Vietnam Voted Among Top 10 Countries For Unique Coffee Culture

The Travel, the world's leading site for interesting travel tips, has listed Vietnam among its top 10 countries which boasts a unique coffee culture.
May 23, 2022 | 08:05

According to details given by the website, in many places, the local way of serving or consuming coffee is steeped in a vast array of rich cultures and traditions. Therefore, learning about the coffee culture of a country can serve to teach visitors about the place itself.

The Travel noted that in the nation, coffee isn’t just a drink as a way of starting the day, it’s something people enjoy in the morning, at noon, and even at night.

Photo: Asian Inspirations
Photo: Asian Inspirations

“Vietnam has some of the best coffee in the world and offers two unique beverages every traveler should try while visiting. Vietnamese iced coffee consists of medium or dark roast coffee over ice, combined with condensed milk. It’s the perfect refreshment for a hot day,” says the website.

It revealed that another unique coffee order that shouldn’t be overlooked when visiting the country is egg coffee.

“This delicious, creamy hot drink is made by combining egg yolk with condensed milk to create a frothy addition to a cup of coffee”, the website stressed.

Among the list the top 10 countries with unique coffee, cultures including Greece, Sweden, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Italy, France, Costa Rica, and Turkey.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee: History

Photo: Just A Pinch
Photo: Just A Pinch

Vietnamese iced coffee (Vietnamese: Ca Phe Da, literally "iced coffee") is a traditional Vietnamese coffee recipe.

At its simplest, Vietnamese iced coffee is made using medium to coarse ground dark roast Vietnamese-grown coffee with a small metal Vietnamese drip filter (Phin). After the hot water is added, the drip filter releases a drop of hot coffee slowly into a cup. This finished cup of hot coffee is then quickly poured into a glass full of ice making the finished Vietnamese iced coffee.

A popular way to drink Vietnamese coffee is Ca Phe Sua Da, which is Vietnamese iced coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. This is done by putting two to three teaspoons or more of sweetened condensed milk into the cup prior to the drip filter process.

Photo: FOOD is four letter word
Photo: FOOD is four letter word

The first introduction of coffee was documented in 1857 when a French Catholic priest brought an Arabica tree to northern Vietnam with hopes of establishing a small-scale venture. Though successful in his endeavors, it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the Robusta bean made its way to the country’s central highlands, where the region’s climate and soil provide optimal coffee-growing conditions. Over the coming decades, the industry would boom as plantations sprung up all over Dak Lak province and its surrounding areas.

But what really propelled Vietnam onto the world stage of coffee were the ‘Doi Moi’ economic reforms of 1987, which greatly opened the country for trade. Shortly after, Vietnam would overtake Columbia to become the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee.

Today, Vietnam accounts for 20% of the world’s total production of coffee (and 40% of the world’s Robusta beans), exporting over 1,650,000 metric tons each year. And an estimated 3 million citizens depend on the agricultural coffee industry — not including the employees of the tens of thousands of coffee shops nationwide.

Making Vietnamese drip coffee

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Though waiting for the dripping process requires a bit of patience, making Vietnamese coffee is relatively straightforward and can be made anywhere in the world provided one can find the ingredients.

To brew ca phe sua da (iced coffee with milk) at home, you will need:

  • Vietnamese coffee grounds: The two most prevalent brands are Trung Nguyen and Café Du Mond. Both can be found in Asian supermarkets as well as online retailers such as Amazon.
  • Sweetened, condensed milk: Any canned brand from the grocery store will do
  • Ice
  • Vietnamese coffee press (phin): Like coffee grounds, coffee presses are relatively inexpensive and can be found online or in an Asian market. They come in four pieces (plate, cup, press, lid), are reusable and are machine washable.

For a single serving, prepare:

  • Coffee grounds: 2 tablespoons
  • Condensed milk: 1-2 tablespoons, to taste
  • Boiling water: 150-250 ml (6-8 oz.)
  • Glass of ice


1. Pour the condensed milk into the bottom of the glass. You may start with a smaller amount (1 Tbsp.) and add more later to adjust sweetness levels.

2. Place the plate/lower filter over the rim of the glass. Then put the cup/upper filter on top of the plate.

3. Put coffee grounds into the filter. Gently place (or screw) the round press on top of the grounds.

4. Pour just a small amount of boiling water into the filter. This allows the beans to expand and release C02. After about 30 seconds, fill the filter to the top with hot water, cover with lid, and wait approximately 5 minutes or until water stops dripping. (If you wish to dilute the coffee a bit more, you can add more water to the filter and repeat the dripping process)

5. Remove filter and stir mixture with a spoon.

6. Pour over ice and serve.

What makes Vietnamese iced coffee so special?

