great gift for a coffee fan though. If you want the very best, try to get the variety from the Wallenford Estate.

Pure Kona (Hawaii) coffee is pretty good, too. Just make sure you aren't getting a blend. That one could run you ~$20/pound.

My personal favorite that has a more reasonable price is coffee from Zimbabwe, ~$12/pound. It's pretty acidic, but not bitter at all.
posted by idiotfactory at 1:40 PM on December 7, 2005

I can't tell you anything about Vancouver, but many African coffees, especially Kenyan, seem very underrated and don't get the love they should, IMHO.
posted by normy at 1:42 PM on December 7, 2005

Jamaican Blue Mountain (google returns many options). Pricey, but oh so tasty.
posted by pmbuko at 1:50 PM on December 7, 2005

My favorite coffee people, Intelligentsia, ship to Canada, and they have recommendations on their site, the site also has a ton of info about coffee and what the different blends/roasts taste like.
posted by echo0720 at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2005

Jamaican Blue Mountain.

You can find it at the coffee bean/shop at the Granville Island market. (I forget the name)

A couple years ago, $17 CDN would buy you about 150 grams, enough to do 3-4 pots of coffee.
posted by jkaczor at 1:57 PM on December 7, 2005

I'm assuming jkaczor is probably talking about the "Granville Island Coffee House"...the only other place that I can think of that has beans in Granvill Island is J.J. Bean (and I doubt they would have Jamaican Blue Mountain)...oh yeah, there's Pedro's something that sells organic beans, too, but I doubt they would have it either.
posted by johnsmith415 at 2:18 PM on December 7, 2005

Do you know if your friend drinks "generic" coffee and is just looking for something a bit more upscale? Or does she already have fairly established tastes?

If she's just trying to broaden her horizon, so to speak, I'd suggest a sampler pack of various coffees. There are three major coffee regions and beans from each place have a fairly distinctive flavor. Broadly speaking, Latin American coffees tend to have a "bright" flavor, African coffees a deeper, almost wine-like flavor, and Indonesian coffees tend to be very thick, robust, and rich.

If she's used to drinking "generic" coffees, I'd suggest getting the Latin American coffees, either a varietal or a blend. These will be most similar to what she's used to, but better quality. In my experience, people either love or hate the African coffees, no in-between. The flavors of Indonesian coffees are bold enough to stand up to cream and sugar.

You can order online at Starbucks, or Peet's (and you can pick up some great tea for yourself, too!). I'd guess that the other suppliers listed in this thread also have gift packs.
posted by luneray at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2005

i'm a big fan of east african coffee - especially Kenya AAs and ethiopian. also, the best cup of coffee i ever had was in pekanbaru, sumatra - though for whatever reason, whenever i get sumatran coffee in north america it just doesn't do quite the same thing for me.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 5:57 PM on December 7, 2005

Go for Ethiopian - it's the best.
posted by soplerfo at 6:22 PM on December 7, 2005

The mister votes for Kicking Horse (I don't drink coffee). You can get it at Safeway.
posted by deborah at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2005

Roasted coffee stays fresh for 7-10 days only, so I'd recommend buying locally at the very last minute.
posted by turbodog at 9:34 PM on December 7, 2005

posted by fionab at 10:46 PM on December 7, 2005

If you want a unique coffee gift, I recommend Fibonacci in Penticton. It's only been open a short time, but they roast excellent coffee. Try the Mona Lisa and David blends. I don't think their website is up yet, but you could phone or email and have some sent down. I guarantee your friend will be pleased.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:17 PM on December 7, 2005

Can't say I recommend Kicking Horse all that highly. It's certain leagues better than the swill sold in the grocery store, but there are better beans out there.

I think I'm drinking Saltspring Island at the moment. It's good.

Best coffee evah is from a hole-in-the-wall over at Gibson's Landing. Main street, harbourside.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:13 AM on December 8, 2005

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