The Coffee Connoisseur’s Tour of Vietnam: From Hanoi’s Egg Coffee to Saigon’s Iced Brew

The Coffee Connoisseur’s Tour of Vietnam: From Hanoi’s Egg Coffee to Saigon’s Iced Brew

Vietnam, often known for its lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history, is also home to a thriving coffee scene that draws aficionados from across the globe. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the cosmopolitan vibe of Saigon, Vietnam offers a unique coffee tour that is both diverse and deeply rooted in tradition. This article guides you through the must-try coffee experiences in Vietnam, showcasing the country’s innovative take on this global beverage.

Hanoi: The Birthplace of Egg Coffee

The Origins of Egg Coffee

Hanoi, the capital city, is the birthplace of the famed egg coffee (cà phê trứng). This signature drink was invented in the 1940s by Nguyen Van Giang, a bartender at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel. Due to a milk shortage during the French War, Giang whipped up an ingenious alternative using egg yolks, sugar, and robusta coffee. The result was a rich and creamy concoction that soon became a beloved local delicacy.

Where to Experience Egg Coffee

Giang Café: Visit the original creator’s café to savor an authentic egg coffee experience. Nestled in a narrow alley, Giang Café offers a cozy ambiance that takes you back in time.

Cafe Dinh: Another gem in Hanoi, Cafe Dinh offers panoramic views of Hoan Kiem Lake along with a delicious serving of egg coffee. The café’s vintage décor adds to the nostalgic charm.

Beyond Egg Coffee

While in Hanoi, don’t miss out on other local variations such as yogurt coffee (cà phê sữa chua) and coconut coffee (cà phê cốt dừa). Both offer unique blends of flavors that perfectly complement the robust Vietnamese coffee.

Central Vietnam: The Highlands of Coffee

Buon Ma Thuot: Vietnam’s Coffee Capital

Moving south to central Vietnam, Buon Ma Thuot in the Dak Lak province is often considered the coffee capital of Vietnam. The region’s fertile highlands produce an abundance of robusta beans, making it a hub for coffee enthusiasts.

Coffee Plantations and Tours

Trung Nguyen Coffee Village: This sprawling coffee village offers tours of plantations, giving visitors an in-depth understanding of the coffee-making process from bean to cup.

Ede Café: Experience traditional Ede culture along with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The Ede people have a long history of coffee cultivation and offer a unique perspective on its production.

Specialty Coffees

Buon Ma Thuot is also the perfect place to try weasel coffee (cà phê chồn), a luxurious and rare type of coffee made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of a weasel. The process is believed to enhance the coffee’s flavor, making it a unique and sought-after brew.

Saigon: A Modern Coffee Haven

The Evolution of Coffee Culture

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is a bustling metropolis where traditional Vietnamese coffee culture meets modern, innovative trends. The city’s vibrant café scene reflects its dynamic and ever-evolving nature.

Must-Visit Cafés

The Workshop: Known for its industrial-chic design, The Workshop specializes in various brewing methods, from siphon to French press. It’s a haven for those looking to explore the nuances of coffee flavors.

L’Usine: This concept store and café combines fashion, art, and coffee. It’s an excellent spot for enjoying a cup of coffee while soaking in the city’s creative energy.

Signature Drinks

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (cà phê sữa đá): A must-try in Saigon, this refreshing drink combines strong, dark roast coffee with sweetened condensed milk, served over ice. It’s the perfect way to cool down in the city’s tropical climate.

Coffee Martini: For those looking to mix their love of coffee with a bit of nightlife, many bars in Saigon offer coffee-based cocktails, with the Coffee Martini being a popular choice.

Coffee in Vietnamese Culture

Coffee in Vietnam is more than just a beverage; it’s a cultural experience. The way coffee is consumed—slowly, often with friends and family—reflects the Vietnamese way of life. Whether it’s the morning ritual of enjoying a strong cup of phin coffee (drip coffee) or the late-night gatherings over iced brews, coffee serves as a medium for connection and conversation.


What is Vietnamese coffee?

Vietnamese coffee is typically made from robusta beans, which are known for their strong flavor and high caffeine content. It is often brewed using a phin filter, a traditional Vietnamese drip filter that allows for a slow and concentrated brew.

How is egg coffee made?

Egg coffee is made by whipping egg yolks with sugar and condensed milk until they become frothy, then pouring this mixture over hot robusta coffee. The result is a creamy, rich drink with a unique flavor profile.

Where can I buy Vietnamese coffee beans?

Vietnamese coffee beans can be purchased at local markets, specialty coffee shops, and even online. Popular brands include Trung Nguyen and Highlands Coffee.

What is weasel coffee?

Weasel coffee, or cà phê chồn, is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by weasels. The beans undergo fermentation in the animal’s digestive system, which is believed to enhance the flavor. It is considered a luxury coffee and is quite expensive.

Is Vietnamese coffee strong?

Yes, Vietnamese coffee is generally strong and robust, especially when made from robusta beans. The brewing method using the phin filter also contributes to its intense flavor.

Can I make Vietnamese coffee at home?

Absolutely! All you need is a phin filter, Vietnamese coffee grounds, and sweetened condensed milk. Simply place the coffee grounds in the filter, pour hot water over them, and let it drip slowly. Once brewed, add sweetened condensed milk to taste.

Vietnam’s coffee culture offers a rich tapestry of flavors, traditions, and innovations that make it a must-visit destination for any coffee lover. From the historic streets of Hanoi to the bustling avenues of Saigon, each city offers its unique take on this beloved beverage. So pack your bags, bring your love for coffee, and embark on a caffeinated journey through Vietnam.

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