starbucks

Fresh Roast: Introduction.

Welcome to my blog series on coffee shops around Vancouver!
Keep checking back to read the next installment of the series.

Part 1: Kafka’s Coffee and Teas
Part 2: The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar
Part 3: The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe

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Whenever I prepare a cup of coffee, I try to make sure no one is looking. Why? Well. It’s embarrassing. When people find out how many packets of sugar I put in a single paper cup of coffee, they look at me, horrified and ask why I’m not 300 pounds.

It’s true that I often sugar down the bitterness but maybe that’s a result of growing up in the Starbucks era, when caramel syrup and chocolate sprinkles are common. But extra frills aside, I love coffee. While I’m not a fan of crappy Costco-brand drip coffee, I’ll pretty much take anything. And as it turns out, the rest of the world loves coffee as well.

A fresh brew

The Vancouver Sun announced today that coffee prices hit its highest point in 14 years, with Arabica coffee sitting at $2.6225 per pound, according to ICE Futures in New York. The problem is that inventory of coffee beans in exporting countries have hit their lowest point since the 1960s when the International Coffee Organization began tallying stockpiles. Simply put, we’re slowly drinking ourselves out of coffee in this world.

“There is simply not enough coffee in this world,” said Jose Sette, executive director of the International Coffee Organization. The supply just cannot keep up with the demand.

Quantity over quality

With the market supply of coffee slowly declining, what does this say about the quality of our coffee? Keurig’s one-cup home brewing machines are quickly becoming popular, ranging from $75 to well over $250. These machines use cartridges of pre-measured ingredients to brew single-cup servings of coffee for those on the go. Starbucks’ line of V.I.A. instant brew coffee packages have also prompted coffee lovers to question the company’s true appreciation of the coffee bean’s quality.

While I’m not well-versed enough in the different varieties of coffee available, I drink enough to know that there’s a certain standard that needs to be upheld when it comes to making coffee. The espresso can’t sit too long. Ideally, the coffee pot should be warm before the brew starts to drip. And steamed milk? Well, it’s pretty easy to burn so you’ll need to watch out for that.

Coffee in Vancouver

All politics and economic exchange aside, what do I really know about coffee? Not a whole lot. I know where the most convenient coffee shops are in Vancouver and that’s about it. So throughout the month of February and March, I’m going to explore Vancouver a little by seeking out coffee shops that I pass all the time on my commute. I’ll sit in, enjoy a cup of coffee, take in the feel of the place, and tell you how it goes. Almost like a food critic… but for coffee shops.

So even though the world is running out of coffee, at least I’ll be able to find the quality coffee shops in Vancouver. And hopefully, the quality will make up for the lack of quantity.

Before you leave, check out this video I found on Vimeo a while back. It’s a 4:00 minute video that talks about the process of extracting espresso. I love the way it’s filmed, love the way he talks about the coffee, love the sights and sounds.

Featured photo by Daniel Hurst (Flickr).