Vietnamese coffee not only plays an important role in the daily life of several generations of Vietnamese but it has also been widely known all over the world for decades due to its strong flavor. Along with the development of coffee, coffee houses have also become increasingly popular in Vietnamese today’s society. In this guide, we will introduce you some coffee houses in Ho Chi Minh City, where you can enjoy the drink as well as have a new local experience.
Being one of the top producing coffee countries, Vietnam is a paradise for any coffee-lover to explore such a wonderful coffee culture. Coffee was first introduced to Vietnamese by French colonists, and this type of drink has been becoming a greatly essential part of Vietnamese daily life. Over time, Vietnamese coffee today is increasingly popular among not only older people but also Vietnamese young people. Vietnamese often start their new day by enjoying a cup of coffee which is widely known for its strong and flavorful taste.
Besides its flavor, the preparation process is also a key factor contributing to the special style of Vietnamese coffee. The ground roast coffee beans will go into a filter which is called a "phin" in Vietnamese and a small amount of boiled water will be added to the ground roast coffee beans in order to make the dark coffee trickling into the cup below. This method makes it possible to release such flavored strong dark coffee. Coffee in Vietnam is not only a drink but also a lifestyle where the joy of waiting for each drop of coffee and the conversation you have during that time are other spices for your cup of drink. It is one of the recommended must-try drinks on any Ho Chi Minh City tours.
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There are several types of coffee which have been created as a result of serving different customers taste and the significant development (both in numbers and quality) of coffee houses in Vietnam. Here are some common types of Vietnamese coffee.
Dark coffee is the pure coffee released from the filter after adding hot water. This type of coffee is often used with ice and a small amount of sugar to make a glass of iced black coffee which is ca phe den da in Vietnamese. Dark coffee seems to be a perfect morning drink for those showing a preference for strong flavor as it often leaves a bitter and a little sour aftertaste in your mouth.
Milk coffee is a combination of dark coffee and sweetened condensed milk. This type of coffee appears to be the most popular coffee in Vietnam as you will often catch sight of locals enjoying milk coffee along the streets in the morning. The addicting sugary and creamy taste is probably why it is so popular with many people. The condensed milk put in the coffee not only reduces the bitter and sour taste of the coffee but also adds the thickness to the drink. Milk coffee can be either used as hot coffee (ca phe sua nong) or mixed with ice to make ice milk coffee (ca phe sua da).
Originating in Hanoi, egg coffee has become widely popular all over Vietnam for years. Egg coffee is an interesting combination of brewed coffee, condensed milk and egg cream which is made from chicken egg yolk, and thus, having a fairly similar taste to tiramisu.
Below are some other types of coffee you may find in the menu of coffee houses in Ho Chi Minh City.
Coffee Milk (Bac xiu). Another version of milk coffee, but the portion of milk is much more than coffee. This drink is for those who strongly prefer the sweet and creamy taste and want to reduce the bitter aftertaste of coffee. You can also enjoy it either hot or cold with ice.
Coffee Mixed with Alcohol (Rum, Baileys). Anyone who loves alcoholic drinks should definitely give this combination a try. The bitter taste of the coffee will blend in with the light sweetness of Baileys or Rum, creating a new taste to the original Vietnamese coffee.
Italian Coffee. To those who prefer the light coffee taste, you can also find many types of Italian coffee like espresso, cappuccino, and latte in many coffee houses in Ho Chi Minh City.
In this guide, we suggest some coffee houses in Ho Chi Minh City because of the interesting concept of these stores. The reviews are independent of any sponsorship.
Monkey in Black
Monkey in Black is a coffee house particularly designed for young people with unique décor, upbeat songs played in the background, and a wide variety of drinks which could be changed depending on each time of a year. This coffee house is run with a special slogan which is Nghi Dien Lam Chat (literally Think it Wild and Do it with Style).
Walking into the coffee house, you can easily feel the vibe of “wild ideas” with outstanding decoration, using different kinds of pictures, boards, and funny quotes painted on the walls. This coffee house is also known for holding several special events including Free-hug Day, Free Henna Tattoo, Acoustic Night, Speed Dating and No Bra No Pay.
