Coffee In Vietnam | Savoring Cultural Delights & Beyond

Vietnam is a sought-after travel destination known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes. One of its most fascinating aspects is the vibrant coffee culture deeply embedded in Vietnamese daily life. Coffee has become an essential part of social gatherings and hospitality, with coffee shops serving as popular meeting spots for both locals and tourists.

This article will delve into the captivating world of Vietnamese coffee and its various types, showcasing what makes Vietnam famous for its distinct coffee offerings. Understanding Vietnamese coffee culture will provide valuable insights into the nation’s history, traditions, and flavors!

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A Glimpse Into Vietnamese Coffee Culture

Vietnam’s coffee culture has a rich historical background, dating back to the French colonial era in the 19th century. Introduced by the French, coffee quickly became a beloved beverage among locals, and its popularity has only grown over the years.

Today, coffee is not just a drink, it plays a significant role in social gatherings and daily routines. Drinking coffee in Vietnam is a sociable pastime. Coffee shops serve as vibrant meeting spots for friends, families, locals, and tourists, fostering a strong sense of community and camaraderie.

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The traditional art of preparing and serving Vietnamese coffee is a fascinating experience in itself. The iconic Vietnamese iced coffee, known as “ca phe sua da,” is a must-try. It is made by combining strong drip coffee with sweetened condensed milk, resulting in a delightful blend of bitterness and sweetness. Another unique offering is “ca phe trung,” or egg coffee, where egg yolks, sugar, and condensed milk are whipped together to create a velvety and flavorful topping for a hot cup of coffee. These traditional methods, along with innovative variations like “ca phe cot dua” (coconut coffee) and customizable options for “ca phe den” (black coffee), exemplify the diversity and ingenuity of Vietnam coffee culture.

vietnamese coffee
Some popular coffee in Vietnam.

Understanding Coffee Bean Varieties In Vietnam

Vietnam’s coffee cultivation thrives in diverse regions, with the Central Highlands, like Daklak and Lam Dong, as the primary robusta coffee producers, while regions like Son La and Dien Bien cultivate arabica beans.

Robusta beans prevail in Vietnam’s coffee market, known for their strength and bold flavor, making them a staple in traditional Vietnamese coffee styles. Robusta has become the go-to coffee bean used for instant coffee and manufacturers of caffeinated products and energy drinks.

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arabica and robusta
The Difference Between Robusta and Arabica Beans

Learn about the diversified coffee culture of Vietnam, including its enjoyable experiences and distinctive preparation techniques. We’ll explore some of the most well-liked and well-known varieties of Vietnamese coffee here!

Traditional Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Ca Phe Sua Da)

One of the most iconic and refreshing choices, traditional Vietnamese iced coffee, or Ca Phe Sua Da, is a must-try for any coffee enthusiast. To prepare this delicious beverage, coarsely ground dark roasted robusta coffee beans are brewed using a drip filter (phin) directly over a glass filled with a layer of sweetened condensed milk. As the hot coffee drips down into the milk, it creates a perfect balance of intense coffee flavor and creamy sweetness. The coffee is then stirred with ice, resulting in a cold and invigorating drink, perfect for the warm Vietnamese climate.

ca phe sua da
One of the most iconic and refreshing choices, traditional Vietnamese iced coffee, is a must-try for any coffee enthusiast.

Egg Coffee (Ca Phe Trung)

Considered a true Vietnamese specialty, egg coffee, or Ca Phe Trung, offers a uniquely decadent and velvety experience. The preparation involves beating egg yolks with sugar and sweetened condensed milk to create a creamy, frothy mixture. Robusta coffee is brewed separately and poured into a cup, followed by the delicate egg mixture on top, creating a delightful contrast of textures for this creamy coffee. The result is a rich, smooth, and slightly sweet concoction reminiscent of a coffee-infused custard. Egg coffee is a beloved treat that showcases the creativity and inventiveness of Vietnamese coffee culture.

