Coffee Chronicles: 49th Parallel Cafe


It was 7:00 PM on a Friday night. Bored, with no plans, I decided to venture out into the evening to get myself a coffee. Though I had many options in East Vancouver, I decided to go to the 49th Parallel on Main.

Their neon sign was a sight for caffeine-deprived eyes. If you squinted hard enough, you could fool yourself into thinking you’d stumbled across the Vegas strip.

The inside of the cafe was just as inviting, but warmer and less bright. The line formed past the donut display, with people patiently waiting to get their late night java fix. I casually stood at the back, trying to avoid eye contact with the donuts. You see, willpower is something we all try to have when avoiding temptation. But when it comes to the donuts at 49th Parallel, willpower just becomes another word buried at the back of the dictionary. If puppy eyes came in food form, it would be in the form of these donuts. Just look at that Memphis log. Or that peanut butter and jelly. Or that coconut bis…wait nevermind someone just took the last one. It’s like seeing your ex in public. You notice them, but you do not want to be obvious and stare.

Forty Ninth Parallel - 1

I turned my focus away from the donut case and scanned the rest of the cafe. Everywhere I looked – donuts. Sigh. That’s when the Memphis hash donut makes a siren call, beckoning for me to eat it. I notice it’s the last one. Shoot. Only two more people ahead of me, and they have been pointing at virtually every donut. I realize I need a backup, like on NHL draft day when the team ahead of you chooses the player you want. Only this time, all the prospects are gone. Thankfully, they order something else. I get up to the till and order the Memphis Hash plus a medium latte (trying to stay semi-healthy here).

As I wait for my latte to be ready, I look around the rest of the cafe. Ample seating galore. Tables, couches and the oh-so hard-to-get booth (mostly occupied by students and couples on dates). I am one of those people that enjoys sitting on the patio when it’s cold, but alas, theirs was closed off due to the rain. Main Street is affectionately known for its hipster vibes, and 49th Parallel fits the description. The decor feels like something outta’ Brooklyn.

I highly recommend you watch the barista make your drink. It’s like watching magic being made. And good luck trying to chat with your barista. With so many beverages being made, it is surprising how fast they can make them.

Finally, my latte was ready. And it was good. Like, pretty, pretty, pretty good. So velvety, just like the hideous velvet outfits your parents would wear in the 90’s. Super smooth. How could a coffee be this good?

The pairing of the latte and donut was so perfect. I almost wed the two in holy matrimony. Like Arnold said, I will be back.

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