Review of Timbertrain Coffee Roasters: Our Search for Vancouver’s Best Coffee

Editor’s update (Sep 2016): Timbertrain’s pastry menu has changed so it’s mostly baked in-house, from scratch.

Author: Shirley and Mike Wong

Vancouver Barista at Timbertrain Coffee
Timbertrain Coffee’s barista preparing coffee at the pour over station with Kalita equipment


“When the ideas are coming, I don’t stop until the ideas stop because that train doesn’t come along all the time.”

Dr. Dre

Bumpy brick roads, Gassy Jack statue, the old steam clock, touristy shops, 90s clubbing. A decade ago, that’s what came to mind when I reflected on Gastown which has been around since 1867.
Today, this historical neighbourhood is the midst of transformation. Gastown runs the gamut for every taste. It’s welcomed the world’s premier Versace Home flagship store. Designer John Fluevog’s enormous shoe emporium is reminiscent of a New York loft. Commercial touristy stores have mostly been replaced by eye candy boutiques like Old Faithful Shop, Orling & Wu and One of a Few. Interesting dining options are also plentiful and unique – too many to describe here.

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Timbertrain Coffee’s oversized train graphic adds an artsy touch to their window facing the street

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View of the entrance to independent café Timbertrain Coffee in Gastown

Restored brick, alleys leading to hidden bistros and a general impression that this area has aged well –  adds up to instant inspiration for any artist, hipster or foodie. Then again, maybe this place just serves as a counter argument against anyone who dares to think, even momentarily, that our city has lost its soul.

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Perspective of customer and server at the counter of Timbertrain Coffee


We head to Timbertrain Coffee Roasters on our 7th stop in our Search for Vancouver’s Best Coffee. This is the second café we’ve visited that has a train theme, although they translate quite differently. A head-on sketch of an engine cable car serves as their modern graphic. A window-facing counter is planed to the shape of a train track, as is the clean-line bench seating outside. Sleek benches inside are a subtle nod to a train station waiting area.

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Industrial stools at the rail-shaped counter facing Cordova Street in Gastown

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Price menu listed on the wall, reminiscent of destinations listed at a train station

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Sleek minimalist seating at Timbertrain Coffee

We ordered a coffee (all beans are freshly roasted by Timbertrain) and a peppermint tea. All baking is done by North Burnaby’s Chez Christophe. The almond croissant and chocolate croissant we devoured were massive – couldn’t finish mine. They were very buttery, flaky and satisfying. My tea was served in an elegant, tall infuser and dishware was all notNeutral – all thoughtful touches that felt indulgent.

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Timbertrain Coffee’s decadent and generously sized chocolate croissant, baked by local patisserie Chez Christophe

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Almond croissant, by Chez Christophe, at Timbertrain Coffee

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Peppermint tea in a pretty infuser served with notNeutral cup and saucer

The place filled up quickly and was mostly occupied by a young clientele of hipsters. Many were on their laptops – even early on this Sunday morning.

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Mike’s Ethiopian coffee, elegant in its simplicity, at Timbertrain Coffee



Name of coffee: Timbertrain Coffee Roasters

Location of roaster: Vancouver, B.C.

Origin: Ethiopian, Sidamo Ardi

Price: $4

Brewing method: Kalita pour over, copper dripper

Tasting notes: none available online

Mike’s comments: Some citrus with berry notes along with a slight dry bitter aftertaste. Light and clean flavour.

Best moments:

  • The staff were friendly and provided attentive service.
  • Tasty selection of fresh, local pastries made our beverage-food pairings more satisfying.
  • Liked the look of their unique copper pour over equipment, rigged to some piping.

Low moments:

  • This is a small space, and available seating fills up quickly.

Coffee: 3.75/5

Service: 5/5

Ambience: 4.5/5

Seating availability: 3/5


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Detailed beverage and bagged bean menus on clipboards at the counter of Timbertrain Coffee



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The rustic Kalita pour over equipment, from a view at the counter of Timbertrain Coffee


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View of Timbertrain Coffee Roasters from the back of the coffeehouse

Related post:

Review of Timbertrain Coffee Depot: Our Search for Vancouver’s Best Coffee

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Want to visit?

311 West Cordova St.

Operating hours here.

Timbertrain Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon


Continue reading Review of Timbertrain Coffee Roasters: Our Search for Vancouver’s Best Coffee

Boston: A Foodie Detour

Author: Shirley Wong

Downtown bost
View of downtown Boston and their local food festival where we sampled everything from ice cream to coffee

 “Hello Jack. Are you one of the Boston Dawsons?”

John Jacob Astor IV to Jack Dawson, in The Titanic  

We peer over the shoulder of the person in front of us. Then we glance back and the only thing that gives us comfort is the line behind us: it’s massive and we’re ahead of them. To think, this restaurant doesn’t even open for another 20 minutes! Welcome to Boston, foodies. Continue reading Boston: A Foodie Detour

A Blog for the Love of Coffee, Food & All Things Vancouver

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