The Best Coffee Shops in Coal Harbour for Non Coffee Drinkers

This is a blog about a number coffee shops in our neighborhood, but not really about their coffee, since we do not drink it. It is about the ambience and the service, and the tea that these coffee houses offer. In a one block radius around Coal Harbour, coffee can be found at five locations, the Starbucks at The Westin Bayshore, Blue Tree Café on Cardero, Café Villagio on Coal Harbour Mews, Blue Edge Café on the Seawalk across from the Marina office and at Take 5 on the first floor of our building.

The Blue Edge Café is almost not worth mentioning but it does fall into our radius. It has a decent seating area facing the docks but there are only a few tables outside while the inside is large and quite often mostly empty. The name is also misleading as the sign says ‘Blue Edge Organic Café’ which is not the official name and the menu states that not all items are organic. The service is slow and the staff not well trained. So moving on to the good ones.

Café Villagio and Take 5 both do everything OK in our opinion. The food at both is OK and both the service and the atmosphere on and off. Villagio is very busy so the seating areas are often in disarray with dishes and newspapers strewn about, but when it is clean and tidy the atmosphere is quite nice. Take 5 is very small with only 8 to 10 seats inside so is not great unless for take-out. The staff turn over at both locations seems to be very high and the service can be great, or not.

Best Coffee Shop Food
The Blue Tree Café has a great décor, a European inspired menu and a good selection of tea. The food is very good and breakfast is served until 11 am all at very good prices for this neighborhood. The massive croissants are buttery and very fresh and are only $1.75. For lunch the West Coast Tuna and Avocado Salad sandwich is a great take on an old standard for us non-meat lovers. For $6.50 it is not cheap but it is a great value because of the size and the choice of either mixed greens or chips as a side. The staff seems to change over or change shifts frequently but the service is still pretty good. And if you like a good cup of brewed tea I counted at least 10 flavor options.

Best Coffee Shop Chai Tea and Service
While I try to support the smaller cafes as much as possible as opposed to the larger chains Starbucks does have something going for it, consistency. The Chai Latte is always extremely fast, no matter how long the line, and it is always hot. They know how to train their staff to give the customer what they want. And of the five locations they do produce the best Chai Tea. I have tried the Chai Latte at the other shops but it just does not stack up.

Best Coffee Shop Atmosphere
I do have to go outside of our one block radius to mention the Blenz location on the corner of Cardero and Robson. The franchise owner is often present, the service is fast and friendly and they make the best London Fog I have found. It takes a bit longer but they remove the tea bag before serving which other shops do not. It also has great atmosphere with ample, comfy seating inside and a good size patio on two sides for people watching.

On a beautiful Saturday morning in Vancouver it is best to stop by the Blue Tree Café for a croissant or any of their other baked goods then amble on to the Starbucks at the Westin Bay Shore to grab a Chai Tea for a walk along the Seawalk, but on a Saturday afternoon I would recommend people watching at the Blenz on Cardero.

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