49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

by Lauren Mote

This afternoon, concluding my Christmas shopping (for baking ingredients NOT gifts) I decided to check out 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, on 4th in between Arbutus and Yew.

I managed to sneak in with my shopping bags and laptop between, waves of thirsty patrons. A lovely table and comfy chair near the back, across from the espresso bar would be my hideout for a couple of hours; and they have free internet – nice.

I wrote some stories, devoted to the holiday season, and continued to get caught up listening to Feist’s Reminder for about 2 hours.

This coffee house roasts a tonne of coffee for other companies, they also sell their whole bean at Urban Fare, Meinhardt Fine Foods and Whole Foods. The owners, Vince Piccolo and master coffee roaster Michael Piccolo travel around the world paying top dollar, higher then Fair Trade, for the raw green coffee beans, purchased directly from the farmers. Everything is roasted at the facility in Burnaby, BC, and then shipped to the various cafes and shops that carry their products in British Columbia and Alberta.

“49th Parallel Coffee Roasters operates based on the principles of Relationship Coffee, a new approach which owners Vince and Mike Piccolo use to source and purchase coffee. Relationship coffee is a transparent method that generates trust among all parties involved and ensures that the majority of the price paid for coffee by the roaster goes directly to the coffee growers.” – Taken directly from the 49th Parallel Press Release.

Everything in this shop looks so modern. From the baby blue espresso, latte and their paper “to go” cups, all made of recycled and biodegradable materials – with their logo pasted across everything – to the shiny chrome and dark wood fixtures and furniture. Very minimalist. This place is always packed. Always. They must have served 50 people between 2:30p – 4:00p. That’s a lot for an afternoon.

As you’ll notice from the above picture, each latte is finished with a “feather” design. These guys behind the espresso bar are so talented. I saw one woman receive a Santa Claus made from this steamed milk/fresh foam technique. Too bad I didn’t have a camera.

I was told that their logo is a coffee bean with the 49°N latitude or the “49th parallel” floating across it, to identify the bean as the “planet”. Yes, this is where the name 49th Parallel comes from. To be clear, Vancouver sits on 49.15°N.

The coffee was rich and fabulous. It completely hit the spot and caused me to type faster for longer. Thanks 49th.

I recommend it. It’s well worth the trip.

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters


Burnaby, BC


49th Parallel Coffee Roasters Cafe on Urbanspoon

About Lauren Mote

Lauren has been an intricate part of the food industry for many years. Whether it’s behind the bar, in the kitchen, tasting and learning about wine, or sitting with her laptop writing food stories and reviews at the local coffee house, it was clear at an early age that Lauren’s professional and personal life would be completely consumed by the joy and passion of edibles.
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