George Giannakos, Coffee Connoisseur
Gastown is becoming quite vibrant in the Vancouver coffee scene. With cafes like Revolver, it continues to flourish. Today I spoke with George Giannakos, coffee connoisseur, co-owner and manager of Revolver Coffee.
George is the manager and one of the owners of Revolver Coffee in Gastown. He has been working in coffee for the last 7 years and has competed at the National Level and is one of the founders of brewmethods.com, a free online compilation of coffee recipes for many brew methods.
1. Before Revolver Coffee came along, you had Café Crema in West Vancouver. What made you want to start Revolver?
Revolver came along because we wanted to open another cafe that was both extremely coffee focused and very progressive. When the lease to Revolver was signed Crema had already been around for over 5 years so we had plenty of ideas not only from that experience but from a lot of traveling as well. And out of all the neighbourhoods in the city, we purposely chose Gastown and couldn’t be more happy with that decision.
2. Revolver doesn’t use syrups or other extra flavouring that you can add to coffee. Why is that?
We want people to experience coffee, and the many great flavours that are unique to it. On any given menu we have anywhere from five to a dozen coffees and they each have their own qualities that makes them unique from one another, and we feel that this is the best way to showcase them.
3. Revolver often has public cupping. How important is it for you to connect with the general public?
It’s extremely important. Without the support of the general public, Revolver does not exist. The public cupping allows us to educate while at the same time get educated ourselves. I hear often people saying they can’t taste the difference between one coffee and another, but rarely do people get a chance to have 2 or 3 or 4 different coffees side by side, and that’s where the differences become much more apparent. And for those who don’t know, cupping is the formal name for tasting where you cup the coffee with a spoon and slurp it, allowing the coffee to hit all the areas of your taste buds, which gives you the most flavour details.
4. How do you feel about the Gastown coffee scene? Do you feel like it’s getting up there with areas such as Commercial Drive, downtown Vancouver etc?
The Gastown coffee scene perhaps lacks the quantity that some of the other neighbourhoods like Commercial Dr. but I feel the quality is still top notch. Gastown has an amazing food & drink culture and it’s certainly not lacking in the coffee department.
5. Revolver often offers a variety of coffee beans. How do you go about choosing which beans to use?
Every Sunday, the director of coffee, Chris, tastes every single coffee we have, as well as whatever samples might have been sent our way that week. And this is done ‘Blind’. Tasting ‘Blind’ means that you don’t know what you are tasting while you are critiquing it, so that there is zero pre-bias. At the moment, we have offerings from 5 different roasters (all of which we feel are some of the best in North America) and we will cycle through different coffees based on what’s in season and what we are liking. There are certain qualities that we look for in the coffees that we carry and if they aren’t present, they won’t be purchased.
*End of Interview*
Address: 325 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed on Sundays
Connect with George: @ggiannakos or www.cleanhotdry.com
Written by Jasmina Stipancik, a Contributor at Vancity Buzz. Connect with Jasmina on Twitter at @javajunkie86.