Vietnamese coffee’s reputation is well-known and well-deserved. The French brought coffee to this region in the 19th century and to this day, Vietnam has become the second-largest producer in the world after Brazil. The Central Highlands region–around six hours north of Ho Chi Minh City–is home to the farms and fields producing the many varieties of this magical and addictive bean that is stored in pantries worldwide. .
What makes this drink so distinctively good? Why, it’s the combination of its two main ingredients: the sweet condensed milk –which gives it that toothsome, creamy texture–and the way in which the coffee bean is brewed. The Robusta bean is the bean of choice in Vietnam, as it is cheaper and almost twice as strong as the Arabica bean, the more popularly consumed roast everywhere else in the world.
Coffee intake in Vietnam is quite simple. You order your coffee, take a seat and watch the coffee slowly drip through the phin–the famous aluminum steel filtering chamber hitched to the top of the glass. The first sip proves immediately that the sluggish brewing process is well-worth the wait.
Oh That sweet, Dreamy Brew
A perfect way to replenish your energy, a cup of Vietnamese coffee will keep you going for an entire day. Whether it’s served hot or iced, straight or with milk, Vietnamese coffee hits all the right notes and is an essential drink in the country. A cult following has blossomed around Vietnamese-style coffee and the local brew is starting to gain traction overseas.
What’s On The Menu
- Ca phe: plain coffee
- Ca phe da: straight coffee served with crushed ice
- Ca phe sua da: brewed coffee layered over sweetened condensed milk with crushed ice
- Ca phe trung: the famous Hanoian coffee topped with a dollop of fluffy meringue
Where to find coffee in Ho Chi Minh City ?
At any time of the day, you’ll be able to find mobile cafe stalls surrounded by tiny plastic stools. Have your coffee right away or take it on-the go, for sometimes less than a dollar. There are also fancier setups, providing both the ambiance on top of the promise of caffeine.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the locals are meticulous in the care and decoration of their cafes, turning them into a whole new subculture of design-minded institutions. Down each back alley and side street, hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. There are cafes to suit all tastes: for the night owls who enjoy being awake well into the evening, there are the cafes open 24/7. For more nostalgic souls, you can take a walk down memory lane at one of the vintage-oriented cafes crammed with wartime memorabilia and peeling wallpaper.