BC’s South Coast is home to an array of fashionable cafés that are bringing specialty, third wave coffee to small, rural communities. Go the extra mile for your next caffeine fix. Set out on the road and explore the beauty and charm of Metro Vancouver’s backyard, with a local roast in hand. The third wave coffee movement puts an emphasis on ethical production and the fastidious brewing process.
From where and how the beans are sourced, to the gadgets used to bring out the nuances in taste and aroma, the third wave is a culinary approach that treats coffee as an artisanal food stuff, much like wine. Founder of popular coffee blog cafeyvr.com and published café photographer Lawrence Lee is not surprised that third wave coffee culture is surging beyond the hipster-laden, MacBook-friendly java haunts of Vancouver’s trendiest neighbourhoods. “There are a number of people who gained experience abroad, working in specialty coffee, that are coming back to their hometown and wanting to do it on their own,” says Lee.
Economics and opportunity are pushing young entrepreneurs to pour into tight-knit, rural communities where they can flourish, giving an added caffeine boost to sleepy towns, and attracting intrepid coffee day-trippers.
This weekend, let your palate take you on a road trip that is a little further afield, with Lawrence Lee’s top country coffee house selections:
1. Regard Coffee Roasters, Nanaimo
A hidden gem located in an unassuming shopping centre just off of Vancouver Island’s Highway 19, Regard Coffee packs a punch with in-house roasted beans. With a modest, bare bones design, the café team focuses on the relationship with the customer and the quality of their product. Regard Coffee provides detailed information on the source plantation and how each bean was harvested.
2-1925 Bowen Road, Nanaimo
2. 1914 Coffee Company, Squamish
Bringing in unique beans from all around the world, 1914 Coffee Company is a must-stop spot on the Sea to Sky Highway. Be sure to check out the experimental Freezer Menu, which features valuable coffees that have been specially frozen at an optimal temperature for patrons wanting to enjoy rare roasts at any time of the year.
38123 2 Avenue, Squamish
3. Oldhand Coffee, Abbotsford
Oldhand Coffee, located in downtown Abbotsford, makes you feel at home. The café has fast become a gathering place for residents of the Fraser Valley. The café artfully crafts European baked goods and expertly brews ethically sourced coffee. Enjoy a perfectly extracted pour-over and a freshly baked skolebrød, and you’ll soon feel like part of the family.
2617 Pauline Street, Abbotsford