The Only Cafe in Kitsilano came to my attention when I saw their Groupon deal for Royal Belgian Coffee Service. I must admit that I’m not a coffee snob (though I love a good cup of joe) and decided it would be interesting to learn more about this type of coffee brewing. The deal seemed to garner much interest as it is currently sold out; it was priced at $18 and included desserts for two. A few weeks ago, my husband and I ventured to The Only Cafe to see what Royal Belgian Coffee brewing was about.
But first a bit of background on the Only Cafe. This newish, independently-owned cafe has been open almost a year now and is located in Kitsilano (near West Broadway and MacDonald). The coffee they serve is direct trade travelling directly from the farmer to the roaster and includes beans from Columbia, Burundi and Yemen.
The interior is a comfortable setting with soft, white walls, natural wood details, and small floral accents. And around the counter, a display of various coffee-making contraptions which highlight that The Only Cafe is a serious place for an elevated coffee experience. During my visit, I saw many customers on their laptops working. This seemed like a good place to hide and get work done over great coffee.
Not a Coffee Snob!
One of the more remarkable aspects of the Only Cafe is that they allow outside food. Furthermore, they are so environmentally friendly that you can bring your own cup. Regardless if it is a tumbler or a paper cup from somewhere else, you will receive a cup discount.
Royal Belgian Coffee Experience
Reservations were required for the Royal Belgian Coffee service. When I phoned it, they weren’t very busy so we went right away to the cafe. For coffee, we went with Yemen’s rarified coffee. Up until that point, I had no idea that Yemen made coffee. It was then that I learned that it was illegal to grow and sell coffee beans in Yemen before. Now with government powers relaxing, the country has started to let the world know of their coffee. The yemen coffee profile features plumy and floral aroma to start with a very sweet body and long finish.
In a nutshell, Royal Belgian Coffee brewing involves brewing coffee using two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee. While I’m not going into all the technical details, I would recommend this article from Serious Eats on how the process. But alas, I have a posted a video below on how it appeared to me:
Really enjoyed the Royal Belgian Coffee service @theonlycafevancouver ☕️ in Kitsilano. This involves brewing coffee using two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee. With the Royal Belgian Coffee experience, you can enjoy three brews each with a different taste. This happens at your own table and you can watch the process. . We went with Yemen’s rarified coffee. Up until that point, I had no idea that Yemen made coffee. Did you know that it was illegal to grow and sell coffee beans in Yemen before? Now with government powers relaxing, the country has started to let the world know about their coffee. The yemen coffee profile features plumy and floral aroma to start with a very sweet body and long finish.
With the Royal Belgian Coffee experience, you can enjoy three brews each with a different taste. This actually involved quite a bit of tableside service from the barista owner who explained the flavour profiles each time. Quite a friendly, knowledgeable guy who was patient with non-coffee experts such as myself. The first brew was very strong; the second was smooth and slightly sweet; and the third tasted closer to an Earl Grey tea and was the sweetest. My favourite was the second brew.
For treats, we went with an almond croissant and a vegan raspberry cheesecake. Speaking with the barista owner, I learned that the almond croissant is made with a plain croissant by Faubourg with the addition of their homemade almond spread. The reason is that they prefered their own almond spread with the croissant. I thought the intentions were good, but presentation-wise it did not appeal to me so much. I didn’t quite like that they had precut the almond croissant in order to put in the almond spread. The vegan raspberry cheesecake, on the other hand was very delicious with a creamy, nutty filling with a nice amount of sweetness. I couldn’t quite taste the raspberry but it definitely tasted fruity.
It was quite a fun, educational and delicious Royal Belgian coffee experience at The Only Cafe. I was impressed with the community-oriented vibe and friendly barista-owners. I’d recommend giving this place a try. The vegan cheesecake is a winner in my books. Rating: 4/5