Vietnam has had a long, important coffee cultivation history and today it’s the second largest coffee exporter in the world. Since the 1700s, Vietnam has been producing the coveted heirloom Arabic and blended coffees that are coffee connoisseurs’ favorites. With this continuous supply of high quality coffee beans, Vietnam has developed their own roasting and brewing techniques, plus a variety of gourmet coffee types, hot or cold, for people to enjoy.
Hanoi:The Center of Vietnam’s Coffee Culture
On the last leg of my 50-day solo adventure around the world, I spent a week in Hanoi and discovered this was the center of Vietnam's coffee cafe culture. Coffee is so important to Hanoians that it has a coffee street in the Hai Ba Trung district where more coffee cafes are located than anywhere else in Vietnam.
On my first day of exploring the streets of the city’s Old Quarter, I kept noticing Egg Coffee promoted on menu blackboards in front of many restaurants. I wondered what in the world was egg coffee all about because even the name sounded unappealing to me. How could coffee with egg in it possibly taste good?
Vietnamese Coffee is Delicious
Being a self confessed coffee lover, enjoying great cups of coffee on my travels has been one of those ritualistic simple pleasures. I discovered Vietnamese coffee, strong coffee served with condensed milk, at breakfast on my first day. Learn more about how to make Vietnamese coffee in the blog here. I was hooked from my first sip. The flavorful coffee was absolutely delicious and strong enough to give me that needed caffeine jolt to get me going. People who know me are aware of my strong coffee addiction. If I don’t have it daily, I feel out of sorts and can be difficult. Bottom line, I was greatly relieved when I realized getting a good cup of coffee would not be a problem in Hanoi.
Always adventurous when it comes to food, I enjoy exploring the food culture wherever I am traveling alone. Oddly, in Hanoi, I kept avoiding egg coffee because it sounded so unappetizing. However, on the last stop of a city Cyclo Tour my guide took me to a very special coffee house, and said we would end our time together over a cup of egg coffee. I was cornered, so I couldn’t refuse.
Hanoi Courtyard House Coffee Cafe
While the coffee was being made, the guide showed me around the gorgeous, historic coffee house which you had to enter through a somewhat disconcerting, dingy, long and narrow alleyway. Once inside, I was thrilled. The courtyard home with its coffee cafe business was so authentic Hanoi. It had the feel of the wonderful courtyard residences I know and love in New Orleans. Antiques, potted plants, fans and even a family altar room reminiscent of what you find in the New Orleans French Quarter. This magical environment relaxed me for what I was about to taste.
Egg Coffee is Liquid Tiramisu
The guide shared egg coffee is known as liquid tiramisu. Having no bitterness and a buttery, custard taste, this cup of coffee is one of the most popular Vietnamese social drinks. Friends, family, and business associates indulge regularly in this pleasurable snack to celebrate the day. Hearing this, he was warming me up so I would let go of my preconceived negative taste bias to coffee with egg.
Likewise, he shared the basic egg coffee recipe with me but said every cafe has its own special formula. The recipe is as follows:
Egg Coffee Recipe
Prep your ingredients: two eggs, sugar, condensed milk, Robusta bean coffee grinds, and boiling water
Whisk the egg yolks with two teaspoons of condensed milk
Brew a cup of Vietnamese coffee using a phin, a single cup brewing device
Add a tablespoon of brewed coffee to the egg/condensed milk concoction and whisk until fully blended
Pour the egg mixture on top of the brewed cup of coffee
OMG:Egg Coffee is Fabulous!
Immediately I thought, Wow! The egg coffee had no hint of an egg taste, and I thought to myself this cup of coffee is beyond belief. It definitely tasted like a dessert with its was velvety, not too sweet, and extremely full-bodied. The best way I can describe this delicious drink is it's like drinking strong coffee blended with soft, sweet custard instead of cream and sugar. I must admit this was the most wonderful cup of gourmet coffee I had ever tasted in my entire life! I was hooked! Coffee lovers take note. If you haven’t had a cup of Vietnamese coffee, you haven’t totally arrived in the coffee world. Egg coffee is the best!
Vietnamese Coffee Tip
One added tip: you can purchase online from Trung Nguyen Online, the premier Vietnamese coffee exporter, gourmet Vietnamese coffees and the needed phin to brew them. Kit prices range from $11.98-$28.98.
How to Make Egg Coffee Video
The video below shows you how to make egg coffee, the world’s liquid tiramisu. I would love to hear your comments about this topic.
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Author: Astrid Clements
Astrid Solo Travel Advisor CEO and founder, Astrid, has spent over 40 years traveling around the world. She is passionate about embracing the world’s diverse cultures and sharing with others the global need and personal benefit of cultural literacy. Her focus is on affordable luxury travel that is both substantive and fun! To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to the About page!