The sense of calm that washed over me when I walked through the door was the first thing about Trees Organic Coffee and Roasting House in Yaletown that I fell in love with. The funky seating options, clean lines with occasional bursts of rich colour, the high ceilings and the artistically placed quotes and pieces of art really appealed to my artist’s eye. The smells emanating from the kitchen and coffee urns set my tastebuds on high alert and things only got better from there!
It was my first meet up with the Vancouver Blogger Meetup Group and I was quickly welcomed by Jonathan, one of the organizers. The half of the coffee house that was open to public seating was packed with people quietly munching and sipping amidst bursts of conversation (always a good sign). The area set aside for our group of 20 bloggers who had been invited to come and taste various types of coffee and cheesecake was bright with natural light, and felt cozy and friendly.
After some brief introductions and a welcome from the friendly folks who run Trees Cafe, we were ready to dive into the tastings. The coffee offerings included an Ethiopian, and a Peruvian blend. To get a sense of what they were all about, I was drinking them straight up with no milk or sweetener.
The Ethiopian I found to be the mellower of the two blends, in all areas. It was a bit lighter in colour, had a lower acidity (when you swish it around in your mouth does it make the sides/back of your tongue tingle? More tingly usually = higher acidity), a milder smell, a less complex taste, and it wasn’t too bitter.
The Peruvian had a brighter acidity which hinted at citrus, the smell was richer and more complex (an earthy, nuttiness), and my tastebuds sparked to the hazelnut/citrus notes that danced on my tongue. While both were good enough that I would happily drink them on their own, I preferred the Peruvian over the Ethiopian.
First off, I have to say the cheesecakes here are nothing short of sensational. They are made with a locally produced Victoria-style cream cheese which is softer, lighter and creamier than most of the types of cream cheese you might find in the supermarket. This helps the desserts maintain the desired texture even after they’ve been baked and cooled. A nice side effect is that while they’re not as heavy as cheesecakes you may have tasted in the past, they’re every bit as amazing to eat (if not more!). Although there was an entire display case filled with tempting varietals, we were focusing on 3 options: the classic New York, the Blueberry, and the Maple Walnut. I zeroed in on the last two.
The Blueberry featured fresh, juicy berries that were not too gooey around the edges. There was a nice light background flavour, like lemon sunshine on your tongue, which really brought out the tart sweetness of the berries and helped cut the creamy richness. This one was refreshing while at the same time being sinfully indulgent.
The Maple Walnut had a subtleness which I often find lacking in things of that particular flavour. Not too sickly sweet, the nuttiness was prevalent with a hint of real maple. There were occasional pockets of nut chunks which were large and plentiful enough to add variety from bite to bite, but not so large that they became awkward in your mouth. The ground nuts on top added another layer to it all, and the graham wafer-style crust was crumbly and not at all greasy.
But, we were just getting started. It was when the cheesecake got introduced to the two different coffees in my mouth that things got really interesting! I found the Ethiopian to be the perfect companion for the Maple Walnut. Its more mellow flavour was just enough to cut the creamy richness of the cheesecake, but not so strong that it overpowered the subtle flavours. For the Blueberry, the bolder Peruvian really brought out the lemon in the cheesecake, and the New York style backdrop of the Blueberry really brought out some of the more complex flavours in the coffee.
Whichever way you choose to go, you will enjoy every last bite! Curled up in a comfy chair with a beam of sunshine flitting through the windows, it’s easy to look up at the trees on the wall and really believe you’re in a magical fairy glade in the forest. And who doesn’t need a little extra magic in their lives?
Will I be going back? You bet! And I’m definitely going to bring friends. The Key Lime Cheesecake, the sinfully delicious looking Chocolate Cherry, and the Mocha varieties are all calling out to be tried, and that’s definitely a job tailor-made for a handful of folks working together. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll have any difficulty finding volunteers!