Coffee roasters have been around for centuries. I know this because I once read a book about it. One book. Great researching skills. Thankfully, I don’t apply this same low bar for actually drinking coffee. Don’t really think of myself as a coffee snob, the only piece of coffee specific gear I’ve ever bought myself would be an Aeropress. However, I’ve been lucky enough to own a few hand-me-downs, including a french press, a moka pot, and a hand grinder. Did own a coffee shop once, and know how to make basic espresso-based drinks, so it’s not like the concept of coffee quality is alien to me. But no, I’m definitely not a coffee snob. I’m just a guy who likes good coffee, and obsess about value for money. And as Vietnamese coffee is becoming more and more of a thing, I’d like to share some of my tried and tested sources for good whole beans. Here’s my list of tried and tested Vietnamese Coffee Roasters.
You can’t always go to an independent coffee shop. Thankfully, Vietnam has excellent coffee shop chains as well:Excellent Vietnamese Coffee Shop Chains
This will focus on relatively smaller players that still have a brand. We’re not even going to mention the bad ones. You’ll have coffee available in Ben Thanh market, of course, but those don’t really smack of “quality” – and trust me, I’ve made the mistake of buying some cornhusk tasting crap. So, let’s narrow down the list to places with professionals who know what they’re doing. Will be editing and updating this regularly so make sure to subscribe and check in regularly!
Saigon – Building Coffee
This is definitely my go-to for high quality whole roast beans. Building have got a rotating variety of options that are sourced locally and internationally. Have been to their roasting facility, and even though they’re not “big” they are clean, organized, professional, and very well run – logbooks, tasting notes and all. Have tried a few options now and can’t do justice to the quality of the product here. The guy who runs this knows his stuff. You’ll have to try it yourself. Online ordering available via their website, but the person on the Facebook page is also quite responsive. The only downside would be that they are on the pricier end, but you’re paying for quality. It’s not going to be an everyday thing, but definitely a nice treat for a slow weekend. They’ve also just opened up their own coffee shop, which I have yet to visit, but will make a point to do so in the near future.
Saigon – Cimille Coffee
Tucked away in the heart of Phy My Hung, this place was quite a surprise. Cimille have a roasting machine on site, but wasn’t able to see the actual roasting, though they do have a great variety of coffee on offer. Some Ethiopian, and Brazilian options, beans from the Vietnamese highlands, light and dark roasts. Was told that they also do small batch roasting so the coffee is always fresh. Prices are quite reasonable and ideal for day to day drinking. The coffee shop itself is a great place to sit down and work, though I haven’t tried out any of the food. At least for the D7 location I went to, the space is small but charming, with a few tables made out of repurposed sewing machines. Definitely worth a visit. If not to grab a few kilos, then to at least enjoy an afternoon.
Dalat – The Married Beans Coffee
The first time I went up to Dalat was about 2011, and the coffee scene was not as polished as it is now. I distinctly remember going to a coffee shop where the guy just roasted coffee on a small skillet over some coals. It was…interesting. But, fast forward to the present, and we have the Married Beans Coffee roastery. Surprisingly, one of the few places where you can get freshly roasted coffee in Dalat. Being in the highlands, was expecting that there would be significantly more competition as far as craft roasting. Not complaining though, this place was my first port of call. They have a great variety of single origin coffees from around the highlands, and offer a range of espresso blends. Prices are reasonable, and they offer very dependable delivery to HCMC. I’ve now had more than a few kilos sent over – the online ordering on their website works quite well. The coffee shop itself can be a bit bare, but it does have it’s charm. Top recommendation for Dalat!
Dalat – Q Coffee Roastery
If you’re looking for a place with a bit of character, Q – Coffee Roastery is where you need to go. It’s tucked away, North of the old town, and walking along the canal leading up to the shop felt like stepping back in time. At least for someone who doesn’t live in Dalat. The shop definitely is quirky, with random bits and pieces of art, and a “pigeon patch” that’s quite entertaining to watch. They do have a great variety of beans from around the highlands, though not as much as the other Dalat location reviewed above. Product is pretty good, tried 2 different roasts (dark and light) and would give it a go again just for variety. Prices are reasonable, and the sole staff who was there when I visited was friendly and helpful.
Danang – The Cups Coffee
At first glance, coffee snobs might want to pass on The Cups Coffee. It does have this “chain” feel to it, with the same store design and layout being applied to all their locations. But let’s not take that against them, they do take their coffee seriously. The baristas are knowledgable and passionate (will even ask you what grind size you prefer), and they use reasonably good quality beans. I had a great flat white, made with an espresso blend of their own beans. If you’re in Danang and looking for a quick caffeine fix, this is where you need to go. The key downside is that they don’t really have a lot of variety. It was basically just a choice of light, medium, or dark. But they’re very consistent with their product and the pricing is quite competitive for the quality. It’s not going to blow your mind, but it’s not going to break your wallet.
When it comes to coffee roasters, quality of the beans is extremely important. And the roasting process itself can make a big difference in the final product. I’d put my money on locations that have either direct access to farmers, or have a professional roast master. For what it’s worth, so far the top 2 options I’d recommend are Building, and Married Beans.
Would be great as well, if there was a way to get biodegradable bags for the beans to reduce plastic waste. Will have to look into this.
As mentioned thought, this is a working list and will be constantly updating it based on my own personal experiences. Everything here is personally tried and tested. So if you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: We got listed as one of the Top 30 Blogs in Vietnam!