Vietnam is the world’s number one producer of the Robusta coffee beans and the world’s second-biggest exporter. The coffee culture in Vietnam is so rich, as the Vietnamese enjoy and appreciate their coffee so much, creating special coffee-based drinks that you can’t find anywhere else. But is Vietnamese coffee stronger?
Compared to most types of coffee, yes Vietnamese coffee is stronger. This is because of the type of beans used in traditional Vietnamese coffee and the way Vietnamese coffee is made.
What is special about Vietnamese coffee? Keep on reading to find the answers to these questions.
Why is Coffee So Popular in Vietnam?
The Vietnamese coffee culture is as famous as the Japanese tea culture, which means that any traveler or first-time visitor will be interested in trying the famous Vietnamese coffee. In Vietnam, coffee is more than just a beverage, as it’s deep-rooted in Vietnamese history and way of life. Today, the Vietnamese coffee industry is a crucial part of the Vietnamese economy, affecting several aspects of life.
Author Note: Although Vietnam is well known for the production of the Robusta beans, Arabica beans are currently grown as well. These beans are of higher quality and are more favored among coffee lovers across the globe.
Moreover, Vietnam is currently a big producer of weasel coffee or Ca Phe Chon. The seeds of coffee berries are eaten and then defecated by the palm civet, creating coffee beans that are rich in flavor and aroma that are hugely favored by avid coffee lovers.
How Do Vietnamese Drink Coffee?
The Vietnamese like to enjoy their coffee in a unique way that differs from the rest of the world. The coffee is slowly roasted on low heat for at least 15 minutes, while in the rest of the world, people use machines to roast the coffee beans fast. Then the coffee is loaded into a filter and left to drip.
The Ca Phe Phin filter creates an intense flavor that is stronger than the one you can get from an electric brewer. It’s made of a small cup, a filter chamber, and a lid that also serves as a container to catch the delicious drippings of the aromatic coffee. This slow brewing method intensifies the coffee’s flavor, creating a strong and delicious drink full of bold flavors.
People in Vietnam love to drink their coffee with condensed milk or Ca Phe Nau or without milk, also known as Ca Phe Den. People usually drink hot coffee in winter to provide them with warmth. But iced black coffee is quite popular in summer and can be enjoyed in any coffee shop across the country.
The French introduced the tradition of adding condensed milk to Vietnamese coffee. When the French brought coffee to Vietnam, there was a shortage of fresh milk. As a result, they decided to add sweetened condensed milk to their coffee to add more flavor and sweetness. With time, this became the traditional way to enjoy coffee in Vietnam.
Is Vietnamese Coffee Stronger?
Yes, it is. Although Arabica beans are grown in selected locations, most of the beans currently grown in Vietnam are Robusta coffee beans. These beans were traditionally thought to be of inferior quality because they have a lingering taste and higher acidity.
However, Robusta beans have almost double the amount of caffeine that can be found in Arabica beans. This is the main reason why they’re added to coffee blends that are used by coffee shops or are offered for sale at the supermarket, as they enhance the caffeine content and taste of the more expensive Arabica beans.
Author Note: The beans are mainly grown in the highlands of Vietnam. The soil in this region is infused with rich nutrients that add a special taste and dimension to the coffee beans, adding more flavor and taste to every cup of coffee brewed.
The brewing method in Vietnam creates a stronger taste and bolder aroma compared to other brewing methods used in other parts of the world. Using stainless steel Phin filters guarantees that the coffee will retain its hot temperature, which makes it stronger than other types of coffee that you can enjoy in other parts of the world.
The long-brewing method where the coffee drips slowly allows for more uniform extraction from all the coffee beans, so the flavors are intensified as you finally get your cup of coffee filled. The brew is exceptionally stronger than a traditional espresso.
To some people, black coffee tastes and smells as strong as liquor because it’s infused with bold aromas that get heightened during the brewing and extraction processes. As a result, drinking Vietnamese black coffee shouldn’t be for the faint of heart.
