Elysian Coffee Roastery

Back in 2000, Elysian Coffee opened its first café around the corner from Vancouver’s Fifth Avenue Cinemas. It did things differently from the beginning: no dark roast, no flavoured syrups. [Why not—what was the philosophy that made these choices significant?]

Now Elysian has entered the world of roasting. After spending two years tied up in permit issues (at least that’s the word on the street), Elysian has opened its third location at the corner of West Seventh and Ontario, in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

From outside, it looks typical: an espresso bar, a drip coffee maker, a retail shop (where I bought a Porlex hand grinder), and a large kitchen in the back where mixes are made for the goods baked fresh in all four cafés.

But behind the doors lies the centerpiece of the facility, and the source of the permit grief: a 1950s German cast iron Probat roaster. This industry workhorse, now updated with sensors and connected to a laptop, make it possible to monitor not only temperature, but also the rate of temperature change—one of the major keys to roasting. (Previously, Elysian’s beans were roasted on Granville Island at Origins Organic Coffee.)


What’s the essence of the Elysian approach? “We buy the absolute best coffee we can find,” says Christopher Rodgers. “We roast coffee with constant improvement from week to week. We brew coffee to highlight everything and hide nothing. We provide our team with as comprehensive an understanding about coffee as possible, that we may all hold the results to the highest level of scrutiny. I think at Elysian we expect the coffee to speak for itself after going through this process. Ultimately, what motivates us is to provide people with the juiciest, most spectacularly delicious, and reliable coffees that we can. Nothing fancy, nothing trendy, just really, really damn good coffee.”

Through its new focus on roasting, Elysian can not only provide its cafés with consistent coffees, but also wade into the waters of wholesale. Through an exclusive deal with espresso machine maker Synesso (which includes water filtration), Elysian can supply wholesale clients with both coffee and equipment. By not insisting that clients adhere to its standards and recipes, Elysian is more Intelligencia than Stumptown.

How far can Elysian go for clients who want more than just a coffee program? “On the large end, we do equipment sales, installations, consultation (menu concept and shop configuration), training, and roasting. Elysian does it all, from start to finish. We are passionate about our customers succeeding in their businesses.”

At the new facility, Elysian provides training (public, wholesale, and internal) as well as cupping and quality control in a Tasting Room. The company also offers an espresso class for the public, taught by Rodgers. Just one class, though, not a full-on school for coffee… not yet.

Elysian Coffee
2301 Ontario St. Vancouver, BC V5T 2X5


Written By:

John Crawford is on a constant hunt for authenticity. This commercial pilot is also a professional saxophone player, music teacher, entrepreneur, aviation blogger and contributing writer to Dry Goods. \r\n\r\nThrough deep roots ...

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