As the weather in Vancouver heats up, those in need of a caffeine fix may find themselves looking for a more temperature-appropriate drink. Luckily, with a bounty of cafés in the city offering cold brew coffees, Vancouverites are guaranteed to keep cool and caffeinated this summer.
Not to be confused with iced coffee, which is regular brewed coffee poured over ice served usually with milk and a dollop of cream, cold brew involves a more intricate process. Beans are coarsely ground and soaked in cold-to-room temperature water over an extended period of time to slowly draw out and retain some of the more subtle flavours that are usually eradicated by heat.
With a stream of cafés here in Vancouver both serving and perfecting the art of making this global sensation, we bring you our guide to the best cold brew in the city.
Available by the glass, Revolver’s cold brew is made in-house using the Toddy Method. That means it is steeped over night in cold water and strained the next day. It’s then bottled fresh and kept cold until purchase.
The team at Revolver aim for a drink that is chocolatey with soft fruit and floral undertones. Their cold brew certainly has a distinctively bold taste and is exceptionally smooth to drink. Revolver’s cold brew can be enjoyed neat or on ice. It also tastes great with milk or cream too if you’re looking to make it more decadent.
Baristas at Timbertrain serve a rich and creamy cold brew on tap. Timbertrain’s single-origin cold brew is infused with nitrogen under high pressure, then chilled in a keg and served on draught with a foamy head just like a dark beer (but without the alcohol). It’s refreshingly cold, bubbly and served ready-to-drink.
Known for their low acidity, Jamaica Blue Coffee Co. offers premium cold brew coffee served on tap, as well as a bottled 32oz Jamaica Blue Cold Brew concentrate from their mobile van.
Roasted, brewed and bottled in Vancouver, each batch of Jamaica Blue Cold Brew is handmade by steeping freshly roasted coffee for a minimum of 24 hours. The result is a remarkably smooth and sweet tasting coffee, which is rich in flavour and contains about 70% less acidity than regular coffee.
Small Victory’s in-house cold brew operation involves a sophisticated process, wherein beans that have been left brewing for six hours are slowly strained into a concentrate in the bakery’s own brewing lab. This particular brewing method brings out the flavour and the quality of the beans and slowly produces one of the smoothest cold brews in the city.
Using a fantastic Kenyan roast, Gachatha AB by Slate Coffee Roasters, the baristas at Small Victory control the flow of coffee into the cold brew extractor. The outcome is a fragrant, smooth and refined concentrate. Served straight up, by the glass or in 8oz to-go servings, customers can dilute with milk but the baristas say their cold brew is best drank as is.
Rocanini’s single-origin cold brew is clean, light and very drinkable. Locally roasted here in Vancouver, Rocanini’s coffee beans are cold-steeped for six to eight hours before filtration. Thanks to the delicate extraction process, Rocanini’s full-bodied cold brew is delightfully sweet and when poured over ice is the perfect refreshment on a hot summer’s day.
Salt Spring’s very own Salt Spring Coffee has just released their bottled cold brew for the season. It’s a wonderfully rich blend, naturally sweet and low in acidity. It’s made from freshly roasted organic coffee beans, coarsely ground and steeped in cold pure water for 15 hours.
Available at select grocery stores, Salt Springs Coffee’s cold brew comes bottled and ready-to-drink, granting coffee connoisseurs the opportunity to drink this icy blend at home, on the go or at the office. Check their website for more details.
Both Bump n Grind branches stock cans of cold brew from Victoria’s Fernwood Coffee Company. This carbonated beverage is made using Fernwood Coffee Company’s finest single-origin coffee, a Kenya Peaberry from Kigwand, and is filtered with ice water. It’s sweet, crisp and has notes of cola and orange. Sold by the can ($4.50 per 12oz can or $25.50 as a six-pack), Bump n Grind offers a fantastic grab-and-go cold brew option for coffee drinkers.
Served year round at their 7th and Ontario Street location, Elysian’s caffeinated cold brew is dark in colour and fresh tasting. It’s brewed in-house in a large keg and poured from nitro taps. Word on the street is Elysian’s cold brew tastes best with a splash of milk. There’s a decaf option available as well.