Living in the West End of Vancouver is great for many reasons. It’s within walking distance to downtown, there are restaurants galore and modern high-rise developments jostle for space next to pretty heritage buildings.
The downside though is the absence of a vibrant café scene with the usual coffee shop chains on every corner and independent businesses in the minority. Thankfully, Greenhorn Espresso Bar on Nicola Street is a refreshing alternative.
After spending four years in Australia and New Zealand, I have high expectations for my coffee consumption. I didn’t even drink coffee until I ventured down under. Until then, I was a typical British girl opting for tea instead, but I was quickly converted. The café culture in that part of the world is in a league of its own and there is barely space for the chains in the market, let alone poor quality. Greenhorn is a little slice of that scene in the West End. It may be more expensive than the nearby Blenz or Starbucks, but it’s worth it for their originality.
From the outside, Greenhorn looks quaint and cosy, but inside it is spacious with rustic décor in a modern style. There are bar stools lining the front window and the cabinet overlooking the open kitchen. Muffins, pastries and savoury snacks are made fresh, and the menu mixes healthy food with comfort favourites. Upstairs, there are further seating areas with high benches, a capsule nook for listening to music, a vinyl collection and bicycles on display. Above all though, the coffee is rich and smooth.
A daily caffeine boost is an essential element of the morning for many people and is more than just a way of waking up the body and mind. It’s a moment to enjoy before a busy day of work. My own personal routine involves fresh coffee, a healthy breakfast and great music. Greenhorn offers all of that and has also been a reminder of sipping coffee in the sunshine in the Southern Hemisphere.