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Friday, August 5, 2016

The Coffee Culture in Hanoi

A hole-in-the-wall coffee shop with free Wifi filled to the brim with locals.
Cafe Dinh has great coffee at a great price.

Vietnam is the world's second largest exporter. It's a country that runs on coffee.

One of the first discoveries we made in Hanoi was the endless amount of coffee shops. Coffee is a big part of society here. It's for the young and old - the rich and poor - the creative and lame. Coffee is an all day affair. But, it's not just the quantity of coffee... it's the quality. Coffee in Hanoi is exceptional to what we've been drinking the past several years.

A typical Vietnamese coffee consists of espresso rich java mixed with a little condensed milk. It's delightful... served either hot in a ceramic cup or over ice cubes in a tall, clear glass.

But unlike Jim and Carolyne (who can eat sugary sweets without any love handle, muffin top or piggly-jiggly setbacks), I have to be very careful. I've found I dislike the plain black coffee here, which I parallel to drinking a thick, steeping wad of dark tobacco leaves spat out by an ogre with a bad case of gingivitis. It's terribly bitter. I contribute its popularity to the vast amount of cigarette smokers in Hanoi who have whacked out taste buds and don't realize they're drinking what amounts to the offal in a spittoon. I haven't dared to try the espresso, which might be fatal.

We try to sit upwind of the cigarettes, also very popular

Jim sitting on his bitty chair in a crowded coffee shop

Instead, I adore a beautiful latte. And the latte art is as divine as the drink itself. I've discovered beautiful lattes cost between $2 and $3. It's less sugar than the typical Vietnamese coffee, which we've found as cheap as 75 cents, but I prefer the milkiness of the latte and it has less sugar,

Coffee outlets selling beans, grounds
and accoutrements are popular

Anywhere in Hanoi, you might find weird coffee combos like:
Egg Coffee
Yogurt Coffee
Coconut Coffee
Sea Salt Coffee
Coffee with Lime

Carolyne, who drinks coffee now and then, can't handle the strength of the Vietnamese brews. Instead, she suffers through the endless smoothie drinks made with local fruits.

Looking miserable with a freshly blended strawberry smoothie


  1. Loved all your blogs lately! Sent links to Andy, Cathy, Martha, and others.

  2. Thank you - we're really enjoying the adventure!