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Why The Vietnamese Like Their Coffee So Much

Why The Vietnamese Like Their Coffee So Much

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Many countries have a coffee culture. Ethiopia for example, where the hot drink originated. Brazil, where even children drink a cup in the morning. And Europe of course, with new hipster coffee shops opening almost every day. But in Vietnam, coffee is more than just a beverage, it’s a way of life. The Vietnamese know how to make, how to drink and how to appreciate the liquid black gold and they really made coffee an integral part of their daily life.

It’s the French who brought coffee to Vietnam, during colonization, and obviously that influence still bears heavily. The numerous coffee plantations and cafes around the country wouldn’t be there without them. 97% of the plantations are producing the Robusta coffee beans, famous for its unique and bitter coffee taste. 

They’re easier to cultivate than the better-known Arabica beans and contain more than twice their amount of caffeine. So be careful what you wish for if you order your third cup!


1. Den – Strong, black coffee

The thing that makes Vietnamese coffee really stand out is the strong taste. This is because the beans are roasted on a low heat for fifteen minutes (in most countries they use machines) and then put into a filter. Slowly, the coffee starts to drip through. 

That’s obviously also why they call it drip coffee, or Ca Phe Phin, in Vietnamese.

Overall, Den Da (iced black coffee) is the most regular choice among locals. But in North Vietnam, when winter comes, Den Nong (hot coffee) is popular too. Beware though, Vietnamese coffee is - and we cannot emphasize this enough - very strong with an almost liquor-like flavor. Read as: for daredevils only.
Den – Strong, black coffee, Vietnam


2. Nau – Coffee with condensed milk

The French were used to having their coffee with a dash of milk, but fresh milk wasn’t always available in Vietnam in the late 19th century. Sweetened condensed milk proved itself be a good alternative. So good, that Nau became a tradition. 

It is made exactly the same as Den, using the dripping technique, just with the milk added to give it a more smooth and fragrant taste. Like Den, Nau can be drunk cold (Nau Da) or hot (Nau Nong).

If you’re a sweet tooth, or not to keen on drinking a lot of caffeine, Bac Xiu is your go-to option when it comes to Vietnamese coffee. Bac Tay Xui Phe, literally translated as ‘a white glass with a little amount of coffee’ originated in Ho Chi Minh City and is closest to what we know as a café latte. 

Don’t let the Vietnamese see you drink it though, Bac Xiu is for children only, according to the die-hards.
Nau – Coffee with condensed milk, Vietnam


3. New Styles

And then there’s the special varieties. Egg yolk coffee originated in Hanoi and actually just tastes like your regular cappuccino. 

You should also try coconut coffee, with coconut cream added to the condensed milk, and avocado coffee, making your Nau extra creamy and subtle. 

Hue is famous for its salt coffee and although it might sound like a crazy combination, the rich coffee and salty cream together create a caramel-like aftertaste. Delish!

Whatever you do when you go to Vietnam, we think we made it clear that you cannot get around trying some real Vietnamese coffee. And if you’re hooked, make sure to buy an original Vietnamese coffee press filter. 

You’ll easily find Robusta beans and condensed milk at home, but you really need the filter to get that authentic taste. Cheers!
Avocado Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City

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