Head to Small Victory in Yaletown to get your fix of stellar baked goods (salt caramel cheesecake, I am looking at you) along with a rotating menu of cold brew hand-made by their senior barista, Liam O’Keefe. Liam changes up the beans for Small Victory’s cold brew all the time and uses a two-stage brewing process with an initial 45-minutes-to-an hour pre-infusion stage and then a long slow 12-to-16-hour brew. You’ll mostly taste African beans in the cold brew here, as Liam’s a fan of their fruity notes: “We had some incredible Ethiopian beans recently which had strong raspberry and citrus notes which really come through when you slow brew.” Served in an 8 oz cup over ice, it may take a while to brew, but it slips down far too easily.
Ground zero for serious coffee fans in the city, Revolver’s cold brew makes a seasonal appearance each summer. Brewed overnight for 10 to 12 hours, using the Toddy (basically a commercial-sized paper filter that the coffee goes in and steeps in cold water) and then diluted to taste, you can get your Revolver cold brew to go or stay and have it served on ice. Using different coffees from their menu to slow brew this summer sipper, you’ll likely find beans from Ethiopia or Guatemala being used, but no matter where the always ethically traded beans come from, you can expect a clean chocolatey, slightly fruity and refreshing drink.
Alas their cute brew truck has largely retired, but now you can get bottles and cans of Jamaica Blue Cold's brew at specialty retailers (Whole Foods, Spud, Meinhardts, Body Energy Club, Krokodile Pear) in the Lower Mainland. Their cold brew is roasted, brewed and bottled by hand in Vancouver using certified Jamaican Blue Mountain arabica beans. Each batch is steeped for a minimum of 24 hours and then the grounds are removed with a dual cold-filtration process. The flavour profile is full bodied with mild citrus notes, smooth milk chocolate finish and an intense aroma.
Steam on over to Timbertrain to check out their cold brew which is slowly brewed for 19 hours after which it’s kegged and then pressurized with nitrogen. It’s served cold on tap in a frosted glass or you can take it in a to-go cup—but that means you’ll miss its glorious cascading effect in the glass, which, let’s face it, is seriously cool and this really is a brew best tasted cold and fresh from the tap. Tasting notes for this frosty brew are dark berries like blackberry and blueberry as well as sweet spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
49th Parallel, 2902 Main Street and 2198 West 4th Avenue
You can pick up a trio of cold brewed bottles at 49th Parallel (and obviously a Lucky’s doughnut while you’re there): an iced tea which is lusciously lemon-y; a lightly sparkling Csacara drink (cascara is the dried skin of coffee cherries which is brewed traditional tea-style); and their excellent cold brew coffee. Brewed for 48 hours and made from the best possible beans from Ethiopia, this is a terrifically smooth and chocolatey brew that I loved with a dash of milk in the mornings. I’d love to try this nitro-infused, so if anyone from 49th Parallel is listening—guys, we need that!
Platform 7, 2331 East Hastings and 2300 West Broadway
If you want to thoroughly explore cold brew, a good place to start would be Platform 7 where there is a dedicated cold bar with a selection of Portland’s Stumptown cold brew products.
On tap, they have three different varieties: original cold brew, which is brewed for 12 hours without heat and double filtered. The coffee has a smooth and full-bodied taste with a low acid content and a delicious chocolate finish. Then there's nitro on tap, which has a smooth and creamy mouth feel that finishes with notes of chocolate; and single origin, a cold brew of the best of Stumptown’s single origin coffees which brings out the brightest and sweetest flavour notes of each coffee.
You can also pick up bottles of the original cold brew to go, nitro in a can and three of Stumptown’s carton coffees: cold brew with milk, cold brew with chocolate milk and a dairy-free, vegan cold brew with the finest of coconut cream from Sumatra, Indonesia.
Cold Brew Bike, on the seawall between Second Beach in Stanley Park and David Lam Park in Yaletown
Meet Kelly, your local cold-brew-obsessed bike guy! You can find Kelly here or follow him to track him down. Kelly, what are you brewing now?
“I often rotate single origin beans, always testing batches for the best taste. I always look for a blend of notes including chocolate, citrus, cherry and honey. Currently I am serving a Mexican/Honduran organic blend. I taste dark chocolate, cherry and lime. I brew for 24 hours with cold filtered water to bring out a complex profile.”
Er, yasss! You can get Kelly’s cold brew infused with nitro served on tap in 14 oz compostable cups and he also does howler (32 oz) and growler (64 oz) fills and 330 ml bottles.
Steeped and filtered to perfection, Vancouver boasts a handful of cold brew coffees that deliver a whole new experience for your taste buds
The world is pretty much divided into people who are raving fans of cold brew coffee and those who just haven’t tried it yet. And, yeah, sure, I guess there are those weirdos who don’t dig coffee, but I am just not going to get into that mess right now.
So yes, cold coffee, or more precisely cold brew coffee. It’s not regular coffee chilled down with ice; it’s a whole different taste experience as it’s made with cold filtered water and ground coffee steeped for at least 12 hours to deliver a totally different flavour profile: less acidic, far smoother and often more chocolatey.
Just to add a little more excitement, you can also try a nitro-infused cold brew which adds a creamy texture to your coffee and gives a gorgeous Guinness-like cascade when it’s poured.
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.