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I expected this blog post to follow the usual coffee shop blog post formula. Talk about the coffee, how delicious the pastries are, mention the friendly staff, maybe even throw in a bathroom rating (this seems almost as important as the coffee these days). Andrew Boutilier, owner and visionary behind Koffie, made short work of that expectation.

 

Located at 1050 W Pender in Vancouver’s business district, Koffie is inconspicuously nestled in the base of one of the many nameless office buildings that line the street. There’s an insurance broker to one side, a Quizno’s to the other, and a new Tacofino just behind. Despite its somewhat secretive storefront, there is a line to the door as I wait for Andrew to put the finishing touches on some homemade baked goods. My cappuccino is excellent and the raspberry-blueberry muffin even better

Andrew comes and sits down, kindly entertaining my request to interview him despite clearly being quite busy. That’s the vibe I get whenever I’m in here. Hardworking, busy staff, that always find time to make a connection. Andrew informs me of the history of their space. Apparently, Koffie is part of a multi-decade legacy of coffee shops that have existed at 1050 W Pender for the past 20 years, as evidenced by the frequently amended lease. When Andrew moved in 7 years ago, he took over the space from Liquid Assets, a geniusly named mom and pop shop run by a couple that grew up in Mainland China during the Cultural Revolution. It had that classic 90s cafe vibe, complete Gatorade stocked fridges.

It was also incredibly small. However, like any good entrepreneur, Andrew made it work. He used to prepare all the food himself using only the top of a small dishwasher as a production surface. Despite this, Koffie was busy and outgrew their little shop. A year and half ago they expanded into the space next door and renovated. The ceiling came out and a new bar was put in alongside a proper kitchen. The result is a spacious and well designed cafe with a mix of old and new, the walls lined with antique signs and tins and the bar sporting a Black Eagle.

The business district has also changed. For years, Koffie was one of the few places to get a well-made coffee. Now, with the influx of established heavyweights like Quantum and 49th Parallel, there are more options, making it even more remarkable that Koffie has maintained its bustle and following. Part of that can be attributed to Andrew’s presence. There is something special about walking into any establishment and seeing the owner sporting a flour dusted apron, grinding it out alongside their smiling employees. His high standards are evident, from the top of the line coffee equipment to the traceable Avalon milk.

That being said, high standards are pretty much baseline in the Vancouver coffee scene these days. You can get excellent coffee and muffins most places you go. The reason why people go to Koffie is because, in addition to being excellent, only Koffie feels like Koffie. In a city with three 49ths, four Elysians, and five Prados (well one is in Surrey), it’s refreshing to sit down in a one-off. That wasn’t meant as a dig. I like those places, but Koffie is one of a kind. And the bathroom is a 10/10.

Now this is a feel good story.

Created in 2004 by women coffee farmers in Peru in partnership with Organic Products Trading Company, Café Femenino has spread across the globe to give women coffee farmers the credit they deserve and the voice they need to build an equal future for themselves, their families, and their communities. We pay a premium on every pound of Café Femenino green coffee that we buy. Half of that premium goes back to the women that produced that coffee. They use the extra income to do things like build libraries and create training programs to empower women coffee producers. The other half of that premium we donate to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. The women who founded Café Femenino set it up this way so that could not only improve their own livelihoods, but also help women all over the world. We fell in love with this foundation the moment we heard about it and carry two-three Café Femenino produced coffees at any given point. 

Head to Beyond Bread (4th and Alma in Vancouver, BC) to try our beautiful Guatemalan drip and help support the women farmers of Cooperativa Nahuala.

Finca la Florida

There's a new kid on the block. This wonderful Colombia comes from Finca la Florida, a small farm in the Huila region owned and operated by Gilberto Rojas.

 

Gilberto is quite an innovative farmer and you can taste it in his coffee. He is very meticulous with both his picking and processing to ensure top quality. Gilberto and his son process all coffees themselves in order to ensure everything is consistent. He rakes the parchment every few hours in the drying bed to achieve even drying and perfect water activity. This coffee is very versatile, making great espresso and filter coffee.

When we drink this coffee we think of...
honeycomb, raisin, red apple

Region: Huila
Varietals: Yellow and Red Colombia
Elevation: 1700 masl
Processing: Washed
Traceables: Non-Certified Organic

Welcome to the newest, hottest blog series we will be doing: How To Do A Brew. Each post will cover a different brew method and before you know it, dear reader, you will be a coffee brewing virtuoso, wowing friends, family, and loved ones with your prowess and knowledge. 

 

The Pour Over

Now a symbol of third-wave coffee culture, the pour over was invented over 100 years ago in Germany by Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz. This brew method generally results in a more tea-like cup of coffee and is a great way to taste the nuances of a particular bean. The following is meant to be used with a Hario V60 Dripper and is by no means the definitive pour over brewing protocol. There are hundreds of different permutations and many different brewing implements, each with their merits. This is more of a starting point, from which you can tweak your daily brew to best suit your tastes. Have fun!

You will need:

  • A pouring device that allows you to pour very small amounts of water very slowly (gooseneck kettles are great for this, but with a steady hand most things will work)
  • A Hario V60 Dripper
  • Filters
  • 200° F water (or if you don't have a thermometer let it boil and then cool for about a minute)
  • 19 g of coffee
  • A kitchen scale
  • A grinder

Brew Method:

  1. Take your filter and place it in the V60, rinse thoroughly with hot water (this step ensures that no papery taste from the filter make it into your cup of coffee and also heats the V60 assisting in optimal extraction).
  2. Place your V60 on top of the vessel you are brewing into (cup/carafe) place on scale.
  3. Weigh out 19 g of coffee. Grind to your typical slightly finer filter grind setting, the coffee ground should resemble coarse sand.
  4. Add the ground coffee to the V60 and tare the scale to read zero.
  5. Start your timer and pour approximately 38 g of water over the grounds, gently stir the coffee, aim for even saturation, and allow to sit for 40 seconds.
  6. After 30 seconds, slowly add more water to the centre of the V60, pouring in a slow circular motion until the scale reads 310 g.
  7. Total brew time should take between 3 - 3.5 minutes. If you find your brew is taking longer, coarsen your grind; if less than 3 minutes, take your grind finer. 
  8. Now drink that stunning brew and revel in your pour over bad-assery. Drop kettle, walk off stage. Ok, maybe don't do that, but definitely imagine how cool you would look if you did.

SLAYER

It's official. Your friends at Social Coffee are now retailing Slayer Espresso machines. These things are gorgeous AND they make some of the best espresso we've ever tasted. We'll soon have a showroom to showcase these beauties so keep an eye and an ear out...