How is Vietnamese Specialty Coffee Different from its Global Competitors?
The global coffee market is a competitive place, and where coffee comes from matters a lot.
Growing regions are a significant selling point in the market of almost specialty coffees. You will have personally seen a growing region like Brazil, Colombia or Ethiopia proudly displayed on a label or at a cafe.
Stating the region where a particular coffee is grown is a marketing strategy, but growing location does also have a big impact on the final taste of the coffee, much like with fine wines.
Different soil types and climates directly impact the final flavor of the coffee in your cup, and certain regions have a history of producing the very best coffees in the world.
Vietnam is up and coming in the specialty coffee scene, where it has historically been underrepresented. So what exactly makes coffee from Vietnam different from its global competitors?
Robusta vs Arabica
The first thing you need to understand about specialty coffee is the two major varieties grown globally: Robusta and Arabica.
You are likely most familiar with Arabica coffee, as this is the primary variety you drink on a day to day basis in pour-over or espresso-based drinks.
Arabica has a delicate, even fruity flavor and tends to be mild in acidity and bitterness. To grow successfully, these plants require rich soils and mild tropical temperatures.
On the other hand, Robusta beans are far less widely known. You will not see them advertised on cafe menus or packets in the supermarket, but they are all around us every day.
Robusta is a larger bean that has higher caffeine content, with correspondingly high acidity and bitterness. This bean has traditionally been used for industrial purposes, such as instant coffee or as a source of caffeine for different drinks.
The World's Premier Growing Regions
With the amount of coffee we drink every day, the relatively small number of growing regions is a little shocking!
Just a few countries really dominate the coffee trade in the ‘Bean Belt’ due to their ideal climates and growing conditions.
The Bean Belt
This term refers to the three primary growing regions in Central and South America, Africa and The Middle East, and Southeast Asia, where almost all coffee is commercially grown.
These regions feature tropical or subtropical climates in the equatorial zone and have growing regions with suitably high elevations, which reduces temperatures.
Each region has its own unique flavor profile that real coffee aficionados can distinguish.
Central and South America
The main coffee producing countries in this region are Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador. However, other countries in the area have very successful coffee industries that are less recognized.
Coffees from Central America tend to have medium acidity with a bright taste, where South American coffees are mild and creamy with chocolate undertones.
Africa and the Middle East
The most famous coffees in this region come from Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Tanzania. Representing 3% of global production, it is thought that up to 60% of Kenya’s foreign trade can be attributed to coffee!
Most coffee plants from this region originate from Kenya and share the same full-bodied and fragrant properties.
Yemeni coffee also holds a similar flavor profile, but the dry processing done in the country gives a unique twist to typical Kenyan Arabica.
Indonesia and Vietnam dominate the Southeast Asian coffee industry. Sumatra has an excellent reputation for high-quality Arabica.
Despite being the second-largest producer globally after Brazil, you do not often hear much talk of Vietnamese coffee.
Primarily, this is because Robusta is the most widely grown in the country. However, there are some high altitude micro-climates, especially in the Central Highlands, where high-quality Arabica is being produced.
What Makes Vietnamese Coffee from Belvico Different?
Vietnam is one of the largest coffee producers in the world by volume, yet it fails to register with most specialty coffee drinkers.
The first thing that makes Vietnamese coffee from Belvico unique is its direct trade model of production. Co-founded by the son of coffee farmers, Belvico has connections with farmers across Vietnam's Central Highland region.
Furthermore, the team at Belvico understands what it means to be a coffee producer in this region and want to help local farmers grow the best coffee and make a good profit at the same time.
Belvico knows the origin of every coffee that passes through its processing and roasting facility, and a fair price has been paid for every single bean.
High-Quality Robusta and Arabica
This direct contact with farmers gives Belvico a massive level of control over the growing process and allows them to select only the highest quality beans for their specialty coffee.
One of the biggest problems with Vietnamese coffee in the past was poor quality control. Producers simply didn’t need to concern themselves with quality, as they mainly sold in bulk for factory processing, such as instant coffee.
Belvico has worked directly with farmers to increase the quality of their Robusta and Arabica beans, ensuring they meet the standards necessary for specialty coffee.
Not only is this great for coffee lovers all over the world, but it also helps local farmers make a more sustainable living.
Modern Processing and Roasting
What truly sets Vietnamese coffee from Belvico apart from its competitors is the care and attention in the processing and roasting process.
Belvico controls the beans from the farm to the roaster, ensuring every care is taken to preserve the unique flavors of Vietnamese coffee along the way.
The beans are processed in carefully monitored greenhouses and then roasted using modern, computer-controlled roasters. All of this ensures a high-quality final product.
All of this combined gives Vietnamese coffee from Belvico a nuanced and delicate flavour that highlights the very best aspects of Vietnamese coffee.
The uniqueness of Vietnamese coffee is really something you need to try for yourself, so get out there and sample some of the fine Vietnamese coffees from Belvico for yourself today!