“Vietnamese Coffee” is a phrase that commonly refers to two different things. The first is cà phê sữa, a traditional, deliciously sweet Vietnamese coffee beverage which combines a Robusta brew with sweetened condensed milk, enjoyed hot or served over ice. The second meaning of the phrase refers to beans grown in Vietnam. The country is the world’s second largest coffee producer, and while the beans are enjoyed globally, many folks often wonder whether or not Vietnamese coffee is strong.
Many people often regard all Vietnamese coffee as strong given that 97 percent of the country’s coffee production is reserved for Robusta beans. However, this general characterization does not take into account the factors which affect Robusta beans’ flavor from growth to brew, nor that Vietnam has a growing Arabica coffee beans industry.
First and foremost, what determines the strength of Vietnamese coffee is the variety of beans used, and where those beans are grown. Robusta coffee beans generally are stronger in flavor and acidity than their Arabica counterparts. This is for a variety of reasons. Robusta coffee beans generally have 83 percent more caffeine than do Arabica beans. Likewise, Robusta coffee beans are known for having a smooth, bold profile with notes of dark chocolate, hazelnut, and caramel, in comparison to Arabica coffee which have rich and lively notes of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. These differing flavor profiles lend to folks perceiving the strengths of each variety based on their own personal palates.
Beyond the variety of coffee beans used, the strength of Vietnamese coffee is also determined by where the beans are grown and the brewing method used. The rich, volcanic soils of Da Lat, Vietnam where Omni Bev’s coffee beans are grown, for instance, yield different strength levels and flavor profiles than do the soils of other micro-climates in different regions of Vietnam.
Likewise, the brewing method used to make a cup of coffee plays a huge role in the strength of Vietnamese coffee. The Phin filter, which is a traditional Vietnamese brewing method, yields a stronger cup of coffee than does a Western coffee maker, as the slow drip method helps to reduce caffeine loss and maximize the innate flavor of the coffee beans used.
In essence, while Vietnamese coffee is traditionally stronger than coffee grown in other parts of the world, the bean variety used, location of where the coffee beans were grown, and the brewing method all play a role in how strong your cup of Vietnamese coffee will be.
To taste the strength of Vietnamese coffee for yourself, try Omni Bev’s Highland Vietnamese Coffee Beans Trio. This set features a bag of each of Omni Bev’s three coffee blends: Arabica, Robusta, and Omni’s Signature Blend. All grown in the highlands of Da Lat, Vietnam and roasted in small batches, the trio is the perfect way to try out different varieties of Vietnamese coffee to find the perfect blend for yourself.