How To Prepare Vietnamese Coffee
If you’re trying Vietnamese coffee for the first time, you might want to stick to the Ca Phe Nau. The condensed milk mixes beautifully with the rich coffee in a sweet and fragrant blend. It doesn’t affect the aroma of the coffee but makes it a little milder and tastier if you’re not into something too bold.
The Vietnamese also add other ingredients to enjoy their coffee. In some cases, egg yolk can be added to the coffee. It’s used instead of milk to create a creamy yet tasty drink. Although combining an egg with coffee might sound like a weird idea, Vietnamese egg coffee is actually delicious because it tastes creamy and rich.
Egg whites are also added to coffee. The egg whites are beaten and then added to the freshly brewed coffee, creating a creamy and rich drink with a fluffy texture. The richness of the eggs is nothing compared to milk that might be added in other countries.
In other cases, people add yogurt as a substitute for condensed milk. If condensed milk tastes too sweet for you, adding yogurt to your coffee might work because it adds the desired richness without the overpowering sweetness that doesn’t work for everyone.
Balancing the Strong Flavor
These ingredients tend to bring down the bitterness of the dark roasted beans, so the coffee won’t be too bitter or overpowering. At the same time, they don’t mask the flavors or affect the aroma of the coffee, so your beverage will taste delicious and will still provide the needed caffeine kick that you need.
In most cases, these ingredients are added to prepare iced coffee, creating a real treat that has a richer taste than just an ordinary beverage. Vietnam coffee can also be served hot, as the heat will cook the eggs slightly to prepare a delicious warm drink that might sound weird if you haven’t tried it before, but will definitely impress you.
Vietnamese Coffee Culture
Nowadays, there are modern coffee shops in Vietnam that offer traditional espresso and other coffee-based drinks that have been prepared just like other parts of the world. However, the Vietnamese are so proud of their traditional brewing and preparation methods, so the classical Vietnamese way of preparing and enjoying coffee is unlikely to get forgotten.
Top Tip: In Vietnam, watching the coffee drip slowly is an exquisite experience by itself. You need to find the right place and time to set up your coffee brewing machine and sit to enjoy the process itself before you indulge in a delicious coffee cup.
Although there are other ways to prepare coffee in Vietnam, the slow-drip method is the most popular one and the one that the locals and visitors enjoy so much. The Vietnamese coffee culture is about enjoying the delicious drink while contemplating the odors and tastes, as opposed to the western coffee culture, which is associated with running around and pushing forward.
Asian Coffee Culture
In some way, the Vietnamese coffee culture can be linked to the overall Asian culture of enjoying and indulging in life versus the western way of pushing through it. People in Vietnam and other parts of Asia view food and drinks as pleasures, not guilts, so enjoying a meal, or a drink can be an exceptionally rewarding experience. This is also why the Vietnamese pay so much attention to the brewing equipment and every ingredient they use to prepare their coffee.
The idea is to enjoy the drink rather than sip on it while doing something else. In Vietnam, people drink coffee in the morning, at noon, and in the evening, and coffee can be served hot or cold. You can find western-style cafés, where you can sit indoors or outdoors to enjoy your favorite drink, or you can order your coffee from a street-side stall. It’s quite common for the Vietnamese to gather around a corner and have a quick chat while drinking their coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is rich and strong as it’s made of the Robusta coffee beans that contain twice the amount of caffeine that can be found in Arabica coffee beans. The Vietnamese coffee culture focuses on enjoying the rich aroma and exceptional taste of the coffee, so in most cases, the slow brewing method is used to guarantee the uniform extraction of the beans until your cup is filled.
The Vietnamese add sweetened condensed milk, eggs, or yogurt to their coffee to make their strong coffee a little milder. However, you can also enjoy an intense and bold cup of black coffee to enjoy the caffeine kick if you can handle the exceptional taste.
Stay caffeinated friends!