My formula for a great coffee shop is, like me, pretty simple.
First, surprisingly, is superb coffee, preferably roasted in house, super fresh and expertly pulled or poured.
Second is one or two warm-from-the-oven baked goods. These can be dense fruit muffins, flaky croissants or no-icing cinnamon buns (“rolls” if you’re American). Just don’t wrap them in plastic… unless they’re a day old, in which case why are you selling them?
Third, that’s it. No sense complicating things. All you want is a steaming mug and a tender bite to savour, while not glancing at your screen.
The wonderfully named 32 Lakes Coffee Roasters—opened in 2013 by Margot and Nathan Jantz in Powell River on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast—has these simple, but rarely achieved, details nailed.
The coffee is small-batch roasted and available for purchase as bagged beans. My Americano is full flavoured and strong, the way I like it.
But what catches my eye is a rather unique baked good to go with the java. Yes, they have fresh sourdough croissants and local macarons on offer, plus wild-yeast sourdough waffles on Sundays.
I’m instead immediately drawn to a basket of organic sourdough boule (a round, crusty bread), produced in house by talented 21-year-old baker Alexis. The boule is available as a full loaf ($6.50) and also as a bun, which I order for $1.50 (okay, it’s another 50 cents for melted butter, but still a steal). The bun is at once soft, chewy and tangy—one of the better baked goodies I’ve had with a coffee in quite some time.
32 Lakes’ café, on a downtown Powell River street, is full of light, with colourful art on the walls. I grab a window seat and gaze out the window as the coffee and boule slowly melt my soul.
32 Lakes Coffee Roasters
4707 Marine Avenue, Powell River, B.C.
Daily 7:30 am-3 pm, except 8:30 am opening Sunday