Guidebook Anyone for coffee? Yes, please


Anyone for coffee? Yes, please

You can’t ignore Vietnam’s coffee culture, says Izzy Pulido on Ecophiles. “To order a Vietnamese iced coffee, ask for a ‘café sua da.’ Ca phe means “exactly what you think it does – coffee,” notes The Hungry Suitcase, and sua means milk “and in this case it’s always sweetened, condensed milk … da is the ice.” And don’t even try to ask for decaf, advises Lonely Planet: “if you prefer your coffee mild, do as the Vietnamese do and order ca phe bac xiu, coffee with lots of extra condensed milk.

Coffee was introduced to Vietnam around 1857, writes Jonathan DeHart in The Diplomat, and it quickly became “a mainstay for the nation’s economy, with plantations sprouting up across the country.” For Vietnamese, coffee was “imbued with a sense of social decorum from the start, with different classes imbibing the drink of choice in different ways -- common laborers “drank coffee as a beverage (a weakly brewed coffee in a large glass) while the creative classes and intellectuals enjoy slow dripping their coffee through a Vietnamese phin (filter).” Vietnam is the world's second-largest coffee producer, reports The Economist, “but also one of the most obscure.” Unlike coffee exports from countries such as Brazil and Ethiopia, “Vietnamese beans are typically used in cheap instant Western coffee, which earns scant international commendation.”

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