Coffee and Vietnam - The notion that the two are very much linked has gradually become something familiar to a lot of travelers. Here we present five lesser known facts to help you learn some very interesting things about Vietnam and the East-meets-West culture that unfolds through this delicious drink.
1. The second largest coffee producer in the world
Thinking of coffee, many will probably think about Brazil, Colombia or even Ethiopia. But it's actually Vietnam that is the world's second largest coffee producer today. The market share of Vietnam magically jumped from 0.1% up to 20% in just 30 years. The industry now employs about 2.6 million people, with beans grown on half a million smallholdings of two to three acres each. However, while high-end coffee shops mainly buy Arabica coffee beans, Vietnam predominantly grows the Robusta bean which accounts for 90% of its coffee production.
2. The French brought coffee to Vietnam
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam during the French Colonial period, in the 19th century and coffee plantations soon followed, most of which are located on the steeped hills of Da Lat and around the Central Highlands. The microclimate of the South has succeeded in making perfect conditions for coffee plants to thrive, creating a taste unique to Vietnam.
3. Buon Me Thuot Highlands - the capital of coffee cultivation in Vietnam
The Central Highlands around Buon Ma Thuot city is the country's coffee capital. This city was built over a century ago when the French people were still in power in Vietnam and built their ruling fortress in this area. This is also the place that the concept of a café first came to Vietnam, and the region has been gradually becoming more famous for the excellent coffee and numerous cafes where you can find the original and tastiest coffee of Vietnam.
Nothing is easier than finding somewhere to enjoy drinking a cup of coffee in Buon Ma Thuot. All the streets of the city are lined with hundreds of little cafes in different architectural designs. The sweet smell of coffee seems to be floating in the air at every corner to create an energetic buzz on the streets.
Here, as well as sipping a special cup of coffee, you will also be able to walk through boundless green coffee hills which are always filled with sunshine and a breeze. Moreover, you will have the chance to learn a lot about coffee: its history, coffee drinking cultures, coffee harvesting and processing, preparation, and even the art of tasting.
4. Coffee has become a local habit and culture
Each region in Vietnam has its own coffee culture. Local people can either enjoy coffee in a luxury cafe setting or simply sit sipping a cup of coffee at a sidewalk coffee stall while watching life on the street passing by. Up north, enjoying a hot ‘brown coffee’ can help to dispel the cold of an early winter morning in Hanoi, while a cup of iced ‘brown coffee’ can cool down the noontime heat of Saigon in the south. Not only that, a cup of strong local espresso on a rainy afternoon in the peaceful Central Highlands of Ban Mê can make you feel like time has somehow been frozen.
5. Prepare coffee Vietnamese style
Unlike in many western countries, the way that Vietnamese people make and enjoy coffee is very different and diverse. Unique recipes for blending and processing different coffee beans have been researched and developed by generations of coffee lovers to create a particularly distinguished Vietnamese coffee style.
The most popular preparation process for coffee in Vietnam is by manually using a French drip filter to make a very dark and strong coffee called ‘Black coffee’. Local people often drink it just that way, as pure black coffee. Sometimes they mix it with coconut milk or sweetened condensed milk to make ‘Brown coffee’.
Coffee drinks are also prepared creatively in various ways to including the unusually delicious Egg coffee, refreshing coffee smoothies or even yoghurt coffee.
Coming to Vietnam, besides partaking of the well-known green tea, do not forget to try the local coffee to discover a memorable experience. For coffee tour suggestions, please contact us at email@example.com.