Sciue, Clearly Vancouver’s Best Coffee

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Sciue Coffee

Sciue Coffee, originally uploaded by andai.

Sciue is probably my hands down favorite ‘coffeehouse’ in Vancouver BC. Sciue, pronounced Shoe-eh is actually Italian (or Roman) slang for Good & Fast…

This excellent Italian bakery Caffè was started by two Italians from Rome, Davide Bonamici and Alessandro Fonseca. Davide was one of the former directors of Torrefazione, which is the coffee chain that Starbucks bought (via their acquisition of Seattle’s Best Coffee Company) then turned around and shut down. This I think was foolish on the part of Starbucks, but the silver lining is that mistake actually created a number of great Italian style cafes in Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco New York and of course Vancouver BC.

There are four things that I like about Sciue.

  1. The espresso drinks are excellent. Whenever I stop by, I always order a latte and I can tell you with absolute certainly, these guys know how to make an excellent latte. After you’ve had one, you’ll wonder why you ever patronized Starbucks. They serve Caffè Umbria, which has become one of my top three coffee bean roasters with regards to quality, freshness and flavor.
  2. The food served at Sciue is also excellent and feels very authentic. It ranges from savory to sweet and what I really like about it is that even if you haven’t been to Italy, you kind of feel that this is what everyday Italian cooking looks and tastes like. For example, it was at Sciue that I first saw and ordered Pane Romano which is sort of like a pizza except instead of being round, theirs is rectangular and very tasty. As I was talking to Davide about their food he said that Scuie is all about simple, traditional and good Italian fare. Or as they describe it on their website, traditional Roman street food. Check out their website for their full menu
  3. I really love the interior design and the colors they chose. They have more of a modern look and feel to their shop, and for those of you in the know, you might just recognize some of the ceramic ware sitting on the shelf that gives a clue as to their Torrefazione roots
  4. They are a very friendly group of folks. Even though they tend to get very busy, they are very welcoming engaging and polite and will chat with you although don’t expect them to keep chatting away with you while they have other customers waiting in line to place or pick up their orders.

All in all, I can’t say enough good things about the place. I will certainly recommend that if you find yourself in Vancouver BC, certainly make it a point to stop there for a latte and a pastry, or even lunch.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. lucho says:

    Hi,
    I would just like to give my personal opinion about my Sciue coffeehouse experience:
    It is true that their food is excellent,tastes great ,with a very authentic Italian flair.
    However,I would like to take exception to the article’s title:”Clearly Vancouver’s Best Coffeehouse”,more specifically to”the espresso drinks are excellent”.

    I don’t know if it was because of an inexperienced barista, but everytime I have had an espresso there it has been very mediocre. I usually order a doppio espresso , which any skilled barista will tell you should usually never be more than 2 ounces in volume and certainly never 5 to 6 ounces!!,otherwise you get a bitter, watered down ,way over extracted espresso with a pale looking crema on top
    that has lost any resemblance to the real thing.

    Yet that is exactly what I get at Sciue. It doesn’t matter if you have great Caffe Umbria beans, if you can’t pull a decent shot of espresso

    I can go to 49th Parallel Cafe, The Elysian Room, JJbean,Cafe Artigiano, Crema, to name the places where some of the best Baristas in Vancouver work and I will consistently get a great espresso experience. It is by drinking regularly espresso,NOT LATTES, that one will be
    able to distinguish a good espresso from a bad one.

    Sincerely, Lucho.

  2. andai says:

    Sorry Lucho, I don’t agree with your last statement about espresso vs. lattes… Yes adding milk and sugar does change some aspects of the espresso, but if you account for the those two ‘additives’ I think that makes the experience of seeking good vs. bad espresso even more enjoyable. And I have noted on more than a few posts that I have been to different coffee shops that use the same beans or roast yet some will make great lattes and others will make lousy lattes. It is more than just the beans. But at the same time, there are certain bean roasts and blends that one would naturally prefer other others. If you disagree with this statement, then I would suggest that you are commenting for the sole reason for being combative.

    I also think you missed the whole point that I have made elsewhere on this blog and that is, I enjoy lattes and I am interested in places that serve great lattes. I don’t like straight espresso shots and so I simply don’t review them.

    Finally, I have also acknowledged elsewhere that there are quite a number of coffee shops I have yet to try in the Vancouver BC area, but I still stand by my original conclusion that Scuie makes great espresso drinks and I have always had great lattes there. You might just be unlucky whenever you go there for coffee and I think you should complain if they keep pulling bad espresso… of take your business elsewhere.

  3. John says:

    I’d take a visit to some of the below cafes before giving sciue the crown of “Best Vancouver Coffee”

    Most Barista’s would agree these are some of the best:

    – Any JJBean
    – 49th Parallel
    – Elysian Room
    – Any Wicked Cafe ( new one on Hornby )
    – Cafe Crema
    – Re-entry
    – Ethical Bean
    – New* Bump N Grind

    In Seattle here’s a few more you should check out:

    – Espresso Vivace
    – Victrola
    – Cafe Vita
    – Stumptown
    – Zoca

    Personally, It’d love to see color of crema, temperature of milk, what kind of porcelain they’re using, what espresso machine, what grinder, and the taste profiles of the coffee.

    Lots of content on here, impressive 🙂

  4. andai says:

    Thanks John… I will certainly check out as many as I can the next few times I visit Vancouver (and Victoria) that’s for sure. I am especially interested in checking out;

    – Any JJBean
    – Cafe Crema
    – and 49th Parallel.

    With regards to the Seattle ones you mentioned, I have been to all of them. Vivace used to be my favorite but then over the last couple of years the espresso drinks I was getting were not as good… But now they seem to be getting better.

    Victrola is in my top three favorite coffeehouses. I also think that Zoka, especially the one in the University District is actually really good too, and Stumptown is another great place too I have been hanging out over the last month or so.

    I will be doing additional posts on all these Seattle ones you just mentioned plus a few others like All City Coffee, which serves Cafe Vita beans.

    With regards to espresso machines, the minute details with regards to the beans and blends, etc, I will be adding those types in details as time goes by so stay tuned…

  5. emme says:

    Thanks for interesting article

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