Strong, very aromatic and just as extraordinary – this is how coffee from Vietnam is often described. This is not only due to the bean grown in the central highlands of Vietnam. It is the preparation and ingredients that turn a coffee into an experience. Because real Vietnamese coffee has its own style.
Trend and adventure at the same time
If you think of the coffee bean, images from Brazil or perhaps Colombia usually conjure up in your head. Until now, only very few coffee drinkers thought of Vietnam. But Vietnam has developed into a great coffee country. It is now the world’s second largest exporter of coffee beans.
High-quality coffee is grown in the central highlands, in the region around Buon Ma Thuot. The climate there is ideal for Arabica and Robusta beans. The fertile soils, in combination with the perfect highland climate, allow less known varieties such as Catimor and Chari to be grown.
Coffee is Vietnam’s most important economic factor. Its cultivation has lifted many people out of poverty. 95% of the coffee plantations are owned by small businesses. These have come together to form cooperatives, which in turn are supported by Fair Trade organizations . As a rule, the money from coffee production always goes directly to the farmers.
What is so special about Vietnamese coffee?
In Vietnam, drinking coffee is not just a culture, it is also a ritual. The coffee scene has a special place in this former French colony. No, a cappuccino, latte macchiato or espresso you will not find there. No coffee-to-go either. It doesn’t matter if you are strolling through Hanoi, Saigon or a small town, you will find plenty of small and large cafés on every street. Large, air-conditioned coffee house chains have their place there, as well as small street cafes with plastic chairs. A wide variety of Vietnamese coffee is served everywhere. Whether with ice cream or yoghurt, whether with fruit or egg, every coffee has style and an unforgettable character. The coffee recipes are sometimes very adventurous.
Coffee in Vietnam is not only prepared individually, it is also very unique in its taste. The naturally very dark roasted and strongly aromatic coffee gets its loveliness by adding a very sugary condensed milk. Those who know its taste even say that once you have drunk a Vietnamese coffee, you will only understand what the taste of coffee means.
This is what you need to brew a Vietnamese coffee
Brewing Vietnamese coffee is also an impressive experience. Only the preparation and the selected bean mixture give this coffee its special style.
It is brewed in a traditional Vietnamese coffee filter, a Phin. The Phin consists of a coffee container, a sieve bowl, a small press and the lid. Another must is the heavily sweetened condensed milk. Normal milk or even sugar is an absolute no-go. Sweetened condensed milk was introduced into the coffee tradition in the 19th century. Originally it was an emergency solution because fresh milk was very scarce. A coffee culture developed from this emergency solution. You need a double-walled thermal glass so that the “making coffee” experience is also visible.
How do you make Vietnamese coffee?
The coffee is traditionally brewed in individual portions, with the Phin playing the main role. This way of making coffee almost forces you to find peace, to take things a little more slowly. You watch how the coffee fills the glass drop by drop, waiting for the drink is looking forward to enjoyment. In the hustle and bustle of the times, coffee becomes leisure.
That is how it goes:
- Place the drip filter with the sieve bowl, Phin, on the coffee glass or coffee cup and fill with coarsely ground coffee.
- Place the small press on the coffee, but do not press too hard.
Add boiling water.
- Close the filter with the lid and wait patiently until the coffee slowly drips into the glass. It takes about four to five minutes for the coffee to run through.
- You can decide for yourself whether you want to fill the condensed milk into the glass before the brewing process or when the coffee is ready.
This coffee is called “ca phe nau” (brown coffee) in the north of Vietnam and “ca phe sua” (white coffee) in the south.
Vietnamese coffee has even more to offer
Vietnam has more to offer when it comes to coffee beverages than just brown coffee or latte. The following variations should not be missed either.
- Iced coffee – Café sua da: Iced coffee is quick to make, but tastes excellent. This creamy iced coffee is drunk as a long drink in a large glass. Simply pour several ice cubes into the brown coffee, and a refreshing coffee drink is ready.
- Yoghurt coffee – sua chua ca phe
Yes, there is also this combination. In the most diverse variations. The yogurt coffee belongs more to the summer version of the Vietnamese coffee. Depending on the coffee house, the yoghurt-coffee combination is served differently – sometimes with fresh yoghurt, sometimes with frozen yoghurt. The finished coffee drink is correspondingly creamy. You can even choose a wide variety of toppings. They range from mango to fermented rice. Drip the black coffee over the mixture, stir and enjoy.
- Coffee with egg – ca phe trung
An airy and full-bodied foam coffee that is second to none. The egg is beaten very frothy. In combination with the sweetened condensed milk, you have the feeling of sipping a meringue coffee.
- Coffee smoothie – sinh to ca phe
This combination of fruits has also found its way into Vietnam. You could also say a smoothie with a touch of coffee. In Hano, for example, the combination of banana and avocado with coffee is very popular. In Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand, a tropical fruit, the sapote, fruit of the pear apple tree, provides a creamy, fruity variant.
Vietnamese coffee is not only strong and sweet, it also makes you feel like you are enjoying an adventure. A wide variety of variations make the gourmet’s heart beat faster and show that Vietnam as a “coffee country” should not be underestimated.