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Modern coffee shop with Japanese-inspired plant-based menu opens in Vancouver (PHOTOS)

The project comes from one of Vancouver's most-loved coffee shop creators

A long-anticipated specialty coffee shop has just opened in Vancouver's Japantown neighbourhood. Harken Coffee is a third-wave roaster and cafe featuring a fully plant-based Japanese-inspired menu.

Taking cues from Australia's modern coffee shops, the minimalist space punched up with lush plants was created by design studio Comh-A.

Situated at 338 Powell Street in Vancouver's historically Japanese neighbourhood, Harken is a project led by Eldric Stuart of Aubade Coffee. The now-shuttered Aubade in Chinatown operated out of an antique shop, giving customers a unique and intimate coffee experience, and leading the cafe to be featured in Lonely Planet's Global Coffee Tour book as one of the world's most interesting 150 coffee shops.

Stuart has now shifted his expertise and focus to Harken. 

“At Harken, our concept was to take the ideas and structures that already exist in coffee shops but to bring an element of refined elegance, thoughtful design and engaging experience that is often absent in most North American coffee shops. We value coffee as a craft, and a valuable resource that many hands are involved in from the farming and cultivating right through the roasting and brewing of the final product," said Stuart.

In addition to a selection of four signature blends, named for each season, Harken also offers a rotating selection of single-origin beans, all with Head Roaster Stacey Lynden at the helm.

The food menu at Harken is entirely plant-based and showcases Japanese dishes and ingredients, and include things like a TLT (tempeh, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich with sesame mayo and Japanese ketchup, seasonal miso soup, and Japanese porridge and curries. On the weekends, Harken serves a breakfast combo that's a modern take on a traditional Buddhist morning meal - and for kids, a "Breakfast Box." (A separate kids' menu is also available daily.) 

Though Harken was conceived with the notion of giving patrons a cozy dine-in experience, opening during the COVID-19 pandemic means things will get going a little differently at the cafe. 

“It changes the logistics of how we are going to operate by altering the dine in experience to adhere to heightened health and safety protocols while still creating a warm and inviting environment. We are grateful we are now able to meet our customers face to face and get to know them in person. However, we are also glad to have the opportunity to ship our coffee for customers to enjoy in their homes, and in a way, that will feel just like sitting down with them to enjoy it together," explained Stuart.

Coffee and baked goods are available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the full menu starts at 11 a.m. The food menu is available through takeout, pre-order for pick up, or delivery through DoorDash