White Rabbit: Coffee as Art and Science

R Turner

According to Albert Einstein, "the greatest artists are scientists as well." If that's true, then White Rabbit Coffee Co is more than just a coffee company and café. It's a canvas and laboratory of enjoyment. Owner and graphic designer Amy Ferris and her baristas' attention to bean quality, meticulous grind, expert tamping, precise water temperatures and pressures, and bespoke minimal ceramics, topped off by friendly, conversational service, place White Rabbit at the very top of the coffee scene in Nanaimo.


White Rabbit opened its doors in January 2018 and quietly took coffee in Nanaimo to a new level. Located in the old train station at 321A Selby Street, the café lives in a previously vacant heritage space, expertly repurposed and renovated by co-owner Adrian Symons of A Woodworker.

Nanaimo Train Station ca. 1930

The clean, considered, minimal café space is airy and well-lit. I like coffee, so it's always espresso or Americano for a look at the crema, an unadulterated sip, the faint traces of grind at the bottom of the cup.

In short, my White Rabbit cup of joe rivalled Portland's Blue Bottle, San Francisco's Four Barrel, and Santa Cruz and L.A.'s Verve. Moreover, White Rabbit's well thought-out counter, open kitchen, and sunlit seating area facilitate a deeply satisfying coffee experience. Add to this a SW-facing outdoor patio with a view of Mt Benson, freight trains slowly chugging by, occasional real live rabbits nibble on the surrounding lawn, and you will probably find yourself quite naturally savoring, breathing in, and "enjoying your dang coffee".


There's more than just coffee with a view. Besides a full gamut coffee and tea menu, White Rabbit's gluten-free, vegan friendly kitchen serves up their own muesli with apple, sandwich, wrap, toast with ricotta and jam or avocado, biscotti, muffins, donuts(!), pecan bars, thumbprint, shortbread, and ginger molasses cookies, blondie brownies, and more, most of which you can also order on Nōwn iOS or Android apps, or White Rabbit's Big Cartel online store. White Rabbit's can also set you up to improve your at home coffee game with select beans, grinders, pour over kettles, coffee drippers, chemex, filters, aeropress, branded cups, etcetera, etcetera.

IG - Fresh out of the oven

White Rabbit Coffee Co is more than just a damn fine cup and tasty bite. Besides being a good place to sit and work, White Rabbit is also a community, holding regular arts and crafts and culinary workshops, a rotating art gallery and art openings, pop-up boutiques, and a Down the Rabbit Hole Spotify channel. Tune in. Pull up a chair or bench. Study their IG Brew Guide. And enjoy the Art and Science of coffee at White Rabbit Coffee Co.