Related Article: 5 Best Cafes For Egg Coffee In Hanoi | The Taste Of Hanoi In A Cup

egg coffee in hanoi
Considered a true Vietnamese specialty, egg coffee, or Ca Phe Trung, offers a uniquely decadent and velvety experience. // Photo by Japeat Kys

Coconut Coffee (Ca Phe Cot Dua)

For those seeking a tropical twist to their coffee, Vietnamese coconut coffee, or Ca Phe Cot Dua, provides a delightful fusion of flavors. This unique creation combines Vietnamese robusta coffee with fresh milk, coconut milk, and condensed milk offering a harmonious blend of nutty and earthy undertones. The coffee is served over ice, creating a refreshing and energizing drink perfect for cooling down during hot days. Coconut coffee embodies the exotic essence of Vietnam and showcases the country’s ability to innovate while honoring its traditional coffee roots.

ca phe cot dua
For those seeking a tropical twist to their coffee, Vietnamese coconut coffee, or Ca Phe Cot Dua, provides a delightful fusion of flavors.

Iced Black Coffee (Ca Phe Den)

For purists who prefer a straightforward coffee experience, Ca Phe Den, or black coffee, is the way to go. Made simply with freshly brewed robusta coffee and water, this bold and robust drink highlights the true essence of Vietnamese coffee beans. The strength and richness of the coffee can be customized by adding sugar or condensed milk, allowing coffee enthusiasts to enjoy it according to their preference. Ca Phe Den is a staple choice for locals and a great way to savor the authentic flavors of Vietnam’s coffee culture.

iced black coffee
Made simply with freshly brewed robusta coffee and water, this bold and robust drink highlights the true essence of Vietnamese coffee beans. // Photo by Starbuck

Yoghurt Coffee

Other than the strange and curious egg coffee, Vietnamese yoghurt coffee, or yogurt coffee, is no less delicious. This refreshing drink features a blend of crushed ice, slightly sweetened creamy yogurt, and bold Vietnamese black coffee, creating a perfect remedy for hot days. While some may initially find the combination unusual, trying a glass of yoghurt coffee in Vietnam is a must. The harmonious fusion of flavors and textures offers a unique experience that is sure to captivate the taste buds and leave a lasting impression on coffee enthusiasts and adventurous travelers alike.

Yoghurt Coffee
Other than the strange and curious egg coffee, Vietnamese yoghurt coffee, or yogurt coffee, is no less delicious.

Coffee Farming In Vietnam

Coffee cultivation has deep roots in Vietnam and has emerged as a vital industry in the country. The favorable climate, fertile soil, and suitable altitude in certain regions create ideal conditions for coffee farming. While coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French in the 19th century, it wasn’t until the 20th century that coffee production took off, and it has since grown exponentially.

Vietnam’s coffee industry centers on Robusta coffee beans, flourishing in the tropical climate, constituting the majority of the country’s coffee production, and infusing Vietnamese coffee with its distinctive and robust flavor profile. The Central Highlands, particularly the provinces of Daklak and Lam Dong, are the main coffee-growing regions, producing a significant portion of the nation’s coffee.

Daklak

Daklak, located in the Central Highlands, is often referred to as the “capital of Vietnamese coffee.” This province boasts vast coffee plantations and is home to some of the country’s oldest and most traditional coffee farms. One prominent coffee farming destination in Daklak is Buon Me Thuoc, a charming town surrounded by rolling hills adorned with coffee plantations. Buon Me Thuoc offers a glimpse into the authentic and time-honored coffee cultivation techniques that have been passed down through generations of coffee farmers.

coffee farming in daklak
Coffee farming in Daklak // Photo by Phuong Hang

Lam Dong

Lam Dong, another prominent province in the Vietnam’s Central Highlands, is recognized for its stunning landscapes and flourishing coffee plantations. The picturesque hill town of Dalat in Lam Dong is a popular tourist destination and a great starting point for visitors interested in exploring the coffee farms of the region. The farms in Lam Dong often embrace sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, making them a prime destination for eco-conscious travelers.

