Author: Shirley & Mike Wong
“The dogs were barking at the new moon.”
-Nelly Furtado (from “All Good Things”)
Coo Coo Coffee is the perfect destination when you’re feeling unusually off and “cuckoo” yourself. An opportunity presented itself days ago, when our puppy threw up a record seven times.
Times like this, a newly purchased wet vac more than pays for itself. Like new parents, we patiently cleaned up each new mess, without one word or look of judgment to our poor dog. And at our breaking point (right after number seven), we fell into bed with eyes glued shut at 2 am.
Hours later, us zombies find ourselves at Coo Coo Coffee. On Stop 125 of our Search for Vancouver’s Best Coffee, this is actually the most dog friendly café we’ve found. No coincidence that this coffee shop resides in a well heeled Yaletown neighbourhood already heavily populated with pooches.
Are you a dog owner? Then you know this already. Your Rover is a valued member of the family and someone you hate to leave behind.
So it’s an indescribable gratitude when you can get out of the house with your dog, simply be in the company of other adults and dogs and enjoy a drink in an environment that welcomes both of you.
The most notable feature of Coo Coo Coffee? Not their indoor seating, which is somewhat limited. But what is marvellous is their outdoor deck, which is even thoughtfully covered during the coldest months. It’s also roomy (plenty of comfy padded seating) and raised (above street level).
In all, this means you get a great view of people/dog watching along Davie St. And they’re okay with customers bringing their leashed dog on to the deck, unlike some places which won’t allow it. Which is nice, because there is nothing sadder than seeing a dog tied up just outside a deck, anxiously staring at his owners dining a few feet away.
(As for us, we eventually decide to leave our dog at home to rest during our visit.)
When you get here, take a minute to look at their blackboard outside. That day, there’s a list of made-to-order English muffins, which are a steal for $3.75 (especially Yaletown).
We decide on a Hollandaise (egg, ham, Havarti, spinach and Hollandaise sauce) and Omelette (egg, bacon, Havarti, red onion, sweet bell pepper). The other flavours are Chorizo and Vegetarian.
The blackboard also says they have a Clover machine to brew their coffee: “Coffee weighed, ground and brewed one cup at a time.” Those machines are crazy expensive, as much as a pricier road bike. It’s a rarity to see them anymore, outside of Starbucks who bought the company years ago. If you haven’t tried Clover, we recommend it.
But they’re actually known for their Bullet Coffee ($5.45 – $5.95) and Silver Bullet Coffee ($6.45). A friendly staffer tells us she highly recommends it and explains the drinks.
The Bullet is made of organic espresso, grass fed butter, organic virgin coconut oil and MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil. The Silver Bullet has the same ingredients, but served over ice. Basically this drink that may have some cognitive and weight management benefits, which is a good sell in this health conscious neighbourhood.
They serve espresso, Clover brew and pour over. Mike decides on a pour over, a cheap thrill at $3.50 (12 oz). The staffer says they just started offering Hario V60 about three weeks ago.
It’s not the fanciest setup, with two drippers simply mounted on a stand behind the counter. But we give them full credit. Not every café would try something different after solidly being in business almost a decade.
He gets a choice of medium or dark roast and he opts for medium. When we ask which coffee they use, she helpfully searches through the bags on the shelf, then shows us Vancouver’s West End Coffee Roasters’ Signature Espresso.
I’ll have the same bean in my Salty Caramel Latte ($4.40, 12 oz).
We like how there’s also a big selection of teas (20 types at $3.50 each), iced espresso/tea drinks ($3.90 to $6) and flavoured lattes ($3.75 to $5).
Besides sandwiches, Coo Coo also has cookies, muffins and loaves. We order the English muffin sandwiches and they’ll bring the food to our seat. An owner comes in and she asks him to help make our drinks. It’s busy here, a lot of people order their coffee to go.
Our sandwiches quickly arrive to our table first. As advertised, they are hot and freshly made. Out of the two we tried, we recommend ordering the Hollandaise which is stood out. We were surprised how good the sauce was and how it made a creamy sandwich.
Our drinks are huge. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to drinking 12 oz lattes, which always feel like too much. But their Salty Caramel latte is executed beautifully. The owner does some good latte art and the milk is perfectly foamed. I like the sweetness of my drink and mild coffee taste.
Mike says his coffee is good, with a dark chocolate taste and slight acidity. We haven’t tried West End Coffee Roasters before, Coo Coo Coffee gets kudos for offering a bean that’s not common. Just a note that this place is similar to a counter-style European coffee bar, so you won’t see a pour over made in front of you.
By the way, you might imagine that with all these dogs around, Coo Coo Coffee would be a loud environment. But we’re pleasantly surprised to find outside is quiet and sublimely peaceful.
A curly-haired mutt yaps just a bit longingly when his owner heads inside to pickup his coffee – but that’s it. Just like the canines, customers around us are all good natured and respectful.
Our staffer is so good about it all. Just a few feet away, she even holds a customer’s baby for a few minutes while chatting with customers. She skilfully steps over leashes. And doggy tails. A bulky stroller won’t trip her up, as she efficiently clears tables. We count four dogs, a baby, ten adults and why not. There’s room for us all.
VANCOUVER BARISTA REVIEW
Name of coffee: West End Coffee Roasters’ Signature Espresso (Medium Roast)
Origin: Brazil, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Tanzania, Peru
Location of roaster: Vancouver, B.C.
Price: $3.50 (12 oz)
Brewing method: Hario V60 pour over, glass drippers
Roaster’s tasting notes: “Smooth and nicely fruity with pronounced sweet aroma and taste, medium-low to low acidity with chocolate notes in the cup. Creamy-caramel, smooth finish.”
Mike’s comments: Dark chocolate with a woodsy brightness and slight acidity.
- Serene but social atmosphere from a street level patio. Highly recommended for dog lovers and people watching.
- Good variety of drinks and beans from a local roaster.
- Competitively priced, made-to-order breakfast.
- Friendly and helpful service.
- Pour over done behind the counter because of limitations of space.
Seating availability: 3.75/5
OVERALL RATING by VANCOUVER BARISTA: 4.38/5
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Want to visit?
477 Davie St (at Richards St)
Operating hours here.