Hunt for the Best: Coffee

Downtown Vancouver’s coffee scene is perfect for SFU Harbour Centre students

Geron Malbas / The Peak

Written and photographed by: Geron Malbas

Nemesis Coffee

Location: 302 West Hastings Street

Walking time from SFU Harbour Centre: Three minutes

The Coffee: As one of the newest contenders on the Vancouver coffee scene, Nemesis has fallen right into my heart as my favourite place to go for a quick pick-me-up. Since it’s the summer season, I opted for a nitro cold brew coffee for $4.50, which basically means that I got a really fancy iced coffee. What’s great about Nemesis’ take on it is that it’s on-tap, so they don’t add any ice to it to dilute the flavour. Cold-brewing the coffee with nitrogen actually makes it so the coffee is naturally sweet, so I tasted a very nutty, syrupy, chocolatey cup.

     As an added bonus to my coffee experience, the whole atmosphere of the place is so cool and welcoming, almost as if I’m hanging out at a friend’s place for a quick snack. The staff are very aware of the people that come through their doors, and more than likely will be thrilled to just get to know a little bit about you if you strike up a conversation.

     In terms of decor, the wood seats and counters present a modern look, with one wall even displaying vinyls from musical artists like Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and MF Doom. Catch me chilling in this cool cafe sipping on some cold brew coffee all summer.

Rating: 5/5 Coffee Mugs


Location: 311 West Cordova Street

Walking time from SFU Harbour Centre: Two minutes

The Coffee: Fun fact: the cafe is supposed to resemble the cabin of a train, hence the name. I wanted to spice up my coffee experience and opt for a latte at $4.50, since it was a little chilly the morning I went here. Paired with a pain au chocolat for an additional $4, my latte was made to be delightfully smooth to drink due to the expert espresso shot and steamed milk the barista made.

     The thing about good coffee is that it is very dependent on the bean and the barista’s skill, and Timbertrain’s staff are extremely well-trained to ensure my coffee consumption is met with endless happiness. They roast and serve their own beans, which solidifies my understanding that this shop really knows exactly what they are doing when it comes to making coffee. Much like the other cafes on this list, they are also equipped with different brewing methods to make coffee. In fact, they have their very own pour-over device that is made specifically for the shop.

     While I did find my pain au chocolat a little lacking in comparison to others I’ve had, I scarfed both it and the drink so quickly because they were just that good together. One thing I don’t really enjoy about the space is that there is very limited seating, and being in Gastown means numerous guests filling up the space to a point where it’s quite crowded. However, if you find you are wanting something on the go, the coffee here will never disappoint you.

Rating:  4/5 Coffee Mugs


Location: 325 Cambie Street

Walking time from SFU Harbour Centre: Three minutes

The Coffee: If you have ever ventured through Gastown, you have passed by this hipster paradise. Revolver is a veteran when it comes to making amazing coffee, and I definitely had the usual great experience this time around. Once again, I got a nitro cold brew for $4.50. Instead of being poured from a tap, my cold-brew was poured from a pre-made batch, diluted with ice, which made it extra refreshing. What I love about this place is that they have a revolving selection of coffee that is curated by their team each month. This way, I get to enjoy different roasted beans from other roasters around the world, which provides different flavour profiles.

     Once I got my coffee from the bar, I hopped on over to Archive, their adjacent meeting room, to read a book in a respectful, productive environment. While I was expecting a less flavourful cup, I actually found tasted almost exactly the same as my cup from Nemesis. My only gripe is having a large amount of ice in my cold-brew, as it makes me feel like I don’t get my money’s worth. Even though the space is much narrower than other cafes, it’s always had a place in my heart as the spot that introduced me to the world of craft coffee, and likewise, it has rightfully earned its spot on this list.

Rating: 4/5 Coffee Mugs

Honourable Mentions:

  • Buro for being 30 seconds away
  • Prado Cafe for being open a little later than the other cafes listed
  • Quantum Coffee for having a really cool space