Coffee aficionados from around the world are often surprised to hear that Vietnam is one of the world’s greatest coffee-producing countries. Here’s all you need to know about coffee in Vietnam.
Coffee plants were originally introduced to Vietnam by French colonists in the 1850s. Over recent decades, changes in the way coffee collectives were organised has led to an explosion in coffee plantations across the country. As a result, Vietnam is now the second largest exporter of coffee in the world. Around three million Vietnamese people are employed in the coffee industry and 500,000 coffee smallholdings exist across the country.
The predominant coffee bean grown in Vietnam is the Robusta bean, which has more caffeine in it than the popular Arabica bean. Robusta coffee beans are known for their strong, full-bodied and earthy flavouring.
Although the Vietnamese people are big exporters of coffee, the surge in production of the humble coffee bean has changed the tastes of Vietnamese society too. Tea was previously the traditional hot drink of choice in Vietnam – influenced by neighbouring China – but ‘ca phe’ is a popular Vietnamese drink now too.
Ca phe is an iced, milky coffee drink. Finely ground, dark-roasted, Vietnamese-grown coffee is brewed in a French drip filter – a habit carried forward from those original French colonisers. The coffee is added to sweet, condensed milk and served chilled over ice. Since fresh milk was hard to come by in the early days of the French – and still can be in some remote areas of Vietnam today – condensed milk has become the favoured milk of choice for this Vietnamese recipe. As a result, coffee in Vietnam has its own distinctive style.
Another speciality for coffee in Vietnam hails from the city of Hanoi. Known as egg coffee, this drink is a combination of brewed coffee, chicken egg yolk and condensed milk, with a similar texture to eggnog. In other localities, coffee is even served drizzled on yoghurt or turned into smoothies along with fresh fruit and yoghurt.
Hanoi in particular has made a name for itself in Vietnam as the centre of the country’s café culture. The Hai Ba Trung area is said to have more cafés per square metre than anywhere else in Vietnam!
Our local guides at Mr Linh’s Adventures can point you in the direction of some of the best coffee shops in Vietnam, while we can also take you to visit some off-the-beaten-track coffee plantations across the country
. Coffee in Vietnam is just one amazing reason to visit our incredible country!