Did you know Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world? It comes right after Brazil. Arabica and Robusta are the two primary coffee types, and Vietnam is known for growing Robusta coffee. Robusta is twice as high in caffeine as Arabica coffee, but still, it is used for brewing some delicious coffee beverages.
Unlike other coffee-growing countries, Vietnam doesn’t consider coffee as an export crop only. The native people of Vietnam consider coffee as an essential part of their lives. In Vietnam, you will find a coffee shop on every other corner of the street.
Vietnamese coffee does not only refer to the Robusta coffee beans grown in the country. It is the name of a distinct type of coffee brew that is popular throughout the world. It is made using a special dripper*. The native Vietnamese people call it the “Phin*.”
Exploring Vietnamese Coffee
Coffee production in Vietnam began in the colonial era. Back in the 1800s, when Vietnam was under French rule, farmers were first introduced to coffee as a profitable crop. Since then, Vietnamese farmers have grown coffee as an alternative to other local crops. During the Vietnam War, coffee production plummeted drastically.
In recent years, coffee production in Vietnam has been as high as rice production in the country. Vietnam now exports 30 Million bags of coffee each year. Most of its coffee harvest is Robusta beans. 97% of all its coffee production is Robusta coffee beans.
Robusta is not the first choice of many baristas for apparent reasons. It is bitter and has an acidic aftertaste. However, new blends that use both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans have grown in popularity in recent times. Many of these blends are used with condensed milk*.
If you ever visit Vietnam, there is a 100% chance your server will serve you coffee with condensed milk. It was first introduced to the Vietnamese people by the French colonists. They had to resort to using condensed milk as fresh milk was hard to come by in Vietnam. Since then, Condensed milk has been used in most South Asian desserts. Furthermore, your favorite ice cream is most probably made using condensed milk as well.
As mentioned earlier, Vietnamese Coffee is primarily prepared using a special dripper named “Phin.” It is different from the drippers we see in supermarkets. It has a perforated metal filter and a brewing chamber. There is an insert that helps to tamp the coffee grounds down. And then there is a cap that stores the heat.
Unlike other coffee drippers, the “Phin” brews coffee very slowly. But it is popular for brewing coffee that is much like a thick brew of Espresso.
Characteristics of Vietnamese Coffee
Robusta beans have many subcategories. And each of them ripens at different times of the year. This is why, when brewing coffee with Robusta beans, the beans are roasted for a longer time. This way, the roasters can dim down any major differences in the Robusta beans’ taste profile.
Vietnam is popular for its coffee shops. You will find one on every street corner. Most often, Vietnamese coffee is brewed with additives. Many baristas add butter, corn syrup, and soybean powder To thicken the brew.
If you ever visit Vietnam, you have to try Vietnamese Egg Coffee (cà phê trứng). It is served with an egg custard on top. The custard is made using egg yolks and cream. This particular type of coffee is specially served in the northern parts of Vietnam.
Then there is the coffee made using Yoghurt. Just like Condensed milk, the Yoghurt was introduced by the French to the native Vietnamese people. Since then, it has been incorporated into their native culinary recipes. You will find Yoghurt coffee being served in every coffee shop in Vietnam. They are usually served with fresh mango or boiled rice. No matter where you get it from, you will be amazed at how delicious it tastes.
If you prefer iced coffee, you should try Coconut milk coffee. This particular coffee beverage is popular among the young generation of Vietnam. Black coffee is mixed with condensed milk and coconut milk. Then the mix is blended with ice. This beverage is kind of a shake, mostly resembling a fruit smoothie.
Where to Taste the Best Coffee in Vietnam
Are you planning a trip to Vietnam as soon as the lockdown ends? If yes, here is a quick list of the best coffee shops in Vietnam.
- Trieu Viet Vuong(101 Hoang Cau, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam)
- This coffee shop is situated in the coffee stretch of Hanoi in the Hai Ba Trung District. There you will find many street-side shops as well as many fancy coffee shops. This coffee shop is three decades old and remains one of the popular hangout spots for Vietnamese youngsters.
- Cafe Giang (39 Nguyen Huu Huan)
- Café Giang is your spot if you want to try the local Vietnamese Egg coffee. It is located on the edge of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. They began serving egg coffee in the early 1940s.
- Cafe La Tamia (38/05 Tran Khac Chan)
- Along with serving some tasty coffee beverages, Cafe La Tamia also has an extensive collection of antique gramophones and books.
Despite the native Vietnamese coffee brewing methods still being used, the country has now embraced other popular coffee brewing methods worldwide, like the Chemex and Pour Overs. We hope we were able to expand your knowledge of Vietnamese coffee, and you will try it for yourself. If you do, leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.