Though it's small, Estea Express prepares a mighty list of authentic bubble teas and smoothies. Behind the colorful counter, blenders whir combinations of red bean or even oreo ice cream into milky teas and frothy slush-smoothies before stirring in chewy gelatin pearls. Other flavors include taro root and matcha green tea for a caffeinated kick.
The masterminds behind Waves Coffee House know that a good cup of joe starts with good beans. Before purchasing from a new supplier, their coffee experts put the beans through rigorous visual and taste tests that are graded on six levels?consistency, aroma, flavor, body, acidity, and aftertaste. Beans that survive this stage are subjected to additional testing, including a spelling bee and several different brewing methods. Once a batch passes muster, Waves works directly with farm cooperatives to ensure that farmers earn a competitive wage for their products.
The company?s insistence on quality and consistency has paid off: since opening, they?ve expanded to more than 10 stores in two provinces. Each location serves Waves?s signature coffee blends?West Coast, Mountain Blue, and Deep Blue?as well as rooibos tea turned into latte, cappuccino, and espresso forms.
Eschewing modernity's machine-based baking, European Breads handcrafts artisanal loaves using ancient recipes that are hundreds or even thousands of years old. Bakers start with natural and unrefined ingredients, which they ferment into dough, knead until it's the right consistency, and mould into chewy baguettes, sweet challah, and convincing replicas of Rodin's The Thinker, assuming the statue had raisins for eyes. At the tables in European Bread's airy café, guests can also help themselves to delicious European specialties such as crepes, perogies, and stuffed cabbage rolls.
The family-owned boutique offers an abundant selection of small-scale and artisan cheeses, charcuterie, and accompaniments in a quaint Kerrisdale fromagerie. Cheeses are hand-selected by the in-house experts, and the rotating selection of more than 150 varieties of cow, goat, and sheep's curds is thoroughly researched for history, flavour profiling, wine pairing, and favourite bands before hitting the cooler. Indulge in the creamy cow's milk Quebecoise Bleu Bénédictin ($5.95 per 100g), and savour the slightly mushroomy, slightly salty flavour of the deeply veined monk-made blue. Grab a block of the semi-hard sheep's milk pecorino Toscano and grate the fragrant fromage over your next pasta, cheesecake, or salad. For fromageophobes, Benton Brothers offers a bounty of locally made charcuterie and cheese accompaniments, to ensure all guests at your next cheese-themed soiree can sup stress-free.
There’s a comforting vibe at Divine Indulgence Café. Even though there's no family currently residing inside, the warm, repurposed house keeps its homelike atmosphere. The dining areas evoke the feeling of a well-worn abode with dark-wood furnishings and shelved knickknacks. The coziness extends to the menu as well, surfacing in comfort food dishes such as fish tacos or guacamole burgers made with house-made beef patties, Havarti cheese, bacon, guacamole salsa, and fresh baguettes. Decadent slices of cake and more than 20 different flavors of tea also add to the cafe's homeyness, as does the the baristas' constant reminders not to play ball inside.
With a simple, soothing interior and a large menu of coffee, bubble tea, shakes, and pastries, it's clear that the owners of Tasty Life Cafe know what their customers like. Their formula isn't complicated: supplement a calm atmosphere with coffee, a sprawling variety of teas, and desserts that include custards and fruit-heaped cakes, and watch as the caf? becomes the go-to oasis of myriad locals. Reading a book on the leather sofa, sharing cookies in the glow of a table lamp, or consulting a crystal ball to decide between tea with tapioca pearls or agar jelly, customers can appreciate the cafe's generous menu and warm environment.