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Our first coffee nation we would love to talk about is our home…Vietnam. Our profile on Vietnam will be short and sweet. A very strong coffee nation located on the Indochina Peninsula has become the second largest producer of coffee in the world and the largest producer of Robusta in the world.
Coffee was first introduced by the French in the 19th century. By the 1950s the French had a manufacturing plant producing instant coffee in Vietnam. But the coffee in Vietnam has evolved beyond just French instant coffee and into a much larger industry. How much coffee was produced? In the years of 2012/13, Vietnam produced 22 million 60 kg bags of coffee ready for export.
The Coffee of Vietnam
Since Vietnam is the largest producer of Robusta, our description will be towards the flavors we find common with the Vietnamese Robusta and not the beautiful Arabica that is produced in the mountains and highlands of Da Lat, Pleiku, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, and Gia Lai.
The Vietnamese Robusta when pure and roasted well produces a unique combination of chocolate and caramel flavors with a hint of tobacco and spices to add a complexity to the flavor.
It is common for the Vietnamese to use their Robusta in a unique manner with system unseen in any other part of the world. When using the “phin”, a small glass of Vietnamese black coffee, ca phe den, has the same strength as an espresso without the use of a large and complicated espresso coffee machine. But it requires a steady hand and a very patient barista to create such a nice coffee.
Since the coffee is so intensely strong many want to mix their coffee drink to lower the intensity and make a richer tastier experience. So like the Spanish Cafe Bonbon, the Vietnamese mix their coffee with condensed milk to make it a richer sweeter drink to be poured over ice and consumed slowly as to take a break from work mid-morning.