Milano Espresso Lounge (Gastown)
36 Powell Street
The coffee scene on the west coast is a pretty vibrant one and Milano explains their heritage on their website in proud terms, noting their long Vancouver legacy and family traditions. Their location in Gastown is a fairly spacey lot, with high ceilings, clean lines and a mix of industrial, artsy and comfortable concepts, textures and patterns in their lounge’s design. The base of their operations – their roasting facilities – is situated in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, not too far from the likes of Menya, the busy MEC flagship and the fun to browse Dunlevy Food Equipment store.
Claiming to be dedicated to the old school Italian coffee tradition, Milano notes their key differentiator when it comes to their coffee product is their knowledge and dedication to a unique roasting and blending method – one that is not openly taught. And with their belief that what makes a great espresso is the blend quality. So much so that they even jack it up by using up to 11 beans in a blend, formulating options that run the full roast range (dark, medium, etc)!
At home, I most often prepare my coffee via a French Press – mainly for the bold flavors a direct immersion can produce. But lately I’ve been interested in the drip or direct pour methods when I have it out-of-home. On this sunny Sunday visit to Milano, I had the latter. Comparing this cup to what I had via a similar pour-style at Innocent Coffee in Fairview, I personally preferred this one in terms of flavor and overall temperature. With coffee tastes being such a personal thing, I won’t delve much more into my descriptors and leave it to you to decide what you enjoy.
With interesting seating arrangements in both the front and back of the space, the time spent here is certainly a unique one, at least in terms of the setting. When I was visiting, it was quite empty however, so it may have added to my tranquil state of mind. Plus, their philosophy to stand out among the cafe crowd is one I support.