Photo: Simply ceecee
Photo: Simply ceecee

As you can see, each of the three components of traditional Vietnamese iced coffee has its own history and place within Vietnamese coffee culture. Every one of them is complex and has its own history, and together they have a shared history that is intertwined with the history of the country.

A true Vietnamese iced coffee will always have the three things that make it Vietnamese: coffee made using a phin filter, robusta beans, and condensed milk to sweeten it. Using other brewing methods, other types of coffee or even any other sort of creamer or sweetener is totally acceptable… but it doesn’t make true Vietnamese iced coffee, but rather a “Vietnamese-inspired” iced coffee at best.

This is a coffee drink and should not be conflated with Vietnamese coffee overall, which means coffee that is grown and produced in Vietnam. Ultimately, you don’t need all three to enjoy Vietnamese coffee at all– you can have it black or in a variety of other brew methods of your choosing!

Other Countries With Unique Coffee Culture, According to The Travel

1. Greece

Photo: Poupadou
Photo: Poupadou

Greece has incredible coffee culture and offers a unique taste for those who like to drink their caffeinated beverages hot or cold. Traditional Greek coffee is made with a strong brew using finely ground beans. The drink is unfiltered, so the grounds are at the bottom of the cup and there is a nice layer of foam on top.

For those who prefer an iced drink, the Greek frappé (also called a Nescafé frappé) is a must-try. This cold drink contains milk, sugar, ice, and instant coffee.

2. Sweden

Photo: Adobe Stock
Photo: Adobe Stock

Sweden is an excellent destination for coffee enthusiasts, especially since Swedes have one of the highest levels of coffee consumption per capita in the world. Swedish people enjoy a practice called Fika, which refers to a coffee break where people gather and socialize over a drink and a bite to eat.

3. Mexico

Photo: Blog Xcaret
Photo: Blog Xcaret

Mexican coffee culture is not as widely known as some other nations’ traditions, but the taste is unlike any other coffee in the world. Mexicans enjoy the traditional beverage called Café de Olla, which is spiced coffee. It’s prepared in a clay pot, which is where the name comes from.

4. Indonesia

Photo: The Jakarta Post
Photo: The Jakarta Post

Indonesia has a true one-of-a-kind coffee experience for travelers to try when visiting Southeast Asia. Kopi Luwak refers to coffee made from partially digested beans that are passed by a civet cat. Among tourists, it has earned the nickname “poop coffee”.

The civet cat eats the coffee cherries and doesn’t eat the bean, so it poops the bean back out with an enhanced flavor.

5. Australia

Photo: Eater
Photo: Eater

The land down under has high standards for a cup of coffee, so travelers must see what the fuss is about when visiting. Australians have an abundance of locally-owned coffee shops to choose from rather than flocking to massive chains like Starbucks, as Americans commonly do. Instead, Australians enjoy specialty roasts in smaller sizes which are typically stronger than coffee in America. They also add fewer sweeteners.

6. Italy

Photo: Italy Foodies
Photo: Italy Foodies

Italy is integral to the world coffee scene. It’s the birthplace of the cappuccino and the world-famous espresso came from Milan. In many ways, Italy is the coffee capital of the world so coffee connoisseurs visiting this beautiful country should get a taste of these beverages in their homeland.

When ordering a coffee in Italy, espresso is the default. If you ask for a cup of coffee, you’ll receive an espresso shot. People typically drink these right at the counter, like a bar, rather than taking a table. For breakfast in Italy, order a cappuccino and a croissant for an authentic experience.

7. France

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

France might not be on many people’s radar as a country with exceptional coffee culture, but it should be. The French are responsible for the delightful drink known as Café au lait, and every traveler should order this once while visiting Paris.

8. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee beans, but that’s not the only advantage the country has in the coffee department. Costa Ricans enjoy a traditional method of brewing coffee called a chorreador. The chorreador consists of a sock-like bag that hangs on a wooden stand and allows hot water to pour through to a cup while filtering out the grounds. The classic method of brewing Costa Rican coffee is reminiscent of the North American “pour-over” coffee that has become popular in recent years.

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