artigianoUpdate: We've been in to speak with Vince and had three different and all good cups of drip coffee. They were strong but full bodied. Even the strongest did not have bitterness. Now, I know the quality control is good so it may have been a fluke experience my first time in.

Ok, now for a hard review. It's been one I've really been putting off. And, yes, up front I'll let you know that I have not yet contacted Artigiano to talk about their coffee but it is on my To Do list. (Photo by Roland)

Ok, So Caffe Artigiano is a Vancouver hotspot for coffee. In the morning, you can see people lining up for their cup outside the door and into the street. Heck, even the co-owner Sammy Piccolo is ranked in the top 3 baristas worldwide. So, you'd think this would be an easy review? Not so.

Well, first time I went to Artigiano, before I started Vancouver Coffee and had tried as many good coffees as I now have, I thought it was just plain awful. I had the drip. The most bitter, acrid coffee. Right down there with my dislike of coffee from Tim Hortons.

Well, after that first experience I was not so hot on going back. But just about every coffee lover in Vancouver keeps telling me to go back there. So, I tried, two more times. The first time I was again really unhappy - not as bad as the first time, but still not making me think this cafe was so hot as everyone says. Granted, there could be some taste differences going on. But it was Intelligentsia, which I like, so I didn't get it. Ianiv had an espresso there once and was ok with it - didn't love it, but didn't hate it. It is very much like having a Starbucks beverage, to tell you the truth. Just a little overdone.

Well, I argued myself into a third go of it. It was actually not bad this third time. No idea why. Was the barista better? The coffee fresher? A different roast? No idea. It was bold but soothing. None of the acrid taste I'd experienced before. I do hear from others that the drip is just plain horrible, so that is a confirmation. But, aside from that, it was still a 50/50 shot of getting a good Americano.

So, I will say that when the coffee is quite good, I can see why people like it. But that 66% chance, it would seem, of getting something awful is not worth it to me. I will put it at about my #6 choice of Vancouver cafes. Not in my top five. It has some nice branding going on, but I do find that it is too busy for my taste. There is nothing wrong with sitting in a busy cafe, but the layout and table/chair thing they have going on just doesn't make me comfortable when it's busy.

Yes, I do plan on talking with Artigiano about what could have gone wrong. Yes, I will be diligent on this one. I'll report back. But, after many tries, my evaluation has to stick. And here it is:

Coffee - 80% (on average here)
Service - 83%
Atmosphere - 81%