Sharif and Jessica spent two years searching for a retail space before settling on a previous coffee shop on West Broadway to open Modus Coffee.
“It’s really tough to find a retail space. We found this spot, which used to be a cafe, so we didn’t have to deal with the electric and plumbing, which is the majority of the cost.” Sharif said. “We just had to change some of the aesthetics and the move in was really quick, we opened our doors within five weeks.”
Kudos to this hardworking duo looking to forge their way in the coffee roasting industry. Prior to opening Modus, Sharif and Jessica were doing coffee wholesale for three years. Finally, they had opened their doors last December, after a tedious search to find a space that aligned with their budget.
Simple shelves and a pleasing mix of pink and mint decorate the walls. The menu is printed onto the wall in an italicized font, and pastries from baker “Off on Wednesdays” pair well with the caffeine options.
We ordered a fruited espresso tonic and were surprised by the interesting taste. Imagine fizzy coffee mixed with the tanginess of a fruity spritzer.
To experience the range of fun the owners are having with their menu, we also had a specialty coffee and paired it with the pistachio Lemon Polenta Cake and Buttermilk Fruit Cake.
The cakes are crumbly yet moist, packed densely and subtly sweet - an act of constraint by the baker to balance texture with taste.
The pair sat down with us to chat and we asked why they decided to pursue their dream of having a coffee shop. Sharif says it was because he didn’t want to work for anyone anymore, and coffee is his passion, so naturally opening a cafe was the path he chose.
Prior to opening Modus cafe on West Broadway, they had already been roasting beans for three years, selling to wholesalers. As mentioned, the search for a turnkey solution to open the cafe took nearly two years, and the previous tenant in the space had been an Italian cafe, meaning they didn’t have to do many renovations to the space, saving the bulk of the cost. Sharif told us that they had done their own tiling for the space, which as he noted, was the toughest part of renovating the space for them. He points to the bench where guests were seated, patiently waiting for their coffee. “We have a friend who is a carpenter, and he had quickly put that together for us,” he said. “Everything else we just did ourselves, and we opened within five weeks of signing the lease.”
We learned from a third party source that the pair had utilized an online crowdfunding campaign to secure the initial capital to open the shop. There was also support from their wholesale customers to get them off the ground with the new retail space. We love how the pair didn’t let funding discourage them from opening their shop - where there’s a will there’s a way.
Not only did we get to enjoy premium coffee, we also learned a great deal from the pair about what sets premium coffee apart from commercial grade coffee, and the basics of how coffee is rated.
If you are looking to experience specialty coffee that is roasted evenly for accessibility to all types of brew methods, then we recommend making a stop at Modus Coffee on Broadway - the sweets will be the cherry on top.
112 W Broadway, Vancouver
Photos: Florence Leung