The Vibrant Coffee Culture of Vietnam

In the bustling streets of Vietnam, amidst the chaotic mass of motorbikes and the aroma of street food stalls, you will always see crowds of people sitting and drinking coffee. From the iconic Vietnamese iced coffee to the decadent egg coffee, and the ubiquitous drip coffee, spending hours sitting sipping coffee is part of Vietnamese life.

the coffee cullture of vietnam cover MINThe Vibrant Coffee Culture of Vietnam

The history of coffee in Vietnam

The story of Vietnamese coffee culture dates back to the late 19th century when French colonists introduced coffee to Vietnam. Initially grown in the highlands of Da Lat and Buon Ma Thuot, coffee quickly became a staple crop, transforming Vietnam into one of the world’s leading coffee producers. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that coffee consumption became ingrained in Vietnamese culture, fuelled by a blend of French influence and indigenous traditions.

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5 Signature Vietnamese Coffee Drinks

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Vietnamese iced coffee can be served with or without condensed milk

A staple of Vietnamese coffee culture is Vietnamese iced coffee, or “ca phe sua da” is a delightful concoction that combines strong Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk and ice. Brewed using robusta beans, which are known for their bold flavour and high caffeine content, Vietnamese coffee is brewed slowly through a “phin” filter, resulting in a rich and intense brew. The addition of sweetened condensed milk lends a creamy sweetness to the coffee.

For those looking to savour the robust flavour of Vietnamese coffee without the sweetness of condensed milk, “ca phe den da” offers a more straightforward alternative. This black coffee is served over ice, allowing the full-bodied flavour of the coffee to shine through.

Drip Coffee

Enjoy watching your coffee drip through slowly with ca phe phin

Drip coffee, or “ca phe phin” is another popular brewing method throughout Vietnam that involves slowly dripping hot water through a metal filter filled with finely ground coffee. Be aware of the need to wait for the drip when ordering as it can take a while and can be most inconvenient when you are in a rush! This method produces a strong brew and is often served black, although it can also be enjoyed with condensed milk for a touch of sweetness.

Drip coffee can be found throughout Vietnam – both in coffee shops and street vendors.

Read more: 12+ Spots to Get BEST Banh Mi in Hanoi, Vietnam (Updated 2024)

Egg Coffee

Egg coffee is a Northern treat which should not be missed !Egg coffee is a Northern treat which should not be missed !

A unique creation that originated in Hanoi is egg coffee, or “ca phe trung” – a luxurious treat that sounds as though it will taste terrible but in fact is amazing! It is made by whisking egg yolks with condensed milk and Vietnamese coffee which changes it into a luxurious concoction that resembles a frothy custard. Served hot in a small cup, egg coffee is a popular drink in Hanoi and is as much a dessert as it is a beverage. Although common in Hanoi, it is hard to find egg coffee outside Hanoi and the surrounding areas, although it is only found in cafes in Hanoi rather than with street vendors.

The origins of egg coffee can be traced back to the 1940s when a shortage of milk prompted a creative coffee shop owner to experiment with egg yolks as a substitute. This is a form of coffee that should not be missed when in Hanoi.

Yoghurt Coffee

Yoghurt Coffee“cà phê sữa chua” is a unique twist on the traditional Vietnamese iced coffee

Yoghurt coffee, or “cà phê sữa chua” is a unique twist on the traditional Vietnamese iced coffee. It combines a strong cup of Vietnamese coffee using a phin filter or espresso machine which is then allowed to cool slightly before pouring it over a generous serving of sweetened yoghurt in a glass filled with ice. Like egg coffee, it may not sound the best but in fact is delicious!

Read more: 10+ BEST Pho in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Updated 2024)

Salted Coffee

“cà phê muối” it consists of robust Vietnamese coffee brewed using a phin filter

Another unusual coffee is salted coffee – which is rather like marmite – some love it whilst others hate it! Originating in the South coastal city of Nha Trang, salted coffee, or “cà phê muối” it consists of robust Vietnamese coffee brewed using a phin filter, combined with sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice, and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Many believe that salted coffee is very good for you – especially on very hot days as the salt acts as a natural electrolyte, helping to replenish lost minerals and restore hydration levels.

General Coffee

In addition to the coffees specific to Vietnam, you can also get the whole range of coffees that you would find in the West. The more fancy the café the wider the range of coffees you can buy – ranging from cappuccino and expresso to macchiato and Americano.

Main Chains of Coffee Shops

One of the most well-known chains is Trung Nguyen Coffee

While Vietnam boasts a rich tradition of street-side coffee shops and local cafes, it has also seen the rise of several major coffee chains which can be found in major towns and cities across the country. One of the most well-known chains is Trung Nguyen Coffee, which offers a wide range of coffee blends and products, including traditional Vietnamese coffee, espresso-based drinks, and flavoured drinks.

Another prominent chain is Highlands Coffee, which has gained popularity for its modern and stylish cafes, as well as its signature Vietnamese iced coffee and blended drinks. Other notable chains include The Coffee House, Cong Caphe, and Phuc Long Coffee & Tea.

Read more: 10 Most Famous Coffee Chains in Vietnam you should try once

Overall, Vietnamese coffee culture is a well-rooted part of Vietnamese culture – from the iconic Vietnamese iced coffee to the decadent indulgence of egg coffee and the ritual of drip coffee brewing, take the time to try them all – relaxing on the pavement sipping coffee and simply watching the world go by!

Author

Stephanie C. Mills is an innovative writer with a keen eye for detail. Having studied languages – through a degree in English as well as a year's focus on English as an additional language as part of an educational Master’s degree, she has an in-depth understanding of the need for flow. Her writings cover a wide range of perspectives from Christian writing to academic focus. Her speciality is academic writing and she has worked as both a textbook writer as well as an examination writer. In addition to writing, she has worked with proofreading the work of others, ensuring that the grammar is correct and that the language flows naturally.

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Author Details
Stephanie C. Mills is an innovative writer with a keen eye for detail. Having studied languages – through a degree in English as well as a year's focus on English as an additional language as part of an educational Master’s degree, she has an in-depth understanding of the need for flow. Her writings cover a wide range of perspectives from Christian writing to academic focus. Her speciality is academic writing and she has worked as both a textbook writer as well as an examination writer. In addition to writing, she has worked with proofreading the work of others, ensuring that the grammar is correct and that the language flows naturally.