Posted in Kafevend Blog

Vietnamese coffee

Following our Vietnamese tea themed blog earlier this week, we've decided to stay in that part of the world for a look at the country's history with coffee. Coffee is big industry in Vietnam, and has served as a major powerhouse for global coffee production. But where did it all start?

French press

Unlike tea, coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French. No doubt attempting to compete with the huge amount of coffee produced by the Dutch colonies in the area, French coffee growers introduced trees to the Annam region in 1890, a stretch of mountains including land from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam soon became top dog when it came to coffee however, with a variety of microclimates in the growing regions introducing subtle changes to the beans grown in each. Vietnam's coffee production grew quickly, and in recent years it has been the top producer of coffee in Southeast Asia. As of 2014, it was the second biggest producer in the world just behind Brazil, with its neighbour Indonesia coming in at number four.

You want ice with that?

Vietnam has developed a prominent coffee culture in the last few years, focused around the big cities where many cafés can be found selling coffee. Vietnamese coffee is quite sweet, although that's not because of great spoonfuls of sugar. Delving backwards through time again, the French didn't have much access to regular milk, and so condensed milk was used as a replacement and soon became the norm. These days, condensed milk is still prevalent and helps to give Vietnamese coffee its own identity.

Along with the condensed milk, the way in which the Vietnamese brew their coffee is fairly unique. Similar to the idea of the espresso, as it's a single serve method, nevertheless the way it is actually made takes more of a cue from the French press- unsurprising, really. Your cup of coffee comes with a metal chamber which sits on top of the cup. A coarse grind is added and then it is clamped down with a perforated metal disc. The water is then poured on top and left to filter through. If served with milk, the milk goes in first with the coffee in on top- this way there are two layers, and it can be drank in two stages or stirred together; whichever you prefer! Another popular coffee found in Vietnam is Cà phê dá, meaning ice coffee. A regular coffee is made as mentioned above, but it is then stirred and poured over ice in a tall glass.

Cà Phê VN

Thankfully, if you were interested in trying some Vietnamese coffee there is a company here in the UK that has got you covered. Cà Phê VN, based in London, source, blend and roast coffee grown in the central highlands of Vietnam and bring it here for us to enjoy. Their website includes an online store with a few different blends, along with the unique phin filter so you can make a proper cup of Vietnamese coffee. They even have a guide telling you how to do it- go on and give it a try!


How to brew coffee
Trung Nguyen

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