Vietnamese coffee has a reputation for being strong, and when using traditional methods and roast profiles, it definitely is.
However, many third-wave coffee shops and specialty roasters have begun to take a different approach to Vietnamese coffee, where more nuanced flavors are highlighted.
To understand how Vietnamese coffee is developing, we should first look at why coffee roasted and brewed in the traditional way results in such a strong cup of coffee.
Traditional Vietnamese Coffee
The reputation for strong Vietnamese coffee can be attributed primarily to the traditional way of brewing the coffee and the type of coffee used.
Traditional Vietnamese filters use a relatively high ratio of coffee to water for a non-milk drink, with 1:8 typically used. The yield for a single cup is around 50-60ml, which puts it in the same size category as a double espresso.
This intense coffee is often taken black and completely undiluted, poured over ice, resulting in a minor amount of dilution, or with milk/condensed milk, which introduces sweetness and hides nuanced flavours.
Such a small coffee will always have some kick to it, but what adds another layer is the Robusta beans that are traditionally used.
These larger coffee beans have a noticeably higher caffeine content and are heavily roasted for the traditional style of brewing. This develops rich flavors, while the additional caffeine adds more bitterness.
If you think Vietnamese coffee is too strong for you, don’t despair. There is a new wave of coffee culture in Vietnam trying to overturn these perceptions.
A New Wave of Vietnamese Coffee
As third-wave coffee culture swept the world, it did not leave Vietnam untouched. Although many cafes and coffee roasters stick to the traditional method, many are experimenting with and modifying the old ways.
Specialty roasters like Belvico work directly with farmers in the Central Highlands region to produce high-quality Arabica coffee beans.
Arabica coffee is most widely used in specialty coffee and is prized for its more fruity flavour profile and lower bitterness.
Using medium roasted Arabica beans in a Vietnamese style coffee takes some strength out of the final brew and gives a more subtle taste overall.
Belvico has also improved the production and roasting process for Robusta beans, bringing a much higher quality Robusta coffee to market.
Even with new types of high-quality beans, Vietnamese coffee is still strong but much more appealing to the modern coffee drinker.
Head over to the Belvico store today and choose some tremendous Vietnamese coffee to try for yourself!