9 ways to drink Vietnamese coffee

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Coffee is a major part of Vietnamese lifestyle. In Vietnam, people drink coffee at any time during the day. If you would like to ask a person out for a casual meetup, networking or even a date, just ask them “Đi Cà Phê “, which means “let’s go for a coffee”.

Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by a French Catholic priest, and soon won the hearts of the local people. Producing coffee was possible in Vietnam since the soil and weather in Vietnam were suitable for growing coffee. Unfortunately, a long period of suffering from war brought Vietnamese economy into shambles. Hence, only few coffee fields were left intact from the ravages of war.

Until 1986, the Đổi mới time (Economic Reform) in Vietnam, coffee industry developed rapidly and boomed again. Nowadays, there are many coffee farms across the country, especially along the central highlands such as Lam Dong, Dak Lak provinces. 

Vietnam is currently the second largest coffee producer in the world, and the largest producer of Robusta coffee, a type of coffee with low-acidity, extremely bitter taste, double the caffeine, and more antioxidants.

Vietnam is currently the second largest coffee producer in the world, and the largest producer of Robusta coffee

Vietnamese coffee culture

There is no limit on time and place for drinking coffee in Vietnam. Coffee shops have various styles and sizes. They can be as small as a stand on the street with just a few small chairs, where one of the chairs serves as your table, or fully fledged coffee houses with well designed themes. For example, in Ho Chi Minh city, known as a city that never sleeps, there are many street stands which open after the sunset and remain open throughout the night, meant for night owls spending their night out. If you need a quiet space for work, there are 24/7 coffee chains that will serve you anytime you want. There are also fully fledged coffee houses with well designed themes

For the Vietnamese, drinking coffee is a leisure activity; people can spend hours with a glass of coffee, either enjoying the drink alone or chit-chatting with friends. Therefore, most Vietnamese coffee shops are in big venues or large open spaces to accommodate a large amount of coffee fans. That is why Starbucks in Vietnam is no longer a take-away shop as in other countries, but a cozy cafeteria with a big, well-decorated venue for groups of people.

The foundation of Vietnamese coffee is the brewing process, which makes Vietnamese coffee unique. Vietnamese espresso is made with a small filter which is called “Phin”. The filter is small enough to prevent coffee grounds soaked in boiling water from passing through, but big enough so that coffee is filtered out drop by drop, making the coffee very strong. Therefore, brewing Vietnamese coffee also requires some patience.

9 ways to enjoy Vietnamese coffee

1- Vietnamese Black Coffee - Đen đá không đường

It looks like espresso, but Vietnamese black coffee is much stronger. People like to drink this kind of coffee with a big glass of ice to dilute the bitter taste.

2- Black Coffee With Sugar

Vietnamese black coffee has twice as much caffeine as traditional coffees. Therefore, people usually drink it with sugar to soften the taste.

3- Classic Vietnamese Coffee - Nâu Đá

In Vietnam, people call it brown coffee. The brown here doesn’t refer to the color of the coffee grounds, but the color of coffee after being mixed well with condensed milk. However, some experience is needed to make the mix delicious.

4- Coffee Milk- Bạc xỉu

For people who like coffee, but cannot drink too much caffeine, there is Bạc xỉu. This is a style of drink where a few drops of coffee are brewed into a full glass of iced milk. The amount of milk, sugar and coffee can be varied according to taste.

5- Coffee And Ice Tea

Drinking coffee with tea may seem like a weird way to enjoy coffee, but it is very popular in Vietnam. When going to the garden coffee shop (cafe sân vườn) or street coffee stand (cafe cóc), the sellers always serve coffee as well as a pot of tea. It is for customers to refresh from the strong taste of coffee after drinking it. 

6- Vietnamese Egg Coffee

The best place to have egg coffee is in Hanoi since egg coffee is a Hanoian invention. The Vietnamese egg coffee is made by whisking egg yolk with condensed milk for a few minutes until it turns into a fluffy, creamy, meringue-like cream. The egg fluff is served on top of black coffee. Nowadays, egg coffee has become very famous around the world and many people are looking for Vietnamese egg coffee recipes to make it at home.

7- Vietnamese Blended Coffee

Blended coffee is very popular among young people. In the 2010s, many student-owned startups were founded, and began to introduce blended coffees to the market. Various sweet ingredients, such as cookies, chocolate, caramel or hazelnut, are mixed into coffee to make it easier to drink.

Image: MokaBees 

8- Avocado Coffee Smoothie

Vietnamese like to add coffee into many foods and beverages. As many other mixtures, avocado with coffee is a good combination. The creaminess of avocado can balance the bitter taste of Vietnamese dark coffee.

Image: Coconutclound

9- Coffee With Coconut Cream - Cafe Cốt Dừa

In Vietnam, people are always creative with food and coffee is no exception. Plant milks have become more popular recently, with coconut milk being the favourite among young people. Coconut milk has a strong taste and a sweet smell, but less sugar which is why many people prefer it over condensed milk.

Interested in Vietnamese coffee
and Vietnamese cuisine?

Getting started with Vietnamese lifestyle, culture and tradition, learning to prepare Vietnamese food and drinks in the monthly cooking class series organized by BiziVietnam and check out Best Vietnamese restaurants in Helsinki

You might also be interested in reading about living and working in Vietnam

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