Reported by Nico Hernandez
Richmond has joined a select club of cities around the world with a café that sells coffee for as much as $25 a cup.
Owner Vincent Wong insists that his customers sit down and drink their brew at his Faebrew café on No. 3 Road from special ceramic cups that he has custom-made with fairy designs. There are no to-go cups.
“The way coffee is right now is just like, you grab a cup, and most of the time you leave,” said Wong. “I wanted to focus more on a sit-down service, where I can teach or educate and guide people through the process of how I make the coffee.”
High prices not new in the coffee business
His special approach is rare for the Vancouver region. Bean Brothers Café Bistro, in Kerrisdale used to serve $30 cups of coffee, but it doesn’t anymore. Cafés such as Café Grumpy in New York and St. Ali in Melbourne have also made headlines in recent years because they serve coffees in the $20-plus-price range.
Wong said he started the café in Richmond because the area “feels like home” and some local residents, especially the city’s contingent of prosperous immigrants from Mainland China and Hong Kong, are willing to pay the price.
“Coffee is virtually worth nothing compared to what they buy,” said Wong. “I’ve had people say that my prices are too low for me to make money.”
A wide range of specialty brews
Wong sells cups of coffee that range from $12 to $25 because he brews foreign coffee beans, such as Jamaican Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Kona, and even the Kopi Luwak, an Indonesian-based coffee bean that is acquired from the feces of the Asian palm civet that are native to the tropical forests of Indonesia.
Vincent Tang, a second–year science and forestry student at UBC, is a friend of Wong’s and comes into the café once a week to chat with him. He said that, compared to the coffee that he gets from Starbucks, Faebrew’s coffee has more natural flavours.
“For this type of coffee, I’d say that the higher the value of coffee is, you shouldn’t add anything to it, and you should drink it as it is,” said Tang. “I would go here every day if I could.”