Coffee farming in Daklak and Lam Dong not only showcases the agricultural expertise of Vietnamese farmers but also offers visitors a unique opportunity to connect with the heart of Vietnamese coffee culture. Understanding the journey from Vietnamese coffee beans bean to cup enriches the overall appreciation of the country’s beloved beverage and its impact on Vietnam’s economy and communities.

coffee in lam dong
Coffee harvesting in Lam Dong // Photo by Vo Tung

Must-Visit Coffee Farms

When exploring Vietnam’s coffee culture, visiting coffee farms provides a unique and immersive experience for travelers. Two prominent coffee farms worth considering are Aeroco Coffee and K’ho Coffee:

Aeroco Coffee

Nestled beside the serene Eakao Lake, 12km southeast of Buon Ma Thuot city in the Central Highlands, Aeroco Coffee farm offers a picturesque setting that complements the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. Passion, enthusiasm, and precision go into creating premium quality coffee at Aeroco Farm, utilizing sustainable processes throughout the production lifecycle. The coffee beans are hand-selected from organically grown coffee cherries, ensuring that only the finest and specialty coffee is produced.

Aeroco Coffee’s commitment to preserving the natural flavors of the coffee is evident in their fully enclosed end-to-end processes, from planting seeds to selective harvesting, processing, storage, roasting, and packaging. As a result, every cup of Aeroco Coffee is rich in flavor and boasts its own unique aroma. The farm’s impressive accolades, including Arabica Champion (in 2020 and 2022) and recognition at the Vietnam Amazing Cup, further underscore the dedication to producing exceptional coffee.

aeroco cafe
Aeroco Coffee – Bringing Vietnamese coffee to the world.

K’ho Coffee

K’ho Coffee, located on Langbiang Mountain in Dalat, Vietnam, is a cooperative of families dedicated to growing high-quality Arabica coffee. With a focus on environmentally friendly practices and direct trade, K’ho Coffee aims to create more value at the origin and support the local farming economy. The farm carefully follows each step of the coffee-making process, from harvest selection to roasting, to ensure the best possible quality.

Embracing sustainability, K’ho Coffee continuously plants and preserves old-world heirloom Arabica coffee varieties, passed down through generations, making it a unique destination for travelers seeking a responsible and authentic coffee experience in the heart of Vietnam!

Both Aeroco Coffee and K’ho Coffee offer distinctive experiences that showcase the dedication and innovation within Vietnam’s coffee farming community. A visit to these coffee farms not only allows travelers to savor the flavors of their exceptional brews but also to gain an appreciation for the sustainable practices and cultural significance of coffee in Vietnam.

K'Ho Coffee
K’ho Coffee, located on Langbiang Mountain in Dalat, is a cooperative of families dedicated to growing high-quality Arabica coffee.

Tips For A Delightful Vietnamese Coffee Experience

When trying to drink Vietnamese coffee, there are a few tips to enhance your coffee experience.

Firstly, be prepared for its strong and robust flavor, as Vietnamese coffee is typically brewed using robusta beans. If you prefer a milder taste, opt for Arabica coffee options.

Secondly, explore the various coffee types like traditional iced coffee, egg coffee, and coconut coffee to discover your favorite. Don’t hesitate to customize your coffee by adjusting sugar and milk levels to suit your taste.

Thirdly, cities like Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City boast an array of captivating, exquisitely designed specialty coffee havens. Don’t miss out on the chance to try some of the best coffee shops in these vibrant cities!

Lastly, venture into local coffee shops and interact with the barista to gain insights into the coffee culture and learn about different coffee names and options.

Let’s see how Ryan & Tor enjoyed various Vietnamese coffee experiences!

Best Coffee in Ha Noi, Vietnam | Hanoi Cafe Tour, Egg Coffee, Coconut Coffee and more! // Video by Ryan & Tor

Ready For Your Coffee In Vietnam?

In a nutshell, Vietnamese coffee culture offers a captivating journey into the heart of this nation. From the bustling coffee shops to the serene coffee farms in Daklak and Lam Dong, coffee has become an integral part of Vietnamese life.

Exploring local coffee shops and farm visits provide travelers with a deeper understanding of the rich social culture and sustainable practices behind Vietnam’s beloved beverage. Each cup of Vietnamese coffee carries a story, making this journey through flavors and traditions an authentic and unforgettable experience!

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Written by My Huynh
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“If not now then when” is my motto in life today. The desire to be a transformational leader in the future, to be able to convey the positive inspiration to the community through experiences from travel and use it as a “force for good”