It was a warm summer Monday morning and I was in Vancouver for a science conference. I am an avid Google maps user, often searching Google reviews for the best place in any category. I typed in “café” and got hundreds of results, so I narrowed it down to “espresso bar”. After searching through several reviews I came across a café named Revolver, I got into my rental car and headed over. I had arrived at Revolver shortly after 8am expecting to order an Americano and head back to the morning talk at the conference. I had never stepped into an independent café before and I had no idea what to expect. After walking inside so many things made my heart beat faster: How do I understand this menu? Why does this café have so many different types of coffee beans? Why are there so many weird looking instruments? I thought to myself, I can turn around, I’m sure there is a Starbucks around somewhere. I stayed the course approaching the counter I order an Americano. The barista must have sensed my uneasiness, he responded by asking me if I was in a hurry. I thought this was a strange question, how long would an Americano take to make? He followed up by asking me if I had some time to try different coffee preparation methods. I responded with “Sure!”, I had no idea what he meant but I was in Vancouver for a science conference, so naturally I was in no rush. I had no idea that this experience would have such a big effect on my life.
The baristas name was George Giannakos, who is the owner of Revolver. He told me to take a seat and he would bring me a coffee flight, a term I thought only applied to wine or beer. After a few minutes he brought me a wooden tray with three cups of coffee on it. George explained that each of the three cups of coffee was brewed in different ways: an Aeropress, a Siphon and a Chemex. The brew methods sounded like a foreign language to me, what did any of that mean? As I took a sip of each coffee I was taken aback by the different flavours; surely there was an additive in the coffee. He smiled and told me that indeed each cup was brewed with the same coffee bean and that nothing had been added to the coffee. I couldn’t believe that the degree of different flavours came only from the preparation method!
I asked George about the different brew methods and if they could be purchased for in home brewing. I found out that right next door he had just opened a small coffee store for the sole purpose of selling coffee instruments for in home brewing. The shop is called Archive and it is attached to Revolver by a door at the back of the café. Archive is a new addition and it is scheduled to open at 9am. George sensed my curiosity and asked if I would like to head next door to check out some different brew methods.
He opened the door and we went inside, thirty minutes before the shop was to open. He took me over to the row of coffee instruments, being a scientist I noticed objects that looked like Erlenmeyer flasks, Round-bottom flasks and even bunsen burners. I was already convinced that each brew method produces different flavours in a coffee bean. He demonstrated some brew methods for me and I ended up buying a coffee siphon that day. I had no idea that this first purchase would have me hooked and wanting more methods to brew. Revolver was my first experience with the independent coffee industry, since then I have met some amazing people who share the same passion for coffee as I do.
My story in the coffee world has only begun, I am learning a great deal from different café owners and coffee roasters. My story started like most, I have always been an avid coffee drinker often ordering a 4 shot Americano to keep me going until my afternoon brew. I was bored of the same taste in coffee and wanted something more out of my morning cup. Reaching out to the third-wave coffee movement has opened my eyes to the amazing world of artisan coffee. Coffee is so much more than a dark bitter drink. It can have floral smells, various tasting notes and a rich/complex body. All you have to do is take the extra time to seek out a local coffee roaster or café that invests the time to produce quality coffee. I took a chance with Revolver and from this point on there would be no turning back, my addiction turned into a passionate desire for all things coffee.