Guest blogger. We’ve tasted some authentic Vietnamese coffee – in Vietnam, no less – and we love the distinctive taste of Vietnamese coffee in the UK, too. We’re grateful to our friends at Tassimo for sharing their thoughts on the best Vietnamese coffee shops in London.
When you think of the origins of your next cup of coffee, you might imagine that they’ve come from the misty mountains of Costa Rica, Columbia or Brazil. In fact, Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee beans worldwide, shipping an estimated 1.13 million tonnes each year. First introduced to the country in 1857 by French plantations, it has since become a major part of the economy. While much of Vietnamese coffee is exported for our standard brew, local coffee drinkers themselves have come up with a deliciously unique taste – combining a strong, dark brew, and rich, creamy condensed milk.
If you’re tempted to have a sip – you can recreate the flavour in the comfort of your own kitchen. Simply take one cup of Tassimo espresso coffee and add a generous spoonful of sweet condensed milk before serving. But with Vietnamese coffee shops popping up around London and elsewhere, you no longer need a flight to Hanoi to get the authentic flavour. Here are three of the very best places to get a faithful taste of the real thing.
Saigon Street Café
The Saigon Street Café might not be the kind of coffee shop we’ve grown used to over the years – comfy sofas, newspapers and hip, young baristas are nowhere on the Saigon’s menu. But as a market stall cum pop up coffee joint, the experience is probably the closest thing you’ll get, to having real Vietnamese coffee, made fresh for you in a busy market street. You can choose from a selection of coffee drinks, including Ca Phe Sua, the traditionally served brew with milk and Ca Phe Sua Da, which is a unique iced version that’s perfect for summer months. You can also sample some tasty Vietnamese snacks like Banh Mi to enjoy alongside your drink.
The Pho Café was one of the earliest Vietnamese cafés to open, and first set up shop in London in 2005, and now have a range of locations across the city – so you’re never far from your next Ca Phe. Always true to their roots, they import all coffee direct from Vietnam. If you’re planning to drink in, you can look forward to the full on authentic experience – expect your coffee to be served in a traditional percolating dripper perched delicately over your cup, with a cute little serving of condensed milk on the side. Mix it up to your own taste preference. But you can also get Ca Phe Sua Da to go, if you’re short on time.
Voted one of the best London coffee venues in London, this places still manages to stay off the radar of the casual coffee drinker, and is known only to the most refined coffee connoisseurs. They’ve built a devoted fan base dedicated to their brews by sourcing and importing their coffee themselves. They’ll even help you to recreate the taste through their handy recipes for a variety of Vietnamese coffee drinks, including the traditional iced coffees, as well as a unique yoghurt coffee.
Wherever you go – there’s one thing you should definitely note. Vietnamese coffee is usually far stronger than the European versions our palettes have grown used to over the years – so be prepared for a major caffeine buzz!
Guest blogger. Thanks again to Tassimo for sharing their tips for tracking down terrific Vietnamese coffee.