Here at Copper Cow Coffee we define “Vietnamese Coffee” in three ways:

Origin

Coffee Beans Grown in Vietnam

Brew

Strong + Dark

Milk

Served With Sweetened Condensed Milk

Vietnamese Coffee Bean Leaves

Vietnamese Coffee Production

Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world. Second to rice, coffee is Vietnam’s largest exported commodity and accounts for over 18% of global coffee exports. Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by the French, influencing Vietnamese coffee to be made typically as a dark or French roast. Vietnamese coffee production boomed after political and economic reforms in the 1990s, particularly within specialty coffee markets over the last 15 years.

Where is Vietnamese Coffee Grown

Coffee is typically grown in the temperate Central Highlands of the country, using basalt (volcanic) soil, which is perfect for growing coffee, cacao (which explains the mocha notes in the coffee) and pepper. Copper Cow Coffee sources its coffee from sustainable, organic farms in the scenic town of Dalat within this region.

Vietnam Coffee Fields
Vietnamese Coffee Beans by Copper Cow Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee Beans

Vietnam primarily grows robusta coffee, famous for its high caffeine content and bitter profile. Arabica coffee, most popular in the US specialty coffee market, continues to grow rapidly in production and export in Vietnam. You can now find many cafes (such as the Workshop and Shin Coffee) serving arabica and catimor blends. Vietnam Coffee Republic even offers single origin Arabica Vietnamese Coffee. Copper Cow Coffee carefully combines the signature robusta and arabica blends to give a smooth but authentic flavor.

Vietnamese Coffee Roasting

Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is known for having a dark roast. The roasting process often includes added flavors such as mocha, chicory, vanilla, butter or even whiskey. Copper Cow Coffee opts for an all-natural European-style roast, that lets the natural flavors of our specialty bean brew through.

Vietnamese Coffee Roasting
Traditional Vietnamese Phin for Brewing Coffee
Traditional Vietnamese Phin for Brewing Coffee

Brewing Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is traditionally brewed in a phin – a small metal cup that fits over a mug or cup– and brews incredibly slowly, but makes a strong and small coffee which resembles a thicker, more caffeinated espresso. The slow process drips well over ice, and can be seen on just about every street corner of metropolitan Vietnam – where coffee brewing and drinking are equally savored. Copper Cow Coffee’s portable pour over Vietnamese coffee offers a similar, slightly more American brew through its pairing with California sweetened condensed milk.

Trends in Vietnamese Coffee Brewing

Current Trends In Vietnamese Coffee Brewing

Vietnamese culture is catching the specialty coffee craze. Western-style brewing methods ranging from Chemex pour overs to cold brew are appearing in hip cafes in Saigon. Copper Cow Coffee’s Portable Pour Over Filters brew a cup somewhere between the Vietnamese phin and the pour over method made popular by Blue Bottle and Philz Coffee in the US.

Copper Cow Coffee Vietnamese Coffee
Copper Cow Coffee Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened Condensed milk, for the record, makes everything better. It’s a secret ingredient to make ice cream and a topping for many Asian and Latin American desserts. A strong cup of dark roasted Vietnamese coffee is perfectly balanced by sweetened condensed milk. Condensed milk doesn’t require refrigeration – as it is naturally preserved with sugar. Copper Cow Coffee’s California sweetened condensed milk packets are made with just milk and sugar – no artificial flavors or preservatives, its taste is noticeably different from other shelf-stable creamers.

Vietnamese Coffee Cup
Vietnamese Coffee Cafe Culture

Vietnamese Coffee Cafe Culture

In order to determine if Copper Cow Coffee had sourced the very best Vietnamese coffee, we tried every coffee shop we knew serving premium Saigon coffee. In Ho Chi Minh, every street has several coffee shops, and the streets themselves are peppered with coffee carts supplying the whole city with coffee all day long.

4 Best Coffee Shops In Saigon

I’m still amazed by the quality of coffee you can get in the city. There’s a pretty great variety of roasting, brewing, and branding of Vietnamese beans. Here are some of Copper Cow Coffee’s favorite places coming out of Vietnam with cutting edge brewing and roasting technologies and great beans to provide a completely unique Vietnamese Coffee experience.

4 Best Coffee Shops In Saigon

1

Vietnamese Coffee Republic

What to Order

Cold Brew – amazingly sooth with Vietnamese beans.

Why We Love It

This the best of east meets west for Vietnamese coffee. The architecture alone feels part Portland cafe and part historic Saigon. The beautiful, modern design overlayed large traditional Vietnamese doors and tiles you’ll want to drink your coffee in house if you have the time. The owner Phoung studied coffee farming in Indonesia, coffee brewing in Portland, and now roast his own beans above the hip cafe.

Neighborhood

There are two locations in the lively Japan alley in District 1. To-Go orders can be placed at the location along the main road, Thai Van Lung. Their larger location – our favorite, is tucked away a couple blocks in next to Saigon’s best Japanese ramen joints.

2

Workshop Coffee

What to Order

Order whatever the Vietnamese Coffee of the moment is, and have it brewed with a Chemex pour over, hot. Also, the Marou Mocha (which uses renowned Marou cocoa) is out of this world.

Why We Love It

This place feels like it’s straight out of San Francisco. On the menu they have a selection of imported and domestic coffees to choose from, with a handy illustrated menu for you to choose your brew. The other highlight is a great western food selection. I highly recommend the “passion cream cheese”, an amazing cream cheese cake topped with fresh passion fruit.

Neighborhood

Tucked away on the third floor of a non-descript entrance on Ngo Duk Ke in District 1.

3

Shin Coffee

What to Order

Hot Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk, served in the most beautiful golden phins.

Why We Love It

Shin coffee is quiet and intimate, complete with great seating and beautiful presentation. They take care in using beautiful, eclectic dishware.

Neighborhood

Shin Coffee is located in District 1.

4

Coffee House

What to Order

Iced coffee – topped with decorative coffee ice cubes.

Why We Love It

Great quality coffee and food, hip artistic decor, and being surrounded by groups of young Vietnamese students studying, laughing, and redefining what coffee culture is to Vietnam’s youngest coffee connoisseurs.

Neighborhood

The ubiquity of Coffee House might be it’s assest, too – with 30 locations and growing you can get dependable coffee, company, AC, and internet just about anywhere in Saigon and Hanoi too.