How Much Caffeine is Too Much? Café Hopping Edition

cafe illustration

Illustration by Kailee Vanderwoerd

Summer is fast approaching, Vancouverites! Now that there are no more deadlines and finals to pull all-nighters for, what better way to spend your days than grab a coffee and chill?

This one is for all my coffee addicts, pastry lovers, and aesthetic Instagrammers. Keep reading for all the hot spots to visit this summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

coffee and crossiantNemesis Coffee
Gastown
North Van
Great Northern Way

If you like anything buttery and flakey, Nemesis Coffee is the place to visit. They’re known for their cruffins (the love child between a croissant and muffin) and their innovative pastries. With three locations spread around Vancouver, this café might be closer to you than you think.

They first opened up in Gastown, and this location features a cozy wooden interior and outdoor seating for those warm summer days. The moment you step foot inside, you will be surrounded by buttery scents and a rich coffee aroma.
Their second location in the North Van Polygon building (also known as Dope Bakehouse) is encased in glass and gives off future-esque architecture vibes. This location is beautiful for photos since it lets in lots of natural lighting. It also carries all their newest, prettiest baked creations.

Their newest location is Great Northern Way, which might be known for its red pointed roof. Since it is located next to Emily Carr, it makes sense that this building looks the most artistic. With a wooden interior and a ceiling made from strips of white linen pieced together, GNW Nemesis has a modern touch.

Each location has a slightly different brunch menu, so make sure you check it out online before you head over! (PS: Be ready to line up at all their locations if you visit on the weekend!)

Pictured, beside their tiramisu croissant, are their oat milk lattes! These bad boys were filled with coffee-flavoured cream and made with Nemesis’s own espresso. They were also super smooth, which gave the most satisfying first-sip-of-coffee feeling. As for the croissant, I liked that it wasn’t *too* sweet, since the bitterness from the espresso helped balance out the sweetness of the cream filling.

 

Potato/Cheddar Cheese and Choco Crunch twisted donutsNukid
Robson Street

Nukid is the new kid on the hustlin’ bustlin’ Robson Street. The Korean-style café carries the traditional twisted donut (꽈배 기, or kkwabaegi) with a “twist.” What is traditionally topped with just sugar can now be found topped with fruit loops, strawberries, Oreos, and many other options! If you are an adventurous pastry enthusiast, this is the place for you.
Their donuts are super chewy and don’t leave an oily aftertaste. They also a have large selection of drinks that can satisfy anybody’s desires. Craving coffee? They have that. Want something non-caffeinated? Go for any of their ades (a fruity cider) or smoothies. My personal favourite is the Green Grape mojito Ade!

Nukid is also great for all your Instagram photo needs. The interior is absolutely adorable, decorated with blue, red, and yellow colours, colourful ’70s style lamps, and clear glass tables. If you grab pastries and drinks to go, you will also be graced with their adorable takeaway boxes and cups.

One of the best things about the café is that they close at 10 pm every day! Perfect for when you feel like having something sweet after dinner.

I ordered the Potato/Cheddar Cheese and Choco Crunch twisted donuts, plus an iced oat milk latte (yes, oat milk latte again). The Potato/Cheddar Cheese twisted donut had a very interesting taste—like mashed potato with cheese, but with a hint of sweetness. (It’s difficult to describe in words, so you’ll have to try it for yourself!) The Choco Crunch one tasted 10x better than it looked and would be a safe option for chocolate lovers who don’t want to branch out too much on the first visit. Their oat milk latte was yummy as well—nothing too unique, but still a great afternoon pick-me-up!

 

avocado and egg tomato toastFondway
Burnaby

Fondway is an Asian coffee shop tucked behind Metrotown in Burnaby, selling coffee and grass jelly dessert drinks. You can also find seasonal cakes, sandwiches, and waffles here. Locals will know that they have been around for a long time, serving delicious drinks and food that make a great afternoon snack.

Fondway has almost an industrial feel: brick walls, wooden tables, and metal pipe decor on the walls.

Something unique about this café is that some of their food and drink menus are illustrated, so you will be able to see exactly (well, in art form) what you are ordering. Make sure to check out their gradient drinks when you visit (like the Blue Yuan Yeung and Violet Haze)!

My friend and I ordered the avocado and egg tomato toast (which came with a side salad), tiramisu cake, and mochas. Everything tasted fresh in the toast set and all the ingredients worked well with one another. It also made us feel very healthy…which made us feel less guilty about eating the tiramisu after! The tiramisu tasted lighter and fluffier than most tiramisus I’ve tried. It paired well with our mochas!

 

pastry and cold coffeeSunny M Specialty Coffee & Tea
Richmond

Located inside Empire Center in Richmond, Sunny M stands out from its neighbours with a pastel green banner that catches your eye. The interior gives off maximum cozy vibes with plants sur- rounding the windowsill and fairy lights strung around the shop.

Sunny M specializes in coffee beans from around the world. Some coffee beans for sale include Matchstick, Kawa, and Mum’s Coffee. The shop offers drinks like teas, espresso-based drinks, seasonal drinks, and pour-overs. Pour-over coffee is what they are most known for, as patrons can choose which beans they want. This part of the menu is for true coffee lovers! They also offer seasonal pastries and sandwiches.

Although there are only three tables and one single bar stool inside, light music and comfy chairs set a pleasant atmosphere for a coffee date. I will warn everyone coming on a weekend—if you go on a Sunday, be prepared to wait for a seat!

I ordered an iced brown sugar latte and a yuzu dacquoise. The unique thing about their iced lattes was that they used crushed ice! The yuzu dacquoise was an interesting dessert made from rice, not flour, and featured two pieces of pastry sandwiching a refreshing citrus créme center. The outer shell of the pastry was crisp and sweet, while the inside was light and creamy. I loved the contrast and would definitely recommend trying it!

 

With so many café options in Metro-Vancouver, it isn’t easy to just pick one to visit! Each of them is unique, so why not hit up all of them during the summer break?

Happy café hopping!

Words and photos by Karisa Cheng