When you travel to Vietnam, surely you will be surprise and wonder why a lot of Vietnamese young and old peoples sit in the coffee shops from the early morning until late night. Don’t they work? How do they drink coffee? Is there any difference between a coffee cup in Western and in Vietnam? Engage in their life, meet them, and discover their coffee culture, you will understand why.
Milk coffee prepared by a filter
The coffee tree is not original of Vietnam. Since 18th century, the Western missionaries imported to Vietnam and planted in a garden of a church in Kontum province (Central Highland), and in the end of 19th century this strange tree was planted in other plantations managed by French colonials.
From the beginning of the 20th century, coffee was the new popular and beloved drink from the towns spreading to the countryside. Until now coffee become second exported products of Vietnam, behind the rice which is always the subsistent food of Vietnamese people.
The Vietnamese people prefer Robusta coffee which is blacker and has more caffeine than Arabica coffee, perhaps it’s their habit. Almost exported coffees of Vietnam are Robusta category, because Robusta coffee tree is suitable to climate and soil of Vietnam. Only in Da Lat city with the altitude of 1.700m (and more) people can plant Arabica coffee trees. Nowadays the Saigoneses prefer mixing a little quantity of Arabica with Robusta to have new taste for their coffee cup. However, the Hanoians are not familiar with this new taste yet.
During your trips in Vietnam, surely you will be surprise and wonder why a lot of Vietnamese young and old people sit in the coffee shops from the early morning until late night. Of course coffee is a kind of beverage and they come into coffee shops to drink coffee which makes them awake, able to work efficiently. Vietnamese people do not only consider coffee like a drink, but also a beginning of a new relation, an intermediary of the encounters. The coffee shops become the social places, the preferred destinations for the appointments between the friends, the partners and the lovers.
Mr. Justin Trudeau - Canadian prime minister with Vietnamese coffee (Photo source: Zing.vn)
You will easily find out coffee shops everywhere in Vietnam, along the avenues or small streets, on the sidewalks or in the luxury hotels, at a crowded and bustling business center or in a calm and romantic corner. There, you can taste a cup of coffee and chat with your friends, or discuss with your partners about the business plan, or read newspapers or books, or be experienced in observing the life around you.
The Vietnamese people often use a filter (“phin” in Vietnamese language) to prepare a cup of coffee. They put grinded coffee flour in the filter, pour boiling water into the filter and wait for tasting. We can say that a coffee drinker is very patient. In waiting for each coffee water dropping, a coffee drinker can read the news or chat with others. People can drink without sugar, or add a spoon of sugar or milk into that coffee cup and taste little by little such as people taste wine. In recent years, we see many coffee shops in Saigon use the coffee maker machine imported from Italy or Germany or France to prepare the coffee cups with new tastes for their customers, but in Ha Noi people still prefers the coffee cup prepared by filter.
In Vietnamese language, a cup of coffee with sugar only is called “cà phê đen nóng” (means hot black coffee); a cup of coffee with sugar and ice is called “cà phê đá” or “cà phê đen đá” (means iced black coffee); a cup of coffee with milk is called “cà phê sữa nóng” (means hot milk coffee) and a cup of coffee with milk and ice is called “cà phê sữa đá” (means iced milk coffee).
Only with a cup of coffee in Vietnam, you can discover Vietnam in your way, can find out many things about the habits of Vietnamese peoples and the cultural difference between the regions. Along your tours in Vietnam, surely you will discover the interesting facts about culture, history, civilization and gastronomy of this amazing country.