Solder & Sons

Author: george Posted: October 22, 2009

Finding Godshots in unsuspecting places.

First, let me say that this is way past due.  I think I went to Solder & Sons back in June or July, and these pictures have just been hibernating on my computer for the past 5 months.

I don’t really know what made me come in here in the first place.  I just happen to notice it one night en route to dinner nearby.

Maybe it was the small town charm the place gave off from the street.  Maybe it was because the space doubled as a used book store, and even though I don’t usually get around to reading them, I do really enjoy books.

Regardless, I didn’t enter in because I thought the coffee was going to be great.  I wasn’t expecting much at all to be honest.

My giant wall of skepticism wasn’t even dented one bit when I saw the bar set up.

In the midst of silently debating with myself whether I should even order anything, I just ordered an espresso.  I could easily have just browsed through some books and avoided the whole ordeal of having to put on my poker face while sipping a poor shot, but I did otherwise.

I even had to run back down the street to my car and scrounge up every single dime and nickle I could find lying around my car as they didn’t take debit and I had no cash.  He said he’d start it in the mean time.

I returned back with the money just in time to see the barista cutting the shot.

It looked long.

I took a sip, expecting the worst.

Boom.  The curtains ripped.  Lights shone.  Trumpets sounded.

It was so impossibly good.

Here I was, in the heart of Vancouver’s Eastside, being humbled by the ever allusive Godshot.

Without a doubt one of the best espressos I have ever had, and certainly one of my most memorable coffee experiences.  Can you believe it?

A Godshot can’t be dialed in or planned – they just happen.  I don’t think you can exactly describe it, but you know when you’ve had one.  If most coffee drinkers are like me, they have a very small handful of espressos that they can always refer back to, ones that set the bar for what a shot can be.  This was one of them.

Turns out it was 49th’s epic espresso (at the time a blend of Brazil, El Salvador, and Ethiopia), and boy did it live up to it’s name that day.

I still haven’t been back since, but I will eventually.  Part of me wants to just leave it alone so as to keep it sort of sacred,  but that wouldn’t really be fair.  Either way – they have lots going on as they also serve french press coffee and have plenty of books and audio to fulfill all your leisurely desires.

If Vancouver is your hometown,  it’s located at 247 Main St. (just off the corner of Main and W. Cordova.).
If Vancouver isn’t your hometown, that’s still where it is.

9 Responses to “Solder & Sons

  1. Kyle Wheeler says:

    I used to live on that block, three doors down from there! I would sometimes use my leftover tip money to buy a book or two from there. I never got espresso drinks (I was, also, a little skeptical of the Silvia, and I could make my own a block away for free) but the french press was always enjoyable.
    I got talking to the owner, and turns out the building doesn’t have enough power to support a full on espresso bar, so he had to make do. I’ve also seen him working at Albion books, on Richards, but that was quite a while ago, so I’m not sure if he’s still there. That brings me back. I miss Vancouver a lot sometimes…

  2. florian says:

    So the Rancilio equipment can deliver an espresso with equal quality of more expensive commercial equipment usually found in coffee shops? In other words, if the same beans are used, and the same barista, same water etc, would the Rancilio home equipment like seen on the picture above be able to deliver similar results as the coffee shop equipment?
    I am thinking about buying this Rancilio equipment and would like to get some feedback.

  3. pj mcnally says:

    florian – yes! With care and attention, a good home set-up can rival a commercial product.

    Some of the subtleties that come from the really high-end kit will always elude the home user – resulting in the occasional ‘godshot’ where it all comes right, but which turns out to be unrepeatable – but the love and attention a home user can bring oes a long way towards equalling the shops.

    With a little attention, the home user can better 90% of the coffee stores out there. The final 10%, or 5%, or 1%, is a bit more tricky.

    And george – thanks for this write-up! It made me smile during my lunch break.

  4. george says:

    I wouldn’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves… I did have an amazing shot but there was no one deciding factor involved in that. Everything has to add up perfectly and it did. Commercial set ups are very different from home ones. That being said, I lack experience in the home machines department so you’ll just have to try it and see if it meets your needs.

  5. P Oshaugnessy says:

    Great writing. Great photos. It is true that the Godshot just appears and you have no control over it, and in the least expected places, despite the preparation, etc…

    Thanks so much for this post.


  6. Michael Tam says:

    Awesome post and great pictures.

    What a cool place to find an amazing coffee experience. Like @P_Oshaugnessy said, the Godshot just comes out of nowhere and almost cannot be reproduced when you try to.


  7. Jacob Orr says:

    I love seeing a Silvia standing up under pressure. When we started our first coffee shoppe we had two Silvia’s with a doser-less Rocky in between them. That set up worked well for a while but demand (thank God) led us to buying a 4 group Linea and a grinder up to the task. Nowadays you can buy a PID kit for the Silvia which solves a good bit of the water temperature issues. After that the only real variable is actual pressure. I think the Silvia can pull a really great shot with a great barista at the helm.

  8. Jennefer Fobbs says:

    Great post mate! Where

  9. Jimmy O says:

    It might be because one x factor of the baby boiler machines is they don’t have the backpressure release valve that commercial pumps have. I could be wrong here, but if you dial in a grind too fine, a gaggia or silvia will spike in pressure, but then once you get flow, the pressure at the pump normalizes? On commercial machines, when you set your group pressure to 8.75 bar, back pressure is released, so you don’t have this “dynamic” type of pressure… :P

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