• Introduction to Vietnam’s Coffee Journey
  • Vietnam’s Unique Coffee Culture
  • Arabica vs. Robusta: Understanding the Beans
  • Savoring Vietnamese Coffee: A Guide to Varieties
    • Ca Phe Den
    • Ca Phe Sua Da
    • Ca Phe Trung
    • Ca Phe Dua
    • Sinh To Ca Phe
    • Ca Phe Sua Chua
    • Ca Phe Muoi
    • Ca Phe Chon
  • Conclusion
  • FAQ

A History of Pho: The Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Vietnam’s Coffee Culture: A Rich Blend of Tradition and Innovation

From its humble beginnings in 1857, when the French introduced the first coffee plant to Vietnam, the nation’s coffee production has flourished. Today, Vietnam stands proudly as the world’s second-largest coffee producer, trailing only Brazil.

Vietnam’s Unique Coffee Culture

In most parts of the world, coffee is synonymous with morning rituals. However, in Vietnam, coffee transcends time. It’s an all-day affair, a beverage to be savored at any hour. The streets are adorned with quaint coffee shops, each boasting its distinct charm, and vendors with their carts, offering a quick caffeine fix.

Imagine this: sidewalks brimming with people, from those in casual wear to business attire, all bonding over a cup of coffee. Some engage in animated conversations, while others sit solo, lost in their thoughts or simply observing the bustling traffic. It’s a sight that’s both peculiar and fascinating.

Arabica vs. Robusta: Understanding the Beans

Vietnam’s coffee landscape is dominated by Robusta beans. These beans, known for their bitterness, differ significantly from the globally favored Arabica beans. Robusta beans thrive at lower altitudes and yield more crops. They possess a higher caffeine content, making them twice as potent as Arabica beans, yet they are more affordable. Notably, Vietnam contributes a whopping 40% to the world’s Robusta coffee production.

Savoring Vietnamese Coffee: A Guide to Varieties

Ca Phe Den

For those who prefer their coffee bold and unsweetened, ca phe den is the ideal choice. The term ‘den’ translates to black. This drink is brewed using a traditional Vietnamese drip filter called a phin. The brewing might be a slow process, but the result is a perfect cup of piping hot coffee. Add ice, and you have ca phe den da, a refreshing cold black coffee.

Ca Phe Sua Da

A delightful blend of black coffee and condensed milk, this is a favorite among many. The sweetened condensed milk perfectly offsets the robustness of the coffee. The historical use of condensed milk dates back to wartime when fresh milk was scarce.

Ca Phe Trung

This unique concoction consists of coffee topped with a frothy layer of whipped chicken egg yolk, condensed milk, and sugar. The creamy texture is reminiscent of liquid tiramisu. This innovative drink was birthed in 1946 by Nguyen Giang, the founder of Hanoi’s renowned Cafe Giang.

 Ca Phe Dua

A tropical delight, this coffee variant blends drip coffee with condensed milk and coconut milk. It’s a strong yet sweet beverage, perfect for Vietnam’s warm climate.

Sinh To Ca Phe

A fusion of coffee and fruit smoothies, this drink offers a unique taste experience. Popular choices include banana, avocado, and mango.

Ca Phe Sua Chua

This variant combines the tanginess of yogurt with the bitterness of black coffee, creating a symphony of flavors.

Ca Phe Muoi

A dash of salt in ca phe sua da results in ca phe muoi. The salt accentuates the smoky notes of the coffee.

Ca Phe Chon

This luxury coffee is produced using beans that have been ingested and excreted by weasels. However, the method of production has sparked ethical concerns due to the inhumane treatment of the animals.

Final Thoughts on Vietnam’s Coffee Legacy

Vietnam’s coffee culture is a testament to the nation’s ability to blend tradition with innovation. While it’s essential to immerse oneself in new experiences, it’s equally crucial to be informed and make ethical choices. As you navigate Vietnam’s vibrant coffee scene, remember to savor each sip and cherish the stories behind every cup.


Q: When was coffee first introduced to Vietnam?

A: Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French.

Q: Which type of coffee bean is predominantly grown in Vietnam?

A: Robusta beans are the primary type of coffee bean grown in Vietnam.

Q: What is the significance of the phin filter in Vietnamese coffee?

A: The phin filter is a traditional Vietnamese drip filter used to brew coffee. It ensures a slow brewing process, resulting in a strong and flavorful cup of coffee.

Q: Why is condensed milk used in Vietnamese coffee instead of fresh milk?

A: During wartime, there was a scarcity of fresh milk, and storing it was challenging due to the lack of refrigeration. As a result, condensed milk, which has a longer shelf life, became a popular alternative.

Q: What is the story behind Ca Phe Trung or egg coffee?

A: During wartime, there was a scarcity of fresh milk, and storing it was challenging due to the lack of refrigeration. As a result, condensed milk, which has a longer shelf life, became a popular alternative.

Q: Why is Ca Phe Chon controversial?

A: Ca Phe Chon, also known as weasel coffee, involves feeding coffee berries to weasels and then processing the beans they excrete. The method of production has raised ethical concerns due to the potential inhumane treatment of the animals.

Q: How does adding salt to coffee affect its flavor?

A: Adding salt to coffee, as in Ca Phe Muoi, brings out the smoky flavors of the coffee and balances the sweetness of the condensed milk.


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