First recognized as one of the biggest producers of coffee worldwide, Vietnam has begun to make a name for itself not just because of the quantity of coffee they produce but also its quality.
Vietnam finds itself in a unique position. There are little more than ten countries worldwide that can grow coffee. Most of them are located in the west. So naturally, most of the world’s coffee is grown on this side of the world. However, Vietnam has proved to be so efficient at growing coffee that half of the world’s coffee, give or take, comes from this country.
Vietnamese Coffee: facts
- Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the whole world. They account for almost half of the world’s coffee. Most of the coffee grown in Vietnam is of the robusta variety, which tends to be seen as lesser than the arabica variety. Vietnamese coffee growers disagree.
- “Vietnamese” coffee might not be Vietnamese. Vietnamese immigrants in America struggled to find coffee as good as the one they had in their homeland. Eventually, they found French-style coffee that resembled what they had at home. Louisiana dark roast, chicory-infused coffee is very close to Vietnamese coffee. This would be more accurately called Vietnamese-American coffee, as Vietnamese coffee isn’t dark roasted and does not have chicory.
- Vietnam is one of the most ambitious coffee sellers, with Trung Nguyen being something akin to Colombia’s Juan Valdez brand. Trung Nguyen ships fresh, authentic coffee worldwide and has stores in major cities like Tokyo and Singapore.
- Trung Nguyen owns two of the best tourist attractions for coffee lovers: a coffee village and a coffee museum.
- Cà phê đá, literally “iced coffee,” is a type of iced coffee endogenous to Vietnam. It originated in Vietnam’s rural areas, where farmers -notorious coffee lovers- used condensed milk to sweeten their coffee.
- This practice of making condensed milk emerged out of a desire to preserve milk, as farmers didn’t have a way to store it properly. Instead of using regular milk, they used the leftover: condensed milk. Add a couple of ice cubes, and you have a sweet, refreshing drink that people can’t get enough of!
Best Vietnam Coffee Brands
Flavor Profile: Chocolate Hint
Authentic Vietnamese coffee. And it comes in a can! Truly a different coffee experience – and definitely worth it.
Flavor Profile: Cacao, Pomelo, Almond, Smoked Caramel
Culi Robusta is the name of a special type of coffee bean that, despite being robusta, is extremely savory and fragrant. You’ve probably never tried something like this before, and you’ll be thankful when you do.
Flavor Profile: Sweet and Smoky
This premium coffee has one of the most alluring aromas. The intense flavor is a direct effect of the dark roast that brings to life a kind of flavor that is to die for.
Flavor Profile: Creamy and Sweet
Quite frankly, one of the best instant coffees you’ll ever try. And we don’t say this lightly – we’re not particularly huge fans of instant coffee. But this one gets a pass.
Flavor Profile: Chocolatey, Smooth
An incredible find in the land of robusta. This coffee feels like it takes over your senses when you drink it piping hot, as it’s so full of flavor. The opposite of mild!
When faced with the seemingly impossible task of choosing one coffee over the other when they all look equally good, we tend to break down. You’ll do any amount of chores and side tasks as long as you don’t have to choose.
Well, don’t you worry: we’ve made a handy buyer’s guide that will help you determine which coffee is the best for you.
Vietnamese coffee is not like other coffees. It’s unique because it’s robusta. Vietnamese robusta is particularly tasty and has an innate quality that is hard to come by in arabica: it has a balanced flavor.
Usually, arabica beans have to be blended with other beans to balance out their defects and achieve a good result. In other words, it won’t have any salient qualities like being overly bitter or having a particular flavor that is overpowering—or being too acidic. All of these are qualities that are desirable as long as they are balanced.
Luckily for us, there isn’t too much science in this: robusta beans are naturally balanced in their flavor, if not slightly more bitter than arabica beans.
Some coffees are better than others, but that doesn’t always correlate to price. Trung Nguyen, for example, is more than happy to ship worldwide for about $10 extra. Not bad— and it’s as authentic as it gets.
As long as you’re getting regular Vietnamese coffee beans, prices shouldn’t be too different. If you are getting some gourmet or fancy coffee and feel it’s worth the extra money, go for it. But, generally, Vietnamese coffees are all in the same price range.
Beans vs. Grounds
Vietnamese coffee is incredibly versatile. It is originally brewed using a Vietnamese coffee press, which looks like a stainless steel cross between a French press and a dripper. But you can enjoy it in any number of ways: this coffee is very balanced and will always produce good results, no matter the brewing method. This is probably one of the best things about Vietnamese coffee.
Going with that logic, it’s better to buy whole bean Vietnamese coffee, as you can then grind according to whatever brewing method you feel like it. It’s great to have a coffee that can adapt to any brewing style, instead of buying one type of blend for each brewing method you own.
Still, ground coffee is very convenient—ideal for V60 and Aeropress owners.
Vietnamese coffee is a rare example of how robusta coffee can be gourmet and, in some cases, taste better than arabica. We are excited to see the narrative be turned around on robusta coffee, as well as excited to see more delicious types of Vietnamese robusta beans pop up in the near future.
For now, we should be happy to be able to drink this delicious coffee!