Photo taken by Ian Linkletter
I like to think of the Elysian Room on Fifth Avenue as a haven for introverts for several reasons; the overall tone of the small coffee shop is intimate, the staff don’t ask you questions you know they’ve asked the last fifteen customers (in fact, if you enjoy overly chatty baristas I would give this place a miss – I happen to appreciate sincerity so I like the real conversations that come into natural fruition over the course of several visits), the menu is very small, and the attention to fine detail is obvious.
Photo taken by Ian Linkletter
The first time I went to the Elysian Room it was merely circumstantial: Ian and I had moved to Vancouver a week earlier, it was a Friday night and we had just been to Kits Beach to watch the dogs at the dog park. I suggested we get coffee and Ian found the closest coffee shop to our apartment (and by close I mean half a block, a blessing and a curse once I started to find all other coffee lacklustre.) Once we’re in the shop I order my coffee and Ian gets excited about the Elysian Room’s Clover coffee machine – here is an instructional video on the whole process and why it’s special. He explained to me how Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz had bought the entire Clover manufacturing company so Starbucks would have a monopoly over this type of coffee brewing (although I can’t say I’ve ever had to wait any longer than 10 seconds for a black coffee at Starbucks, the Clover method takes a couple of minutes per cup.)
I can assure you that the few minutes of waiting is entirely worth it, every single cup of coffee I have drank over the past year has been amazing. I mean that literally without any hint of hyperbole, the Elysian Room serves the best coffee that I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across. Suddenly coffee doesn’t taste like opaque coffee, the flavours begin to come through individually and I can definitely tell the difference between the blends that they’re currently selling. I have always loved dark roast coffee above all others, that is until I tried the always medium roast blends being offered here; the coffee I pick has that burnt taste but it’s always more delicate, a golden caramel burnt flavour instead of acrid burnt.
And the other beverages? Although those types of drinks have never been my cup of tea I have tried their mochas and lattes several times, all delicious to me because they weren’t ever sweet. Even their hot chocolates tastes more of cocoa than of the hockey rink hot chocolate that many coffee shops sell, although I would be less inclined to drink the hot chocolate at the Elysian Room with a self-made red Twizzlers straw than I would be watching my sister play hockey 13 years ago. To stay true to the theme of my blog I can happily attest that I have spent many coffee outings listening to Boards of Canada, Cat Power, and The Clientele to name but a few bands that I listen to on heavy rotation at home (and when I don’t recognize the music it’s almost always very lovely.) In short, the outstanding coffee, quiet ambiance, and attention to detail – I also love their dish sets, a combination of Pyrex flasks and streamlined 1960s infleunced coffee cups and saucers – make this my favourite coffee shop in Vancouver and so far, my entire life.
The Clientele – House on Fire
The Elysian Room on Fifth Avenue is located at 1778 W. 5th Ave. and on the web at: http://www.elysiancoffee.com/