A couple of years ago, a friend brought me back some coffee from Vietnam. I am something of a coffee aficionado and look forward to my morning cup of coffee. I enjoy the ritual of grinding the beans, waiting for the coffee to brew, favorite mug set out on the counter, and the aroma of fresh coffee to awake my senses in the morning. And then there is the second cup and the third… you see where I’m going with this, I really like my coffee! Well, quite simply, the coffee was delicious. Full of flavor with a hint of dark chocolate, and a caffeine kick to match the rich taste. My old favorite coffee no longer tasted of anything compared with the Vietnamese roast. I had to get my hands on more of that rich dark roast and asked another friend who was going to Vietnam to bring me back some. And so my love affair with Vietnamese coffee began.
So, what makes it taste so good? The Vietnamese favor a lower temperature and longer roasting process. Beans are generally roasted in butter oil, a mix of a small amount of sugar, oil, and a touch of vanilla or cacao. This technique creates a caramel-like coating, the beans end up with a thin hard shell, and a distinctive aroma and taste. French colonists introduced coffee to Vietnam; the Vietnamese have made it their own, become masters in the art of growing and roasting, and are now the second largest coffee producer in the world.
Coffee is traditionally brewed in individual portions using a phin which consists of a small cup, a filter chamber and a lid that also functions as somewhere to catch any drips of coffee when you have finished brewing. Served this way, it forces you to slow down and savor the experience. You literally watch the coffee being made drip by drip, which not only stokes your desire, but it also forces you to sit for a few minutes while the coffee is made. The classic slow drip method is a real treat and reminder to slow down, which is especially welcome in the all-encompassing hustle and bustle of life.
Whether you like your coffee the traditional Vietnamese way with condensed milk (over ice in the summer), over yogurt, or egg (think of a cross between Tiramisu and Creme Caramel), or you enjoy it black, it works beautifully in a stove top moka, or a plunger. There is even an animal friendly version of the famous Weasel coffee.
Now I don’t need to ask a friend to bring coffee back from Vietnam, because Vietnamese Coffee South Africa import authentic Vietnamese coffee. There is a reason why their tag line is “forget everything your taste buds think they know about coffee”.
Vietnam produces some of the best coffee in the world and now I can buy it here in South Africa.
See www.vietnamesecoffee.co.za for where to buy.