To the Saigon people, cafe is a common drink of everyone from different classes and ages. It is like the reason to ask friends out: “Do you want some coffee?”. With only a knock, coffee marries people together.
The history of coffee making
Compared to the whole country - Vietnam, Saigon is a young city, it is only about 300 years old. The Saigon coffee, however, has gone through the history and changed in the way people made it as well as enjoyed it.
The local having coffee next to Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. Source: Zing.vn
Saigon nel drip coffee (Ca Phe Vot)
In the 1950s, Saigon people were so familiar with the coffee that was made with a fabric net (a bit like nel drip technique). Coffee of this kind brings along very unique flavours which require the barista to be gentle, patient, and cautious in every step.
Initially, the bartender must use boiling water to clean the racket and then put in a certain amount of pureed ground coffee. Then, just dip the racket in the super boiling water, stir the spoon several times and then cover the lid, leave for 5-10 minutes for the coffee to gradually absorb, so the coffee flavor will be rich and more delicious
Because of this meticulous method, net coffee gradually gave the way for other faster and more convenient coffee. In Saigon now, there are only 3 places to try net coffee that have been operated for more than 30 years. We often call them: “Family business”.
Filter coffee (Ca Phe Phin)
From the 19th century, coffee trees have followed the French introduced into Vietnam in the colonial period. Initially this drink was only for the nobility, French officials, or the intellectuals in urban areas. Gradually coffee became a popular drink in people's lives. It was a culture of the French to make the drink by a filter and wait for the dropping coffee.
In Saigon, you may find people sit anywhere to have a cup of coffee. This style asks people to slow down their day while waiting for the coffee to drop. To kill that waiting time, Saigon people often chit chat with friends on some news or some story. Sometimes, people just silently sit next to the coffee to watch people passing by and let their thinking “flow with the wind”. Coffee is like a friend who will laugh when you are happy, and gently heal the pain when you are down.
Instant coffee (Ca Phe Goi or Ca Phe hoa tan)
The 21 century is the time of instant coffee because of it fast and affordable price. Busy young people often have a few packages of instant coffee in the bags just in case of being late for school or work. With just 5 minutes, you can serve yourself a cup of instant coffee which tastes pretty nice.
The fast pace of development in Vietnam nowadays makes it hard to find time and place to sit down to have a cup of coffee. Moreover, the foreign investment has increased so much so that there is a part of the citizen in Saigon actually come from other countries. These reasons bring in a new way of making coffee - coffee machine. On the modern skyscrapers or offices, this machine come up with so much convenience.
Source: An Huy
Coffee culture of Saigon has grown up with the city and will be an essential part of the life of any Saigonese (Saigon people in our language). Just by learning about the coffee culture, we believe we have known quite a bit how the local here enjoy this special drink. Once you have a chance to visit this city, do not forget to have yourself a cup of Vietnamese coffee and maybe buy some as a present to bring back to your country.
Don’t hesitate to join us on the motorbike tour and explore not only coffee but also the cuisine of SaiGon city. We are glad to have you on the team!