Milano Roasters: Guitar & Beans


Brian Turko’s passions for music and coffee merge, often when he’s roasting

This week I discovered another side of Milano Coffee Roasters. They were having an open house at their Eight Avenue and Columbia Street location (156 W 8th Ave, 604-879-4468).

This is where all the roasting and blending happens. (And where Milano has its roots…) Plus it’s a gem of an espresso bar, with a slide away wall and deck that looks across the street to Jonathon Rogers Park. Not to mention a sweet backdrop of downtown and the mountains.


Milano’s deck (with Canada Day balloons) enjoys a park-side setting

Even if the building itself is nothing special, Milano owners Brian and Linda Turko have worked a bit of silk purse magic on what was very much a 50s era pig’s ear. Also, the area is historically interesting, as it’s right around Brewery Creek, with the hub of Vancouver’s booming craft brew scene just a couple of blocks away.


An airy space and artful transformation of an old office

I dropped in with one of my closest coffee loving friends. After we sipped on affogato and “Turksickles” we absolutely geeked out with owner Brian Turko. He not only gave us an amazing tour but spent a lot of time discussing the ins and outs of equipment, challenges of sourcing and blending, and so on.  I really can’t do it justice here. But suffice to say, I continue to be amazed by the depth of his knowledge. Plus, his passion for coffee is irresistibly infectious.


Milano’s Brian Turko explains the finer points of sourcing and blending the right beans

Brian also made us, quite possibly, the most amazing espresso I’ve ever tasted, as he demonstrated the uniqueness of his Schärf machine.

It was quite ethereal; the liquid was at first almost imperceptible, with impossibly good crema. It took his (already award-winning) Futura blend to the next level.

The lead (iPhone) pic on this post is my favourite of the day. I guess you could say it’s a kind of a still-life that sums up Brian’s unbridled passions of coffee blending and guitar playing. Yes, that is one of his guitars. And it resides in the plant so that he can play while he’s waiting for the roasting to complete.

This is one cool spot. (Oh, we forgot to mention the sound system…).  And about to get even cooler by the sound of things, as Brian Turko begins to explore some pretty interesting cross-over alliances with other Italian inspired artisans.

And there’ll likely be a jazz connection. Stay tuned.


(You can read more about Milano in our previous post.)