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Published: June 16th 2019
Hello Vietnam! Forget work. Drink coffee!
This is a funny postcard which I bought recently at a shop in Hanoi.
For a long time, the enjoyment of sipping a hot cup of coffee while watching the hustle and bustle of life on the busy streets has been popular for Vietnamese people. This habit has gradually become a part of culture, and is today a lifestyle which is known as “the coffee culture”.
This kind of drink originated from the Western World, brought by the French to Vietnam during colonial times. At first, this drink was only made for aristocrats, French officials, or the intellectual class in the cities. It then gradually became a popular drink among ordinary people.
Today, Vietnamese coffee is not only known for being one of the most produced in the world, but it has also created its own particular character through the way it is enjoyed by drinkers. Vietnamese people don’t consider coffee as a fast drink and a way to avoid sleepiness, but enjoy it as a way of life. Sitting next to their cup of coffee, they not only read newspapers, talk to their friends and business partners, but also think about life and people. With a cup of coffee, everyone seems calmer and more thoughtful. They think of times when they were
Coffee with yogurt, black rice and ice
I've tasted this kind of drink recently at AHA cafe in Hanoi.
happy or sad, or are carried back to other memories.
The coffee culture is also very diversified. Each region and age group have different drinking styles. For example, the southerners love to drink coffee with ice, while the northerners mainly use filters, or drink black coffee or brown coffee with condensed milk which is quite dense. Some people like ready-made coffee with ice and condensed milk, some prefer soluble coffee with plenty of milk, others simply love to watch coffee dripping through a filter. But above all, using coffee filters is the most preferred method as people feel relaxed when looking at coffee slowly percolating. That moment brings a special space to coffee drinkers and makes their time go by like a slowly running film.
Combining the habit of drinking coffee anytime, no matter morning, noon or night, and no matter what mood, with the Vietnamese character which is slow and moderate, brings to Vietnamese coffee its own way of enjoyment. The aroma from a cup of coffee, and the taste of life after every gulp are the things that should be remembered. It is similar to a culture, when things which remain after other things have been
lost are precious. It is obvious that the way the Vietnamese enjoy coffee has brought romance to this fast drink.
In Vietnam, the most popular place for growing coffee is Buôn Mê Thuột in the Central Highlands. Đà Lạt is also another location with good plantations, but it provides less productivity. Robusta is the more common ingredient in Vietnam, while Arabica is less popular in comparison to other countries. Because Robusta is bitter, Vietnamese people grind the beans and use filters, then mix coffee with condensed milk and put some ice into a glass to make a popular drink called “Cà phê sữa đá” (brown coffee). In Hanoi, they even mix egg yolk with coffee (Cà phê trứng), or yogurt and black rice, to create different kinds of coffee drinks.
There are some well-known coffee brand names in Vietnam like Trung Nguyên, Highlands Coffee, Cộng (AHA), and Starbucks. Not only in high-end shops, coffee is also sold by street vendors riding bicycles around the cities, or sold by small business people at the parks or right on the pavements.
One more famous coffee is Weasel coffee (Cà phê chồn). Weasels eat coffee beans then digest them, and
Coffee filter (black coffee, sugar and ice)
Robusta coffee powder is put into the filter, then we pour hot water into it. The dripping process takes a few minutes.
the fermented coffee beans are picked from their fecal matter. This coffee is special and quite rare in the world. It is also made in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, but in small quantities and is very expensive.
I am not a coffee drinker, but I always love its aroma. I have grown up in this coffee culture and feel proud of it.
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