Mention Vietnam to anyone, and the conversation might conjure up a few things – the beautiful scenery, the tragic war, the chaotic, thrilling big cities. But as someone who has spent much time traveling through Vietnam, there’s one thing for me that stands out as synonymous with the country, and that’s the burgeoning coffee culture that has taken hold.
It caught me off guard. In Thailand, where I’m based, only a handful of places could offer me something different to espresso-based drinks, like brewed coffee with apparatus such as a V60 or the siphon method. Yet in many places in Vietnam, and certainly in the trendier coffee shops, it was everywhere.
Once you take into account Vietnam’s history, it’s hardly surprising that coffee has caught on so well. Formerly a colony of France, a country renowned for it’s café lifestyle, it was the French who first introduced coffee to Vietnam in the mid-19th century. Yet in the years since, the Vietnamese have turned it into a drink of their own, with somewhat unusual but delicious ways of drinking the black stuff becoming mainstream.