A review of an independent coffee roaster, Propaganda Coffee in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. Notes are by an amateur coffee enthusiast and shoestring digital nomad. Descriptions are equal parts coffee and remote-work suitability. 

vancouver chinatown propaganda coffee

Cafe Overview:

Propaganda Coffee Chinatown Vancouver

Propaganda Coffee is in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown — Photo by Athena Lam

Located along Chinatown’s former main grocery street, Propaganda Coffee has been quietly serving some of Vancouver’s best Third Wave coffee.

For someone used to Tokyo-sized cafes, Propaganda is humongous. The cavernous space is washed with white walls and spaced out seating.

vancouver chinatown propaganda coffee

A mix of hip and minimalist — Photo by Athena Lam

Wi-Fi is available, so choose your most comfortable workspot, whether it’s by the windows, long-table or cart-sofa.

First, head over to the modern counter with its Modbar tap espresso machine. The simple menu is on the wall and the selection of beans is right of the cashier.

Propaganda Coffee Chinatown Vancouver

High ceilings and spread out seating sections for patrons with different tastes — Photo by Athena Lam

You know a cafe is serious about its beans when those are the only items on its single-page website. Propaganda is one of the few cafes in Vancouver that serves single-origin pour-over as well as espresso drinks.

vancouver chinatown propaganda coffee

West Coast-style double-shot default cappuccino — Photo by Athena Lam

I ordered a cappuccino, which they used Phil and Sebastian beans for. The extraction came with a punchy aromatic note that was different from the typical nutty espresso roast. The milk was perfectly frothed with a wet foam layer and milk mix.

My friend ordered a latte, which came as a generous 12 oz bowl-cup.

This is easily one of my top 5 cafes in Vancouver just for the coffee alone. The spacious seating and central location are both big bonuses.

Their Story / What I like About Them:

vancouver chinatown propaganda coffee

— Photo by Athena Lam

The 5 neat rows of coffee bags beside the cashier immediately sold me. Propaganda does not roast in-house, but they have excellent taste in their selection (or at least it matches mine). Bows & Arrows, one of the most respected roasters in BC, was one of the options. Elyssian Room I credit for bringing pour-over / French press culture to Vancouver about a decade ago. Timbertrain and Phil and Sebastian are also in my top 5 for consistent quality.

Propaganda Coffee Chinatown Vancouver

Coffee bean selection is rotated and teas are are also on offer — Photo by Athena Lam

Opened in early 2015, Propaganda seems to have shied away from too much publicity. The coffee grapevine tells me that William Wang and Winfield Yan are the owner-operators of this new establishment. Wang had trained at Caffe Artigiano and Prado Cafe on The Drive, both at one point owned by Canadian Barista Champion Sammy Piccolo.

Propaganda Coffee Chinatown Vancouver

Propaganda Coffee’s Modbar espresso machine — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: Espresso, pour-over. Rotating local bean selection
  • Food: Sandwiches, light pastries
  • Cafe Space: Open setting and spacious Seats approx 20 people.
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up, working
  • Workspace: Individual bar tables, coffee tables, long-table.
  • Remote Work: Wi-Fi and some plugs available
Address:   209 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T8
Website:   Website / Facebook
Hours (Daily): 8:00am -6:00pm

If you liked this post, check out my post Vancouver Coffee Rides: Gastown and East Van.

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