Vietnam has a coffee culture as unique and exciting as the European heavyweights of the coffee world.
In Vietnam, coffee production and culture have developed over time based on the Robusta bean’s unique attributes and the local setting.
Let’s take a look at some of the unique characteristics of Vietnamese coffee.
Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of Robusta beans, and the vast majority of these come from the stunning Central Highlands region.
Robusta does not have a high profile among coffee lovers, with Arabica holding pride of place in most speciality coffee stores worldwide.
The strong caffeine content of Robusta, at times double that of Arabica beans, gives a more bitter taste. However, there are some unique thick, nutty flavours, and these beans need to be roasted just right to get the best from them.
One of the first things you will notice when drinking Vietnamese coffee is how dark the roast is.
Those familiar with Western brewing styles for coffee are accustomed to light to medium roasted Arabica beans. This can make the switch to Vietnamese coffee a little jarring.
This has not been helped by many producers’ tendency to hide poor quality Robusta beans behind overly dark (or even burnt) roasts.
In the past, these mass-produced coffees have even added artificial flavours such as vanilla or chicory, which is unfortunate. High-quality Robusta beans don’t need to hide behind a dark roast or underhanded tricks.
There is an increasing number of boutique growers and roasters trying to rehabilitate Robusta beans’ reputation.
Belvico selects only the highest quality beans and roasts them at medium level to perfection, highlighting the Robusta beans’ beautiful natural flavours.
If you are buying ground Vietnamese coffee rather than beans, you can expect to receive a coarse grind.
Because most Vietnamese coffee is destined for use in traditional phin filters, the standard is a coarse grind similar to brown sugar, which works best for this style.
This coarser grind is designed to be the perfect balance between allowing the water to drip through at a reasonable rate without clogging the filter or causing a large amount of sediment in the bottom of the glass.
If you have other plans for your coffee, it is best to buy whole beans from a high-quality producer like Belvico. Then you can get the perfect grind for your specific needs.
Although there are brave souls who take their Vietnamese filter coffee black, it is most common to see it served with sweetened condensed milk.
This is a holdover from when fresh milk was not readily available. Even though you can easily find regular milk in modern Vietnam, sweetened condensed milk has endured primarily because it complements the Robusta beans’ intense flavours.
The milk’s sweetness balances out some of the bitterness from the high caffeine content and dark roasting techniques.
Despite this lengthy heritage of sweet coffee, more nuanced roasts and blends of Robusta beans from specialty producers such as Belvico are having an impact.
Many more coffee drinkers across Vietnam and the world are beginning to appreciate the unique flavours of these beans without masking them with sugar.
Try the Best of Vietnamese Coffee
If you are ready to try the future of Vietnamese coffee, then get your hands on some of Belvico’s expertly roasted beans.
These ethically sourced, single-origin beans have been selected for quality and roasted to perfection. With these beans, you will experience the very best of Vietnamese coffee.