Whilst sipping coffee all around Vietnam, I heard Westerners sniff at Vietnamese coffee because 1) you can’t get a good latte like in the UK (not that I’ve ever had a good latte in the UK) or because 2) the condensed milk used on the streets can be overwhelming, or because 3) it’s just too strong.
In Hanoi, I had the best coffee I’ve ever tasted – on more than one occasion. The beans are bold and robust, and depending on the café, the coffee menus are unique. The trick to finding the best of Vietnamese coffee is to try something new. Don’t look for your usual Western breakfast order of black coffee with fresh milk and granulated sugar, because that’s not what coffee in Vietnam is about.
Here are a few of the many cafés and coffees that Hanoi has on offer.
Kinh Do Café is famed for being frequented by Catherine Deneuve whilst she was filming Indochine. This café certainly isn’t much to look at, but its sophisticated owner, who replies in French when you speak in English, serves up feisty black coffee, homemade yogurt and croissants.
Coffee with Coconut and Condensed Milk at Cong Caphe
This kitsch Communist-style café chain serves delicious coffee using condensed milk, coconut, cocoa and even sticky rice.
Egg Yolk Coffee at Café Pho Co
Served both hot and cold, egg yolk coffee is silky and smooth, quite unlike any other. Follow the winding wrought-iron staircase to the secret roof-top terrace which overlooks Hoan Kiem Lake from behind the trees. Ignore the overtired staff.
Coffee mixed with Yogurt at the Women’s Museum Café
Opt for a shot of espresso laced through yogurt and ground ice after immersing yourself in the history and achievements of Vietnamese women.