VIETNAM: THE COUNTRY’S SPECIALTY COFFEE MOVEMENT IS TAKING OFF
Vietnam is not known for specialty coffee. Well, not yet. During our visit to the second largest coffee producing country in the world, we discovered an emerging specialty coffee movement. There is a growing close-knit, the highly entrepreneurial natured community that is keen to spread their passion for high-grade and carefully crafted coffee beans and bring Vietnamese coffee culture to the next level. They want to introduce Vietnamese people to something very exciting: the various rainbows of flavors one may discover in different coffee beans. It is their mission to contribute to the international specialty coffee culture by inviting the world to explore the unique flavors of high-quality Vietnamese coffee beans.
TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE COFFEE CULTURE
The coffee-drinking culture in Vietnam is vibrant and strong. Coffee shops are popular gathering places and there is an abundance of coffee shops on the side-walks in Vietnam. Each coffee shop has a unique style and design to make them special to their guests. Vietnamese people – we were explicitly told – do not hang out in bars. Rather, they meet their friends in coffee shops. They sit close together on small wooden or plastic stools and tables while chatting and sipping their coffee.
Traditionally, locals pour a highly concentrated shot of dark roasted coffee over sweetened condensed milk using a special single-serving metal filter cup and press. Grounded coffee is placed in the filter and tamped down with the press before the boiling water is poured through the metal cup. It is served hot or iced. Vietnamese coffee is famous for its sweetened condensed milk. Locals would think that you are crazy for drinking the coffee neat!
VIETNAMESE CULTURE, LIKE ALL OTHER CULTURES, IS VARIED AND DYNAMIC.
An exciting wave of specialty coffee culture is taking place across Vietnam. La Viet, a local roaster and coffee shop located in the mountain town of Da Lat, deserves special attention. Less than a year ago, Quang Tran and his wife converted an old warehouse space into a coffee-factory, which successfully combines a roaster, tasting lab, and the coffee shop.
The beans are roasted in small batches to highlight the unique varietal flavors, and then freshly shipped. It is their common goal to improve the coffee quality in Vietnam. La Viet aims to encourage Vietnamese people to think differently about coffee and introduce them to a completely new experience. They want to promote specialty coffee culture and highlight the unique flavors of Vietnamese high-quality coffee beans.