Industry experts: Vancouver coffee writers Mike and Shirley Wong recommend city's top cups of joe

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      You could eat out every week in the Big Apple for an entire year and still fail to make a sizable dent in the city’s culinary scape. But can the same be said of Vancouver’s independent coffee scene?

      Apparently so, as local writers Mike and Shirley Wong have found in their commitment to uncovering the best cup of joe the city has to offer.

      The husband-and-wife team began chronicling their caffeine-fueled quests on the blog Vancouver Barista in early 2015. They’ve since visited over 80 cafés and amassed a loyal following of coffee fiends, many of whom turn to the pair’s posts when stuck in a java rut.

      “It’s really neat going around to different neighbourhoods and seeing how independent cafés cater to that area’s people,” Mike notes by phone.

      Here are Mike and Shirley’s picks for the best caffeinated beverages, places, and people in the city.

      Best espresso

      Milano Coffee Roasters
      Various locations

      Mike: “Milano is legendary for winning seven international gold medals for their espresso. And some of those blends actually contain up to 13 single-origin beans, which is quite a lot.”

      Best pour-over coffee

      Platform 7
      2331 East Hastings Street
      2300 West Broadway

      Mike: “They offer a slow-brew ‘wow’ experience: they have this large bar area where you can watch them make it, and the baristas put on a big show. The presentation of the pour-over is great, too—there’s usually this little flavour profile card that they include.”

      Best latte

      33 Acres Brewing Company
      15 West 8th Avenue

      Shirley: “This is the ultimate latte—it’s super creamy, with milk that’s perfectly steamed. They actually use six parts milk to one part espresso, which is different from other cafés, and it gives it this really sweet taste.”

      Best local coffee roasters

      Moja Coffee
      1102 Commercial Drive
      1412 Rupert Street, North Vancouver

      Mike: “We’re really excited about the innovation in Moja’s Lab series, which is a line of limited-edition coffees.”

      Best latte art

      Platform 7
      2331 East Hastings Street
      2300 West Broadway

      Pallet Coffee Roasters
      323 Semlin Drive

      Shirley: “One of Platform 7’s baristas, Kunie Inaba, actually placed fourth in the 2015 Canadian Latte Art Championships. She’s amazing, and she does a lot of the latte art at the location in East Village. For Pallet, I find that they’re very consistent and the art is more complex than other cafés I’ve seen.”

      Best barista

      Neil Turner
      The Dog & Squirrel
      Moja Coffee

      Shirley: “He’s everything that you hope a barista would be—knowledgeable, technical, and approachable. And we’ve personally learned a lot about local coffee through his recommendations and connections with boutique roasters.”

      The Birds & the Beets

      Best coffee-shop interior

      The Birds & the Beets
      55 Powell Street

      Shirley: “It’s a big space with this old feeling from all the brick. And it’s decorated beautifully with plants—there’s even an area where they have their own flower shop.”

      Best café to get shit done at

      Milano Coffee Roasters
      156 West 8th Avenue

      Shirley: “You can log a lot of laptop hours at this particular location. And if you need to have an impromptu business meeting, the deck is great because it has a huge view of downtown Vancouver.”

      Best unexpected place for coffee

      Mike: “We have to go with Cold Brew Bike—it’s a bike cart that was set up by Kelly McKenzie. He wheels around and offers nitro-brew coffee on tap and pour-overs. We first saw him at a farmers market in East Van.”

      Best new café

      The Only Cafe
      2678 West 4th Avenue

      Shirley: “They really focus on a variety of brewing techniques. They make espresso, pour-over, and have two siphon options and a big selection of teas.”

      Best coffee-shop playlist

      Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters
      4194 Fraser Street

      Shirley: “This Victoria roaster opened on Fraser this year and we love that they play an eclectic mix that could only have been dreamed up by a hip local DJ—Niña Mendoza.”

      Best edible selection at a local café 

      Matchstick Coffee
      Various locations

      Shirley: “This coffeehouse really surprises us with its huge selection of all-made-in-house foods, and they’re best known for making their own bread and croissants.”

      Best coffee shop that deserves more love

      Agro Roasters
      550 Clark Drive

      Mike: “Dusty Smith and his wife, Marina, took over this roaster a few months ago. Dusty is a Q-grader—a quality grader—which is a big deal in the coffee world. The coffees are some of the best that we’ve had, and Dusty, as a barista, is amazing.”