Vietnamese Coffee is famous all over the world for tasting bold and rich with an intense flavor. Escaping the heat of Saigon by sitting down with colleagues or friends to drink iced coffee is a large part of Vietnamse culture. If you’re exploring Vietnam and want to sip on Vietnamese Coffee, I’m recommending that you sit down in a local cafe instead of purchasing from street side vendors. Cafe’s will hold a higher standard of quality for their coffee than a street vendor.
Is it safe to drink coffee in Vietnam? Yes, drinking coffee in Vietnam is extremely safe and million cups of coffee are being sold everyday. There is a black mark on the coffee industry in Vietnam though, as recently as 2018 there have been coffee suppliers caught using artificial ingredients in their ground coffee. I’m going to discuss what to be on the lookout for to avoid any suspicious or dangerous coffee drinks or beans.
Why is Vietnamese coffee so famous?
Vietnam is the second largest coffee producing country in the world, and coffee is one of the main drinks of Vietnamese people. With a number of popular coffee brands, local coffee shops, and numerous self-employed vendors on every corner, a cup of coffee is never far away when you are wandering around.
One of the most eye catching parts of coffee culture in Vietnam is Phin filter coffee. Locals leisurely enjoy their morning while waiting for coffee to drip through a filter, sipping it away, reading a newspaper, or gossiping. Phin filter coffee always occupies an important place in Vietnamese people’s hearts, it represents a lot of memories and traditions for Vietnamese.
What is the risk when drinking coffee in Vietnam?
When Vietnamese people don’t have time to sit back at a coffee shop, they run down to a cafe on the street and quickly grab a cup of coffee to take away. If you’re a person who enjoys discovering local culture, drinking coffee at the street vendors might be an interesting experience. However, the concern here is, where are you purchasing the coffee? In poorer and more rural areas of Vietnam, you may expose yourself to poor quality coffee that you may want to avoid. Sometimes the quality of the coffee may be covered up with the amount of Sweet Condensed milk that is being put into the coffee. With all of this being said, If you are staying in the main busy areas of places like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hoi An, and other major cities, everything should be okay.
Tips for Buying Coffee on the Street
- Don’t buy from small vendors who only serve to Tourists. They don’t care about repeat customers, so If they are not providing quality coffee, no one is going to be able to complain about it in a way that will warn other travelers.
- Follow the locals, if you see locals sitting and drinking coffee at a vendor, you will usually be okay.
- Avoid purchasing anything from street vendors if you are in poorer areas of Vietnam, meaning very rural areas that lack education or proper hygiene.
A few famous local coffee brands that you should give a try!
Trung Nguyen Coffee, Highlands Coffee, The Coffee House, Cong Ca Phe, Phuc Long Coffee & Tea are all very popular local coffee brands that I recommend you try for a safe cup of coffee. If you are hesitant about the hygiene standards of cafe vendors on the streets, drinks from the mentioned labels above are a good idea.
How to bring Vietnamese coffee home?
After you fall in love with Vietnamese Coffee, you might want to take some home for yourself or as a souevenir. The brands I mentioned above sell clean coffee beans and ground coffee that you can purchase. With ground coffee and a phin filter kit, you can easily make a cup of coffee Vietnamese style at home to impress everyone after your trip. These brands have distributed their products throughout major cities in the country, so that finding their stores when travelling here is pretty easy.
Some coffee styles that you should not miss!
Vietnamese usually drink 2 main types of coffee: iced black coffee called “ca phe den da”, and milk coffee called “ca phe sua da”. Iced black coffee consists of brewed coffee with strong and bitter flavor, same as expresso. Adding a little sugar would make it taste more delicious, but you can drink it without sugar. Milk coffee is a mix of black coffee and sweet condensed milk. The taste is sweet, silky, and strong.
Saigon and Hanoi locals have their own special coffee styles that you can not find anywhere else in the world. If you are a person who has a sweet tooth, “bac xiu” of Saigon is worthy of trying. With the main ingredients are milk and condensed milk, just a little of coffee, it is sweeter than “ca phe sua da” and has its own unique taste. In Hanoi, egg coffee called “ca phe trung” is a signature of Hanoi coffee culture. This is a cup combined of egg whites whipped with condensed milk, black coffee, and is drunk while still hot. Egg Coffee is almost like a dessert so it might make for a nice after lunch wake up treat.
If you want to drink one more Vietnamese cafe-style, coconut coffee is an option that should not be ignored. Coconut coffee is called “ca phe sua dua”, made of black coffee, condensed milk and coconut milk over ice. I recommend the best place to try it is Cong Ca Phe – one of the most popular local coffee labels in Vietnam.
One of the more serious risks that should concern you when drinking coffee in Vietnam is ice quality used in making coffee at street vendors, so I recommend you to drink it at the local shops. If you want to know more about safety tips, check out the article we wrote about
Vietnamese coffee culture with different styles of coffee from South to North will never leave you disappointed when giving it a try. You will be surprised and won’t regret it!