The creative ideas do not only apply to the decoration or promotion but also show on their menu. There is a wide range of options for drinks ranging from coffee to fruit tea, smoothie, and yogurt. The coffee house also serves several kinds of food including cakes, pasta, and noodle. The newest invention of this coffee house is Nitro Cold Brew Coffee which is made by infusing nitrogen into a keg of cold brew coffee to yield a smooth, creamy texture. This Nitro Cold Brew Coffee is only currently served in Monkey in Black branch located on Tran Quang Khai Street.
Another signature of Monkey in Black is a cup of coffee that can be eaten after drinking up the coffee inside. The cup is basically a vanilla cookie in a cup shape. You will be also provided with a small extra cup of coffee beside the eatable cup to refill.
- 263 Tran Quang Khai, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
- 522 Le Van Sy, Ward 14, District 3
- 698 Su Van Hanh, Ward 12, District 10
Opening Hours: 8 AM – 10 PM
Price range: VND 25,000 – VND 100,000
Order and make payment at the counter near the front door before you come inside. You can also order a takeaway in these coffee shops.
Ban Sonate is named after the Beethoven Sonatas for Piano. Ban Sonate is one of the long-standing garden cafes in Ho Chi Minh City. The name of this coffee house can fully reveal its general vibe of classical instrumental music.
The coffee house is divided into two areas which are a smoking area outside and a non-smoking area inside. The outside area is covered with trees and flowers, making an evergreen side of fresh air. Coming to this coffee house, you could see a great number of natural stoned used for decoration including a huge decorative stone wall and many flower pots. The inside area is specially designed for music enjoyment. There are many acoustic nights being held there with several classic songs performed, giving you truly relaxing moments. There is a solo piano performance every Sunday morning from 9 AM to 11 AM and several mini-concerts of piano, violin, and guitar together with some singers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night from 8:30 PM to 10 PM.
There are a variety of drinks ranging from traditional Vietnamese coffee to new-style drinks like peach tea. With Vietnamese coffee, you can ask them to make it ready for you or leave it in the filter, "phin", to enjoy it as most locals do. The quality of those drinks is considerably good with rich flavor. If you are a music lover or just simply prefer to enjoy drinks in the fresh air with many trees around, Ban Sonate Coffee is such an ideal destination for you.
Address: 52 Dang Dung, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
Opening Hours: 7 AM – 11 PM
Price range: VND 45,000 – VND 85,000
You can choose a seat first, and the waiter/waitress will bring out the menu and take your order. The payment can be made after you finish your drink.
Located in the fourth floor of an old apartment building in District 1, Mockingbird Café looks like a small bird’s nest with a view of the State Bank of Vietnam which is one of the remaining buildings constructed during the colonial period. This coffee house is named after the famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Mockingbird Café is generally divided into three areas including two rooms inside and a small balcony outside where you can have a smoke. Walking into the coffee house, you can easily associate the first room with a mini pub as it is decorated with several colorful lights and rows of bottles of alcohol. Turning left to the second room, you will come into a vintage space in which a soft sofa, a guitar, some wooden tables and chairs, and several pictures are artfully arranged.
The menu of Mockingbird Café is fairly diverse which comprises 10 different types of food, dessert, and drink. The coffee in this cafe is basic Vietnamese coffee like black coffee, milk coffee, and coffee milk. Besides that, they also serve different kinds of soda with lime, passion fruit, blueberry, or mint syrup. You can go for a weird drink like Shampoo soda which is soda with mint syrup, milk, and lime - a refreshing combination to cool your thirst.
Address: 4th floor, 14 Ton That Dam, District 1
Opening Hours: 9 AM - 11 PM
Price Range: VND 35,000 - VND 80,000
You can either make your order and payment at their counter first or choose your seat, order and enjoy the drink, then pay the bill before making your way out.
Vietnamese coffee has become an important part of any Vietnamese people and Ho Chi Minh City seems to be a paradise of coffee houses that can provide you with not only coffee but also several types of food and drink. Coffee houses in Ho Chi Minh City are always highly advisable to be put on the list of must-visiting destinations in your Vietnam trip, as they introduce you to a new kind of drink as well as a new experience of drinking and enjoying coffee.
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