Your guide to Vietnamese coffee

Your guide to Vietnamese coffee

To help you experience all that the rich and varied world of Vietnamese coffee has to offer, here is a comprehensive guide to coffee culture and the different types of cafés in Vietnam.

It is a lesser-known fact that Vietnam is the second largest coffee producing country in the
world. The history of the coffee bean in Vietnam is not a long one, having been introduced by the French in 1857. In recent years, the unique coffee culture of Vietnam has rapidly become a favourite subject among true coffee connoisseurs and café aficionados around the world.

Types of Cafés

The Street Café

Consisting of tiny chairs and tables made of colourful plastic haphazardly placed along a busy road with the occasional birdsong of a caged sparrow contributing to the relaxed ambiance. This is perhaps the most authentic place to enjoy a strong black Vietnamese drip coffee or a sweet iced coffee with condensed milk. It is also the ideal location to sit back and watch thecircus of everyday life unfold on the lively streets of Hanoi or Saigon.

The Traditional Café

An oasis of peace hidden among the winding alleyways of the city, the traditional Vietnamese café is a place of quiet contemplation. With subdued music, a sophisticated atmosphere and a loyal following of regulars, the traditional café was once in decline, but is now being embraced by the younger generation. This kind of café is the best place to enjoy the uniquely Vietnamese egg coffee.


The Modern Café

Vietnam is a country that wholeheartedly embraces modernity, while still preserving its own unique spirit and traditions. Influenced by trendy coffeehouses from New York to Tokyo, the modern Vietnamese café is a hip and trendy establishment. Serving everything from coconut cappuccinos to green tea lattes in usually a distinctly Asian and elegantly-designed ambiance.

Types of Coffee

Egg Coffee (cà phê trứng)

Originally from Hanoi, the egg coffee is a uniquely Vietnamese invention. Born out of necessity, the first egg coffee appeared in the 1940s when dairy products were scarce. The creamy texture and sweet flavour quickly became a hit and have since spread to many parts ofhe country, but is still considered a particularly northern delicacy. The coffee is made by whipping egg yolks and condensed milk together to create a frothy topping.


Iced Coffee (cà phê đá)

The weather in Vietnam can get quite hot, especially in the south, so most Vietnamese prefer their coffee served cold over ice. There are many varieties of iced coffee, such as iced coffee with condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá), or yogurt served with coffee (Cà phê yaourt), perfect for individuals with a strong sweet tooth. The ice also has the effect of diluting the sometimes overwhelmingly strong drip coffee.

Drip Coffee (cà phê phin)

This is the basis for all coffee in Vietnam: strong, bitter and flavourful coffee filtered directly into a cup through a French drip filter. True Vietnamese coffee lovers will tell you that waiting for the coffee to brew is part of the experience, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy the aroma. If you want to really experience the unique flavour of Vietnamese coffee, ask for a black coffee (cà phê đen).


Vietnamese Coffee Facts

  • The first coffee plant introduced to Vietnam was of the Arabica variety.
  • Today, most coffee grown in Vietnam is Robusta, a variety better suited to the
  • Vietnamese climate.
  • Most coffee produced in Vietnam is manufactured into instant coffee, but freshly ground



Further readings