Written by Alex Nguyen
Did you know that Vietnamese coffee is the second largest coffee producer in the world? Essentially, Vietnamese coffee, people, and production are major contributors to the global coffee experience and coffee drinkers everywhere.
But why don’t more people recognize Vietnam’s contributions to global coffee culture? In a national survey, only 16% of respondents (in the United States) associated Vietnam with the production of coffee. Even more fascinating is the fact that the United States is the #2 importer of Vietnamese coffee beans -- which means that there are tons of Vietnamese coffee in the U.S., but perhaps consumers are unaware of what they’re drinking because companies aren’t transparent about the source of their coffee beans.
Since its introduction to Vietnam in the mid-19th century, coffee has made a significant impact in the country and globally as Vietnamese people developed their own coffee varietals, traditions, and culture. More recently, the rise of Vietnamese coffee globally has led to more conversation around the country and culture in general. What many know about Vietnamese coffee isn’t always true, though, and there remains so much to be learned.
Vietnamese coffee is not just the traditional drink preparation of phin brewed coffee with condensed milk, but rather the actual beans that grow and originate on Vietnamese soil. When we talk about Vietnamese coffee, we talk about land and we talk about terroir. As the leading producer of robusta beans since the late 1990s, Vietnam has made strides into the world of coffee covertly by shipping massive quantities of coffee to other countries for incorporation into mass-produced, commercial blends. Many do not know that, and many will also misjudge Vietnamese coffee as burnt, cheap, and overly bitter as a result, but true Vietnamese coffee is the opposite.
With the proliferation of its coffee domestically and globally, Vietnam has received some recognition in the international coffee scene, but true representation remains few and far between as long as lack of transparency continues. That 16% above should be 100%.
The advent of third wave and specialty coffee critically prioritized values of transparency and sustainability to highlight the origin and people behind each bean -- so why shouldn’t these values be applied to Vietnamese coffee beans as well? While Vietnamese coffee beans have technically had a presence in the market, its source has rarely been celebrated -- until now. Nguyen Coffee Supply is proud and excited to build upon the existing love for Vietnamese coffee flavors while bringing much overdue recognition to the people and places behind it.
As palettes continue to morph and consumers’ interest become increasingly diverse, Vietnamese coffee is entering a new era of love and rightfully deserved recognition. Markets are shifting and so are producers– Vietnamese coffee has already provided a classic drink recipe and a distinct flavor profile to the world, and will only continue to contribute to the international scene. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, perhaps more will realize Vietnam’s impact on coffee culture and the sheer level of production it actually has.
Try our organic, single origin Vietnamese coffee beans for yourself.
Learn how to make Vietnamese egg coffee here.
Read why phin brewed coffee is our favorite method here.