Since the early 20th century, coffee has been one of the biggest income sources in Vietnam. After the economic reforms, Vietnamese coffee rose to high class, turning Vietnam into a coffee giant in the market. Coffee is now an inseparable part of Vietnamese daily life and culture.
While big players such as Trung Nguyên, Vinacafe and Nescafe are favored by adults consumers, young Vietnamese people have their own distinct taste. What they need is not only coffee but also a space where they feel safe to share with their peers. And that’s what local coffee chains do the best.
When it first came to Vietnam, Starbucks made a huge boom. But over the time, Vietnamese customers prefer local brands — cheaper, friendlier, and make them feel understood. Here are the most loved local coffee chains that never experience shortage of customers.
1. The Coffee House
Coffee lovers say, ‘you can always find The Coffee House shops near your house.’ Indeed, The Coffee House has an incredible number of shops, located in every district. In 2018, The Coffee House CEO Nguyen Hai Ninh told Nikkei Asia Review that he planned to open 700 outlets in Vietnam in the next five years.
People love The Coffee House for not only its wide space but also the atmosphere the interior generates. At The Coffee House, there are a lot of students, digital nomads, freelancers, creators, office workers. The lighting is perfectly designed, the music is carefully chosen, the decoration is minimal and so well-organized that any customer, solo or accompanied, can find their ideal corner.
The Coffee House menu is diverse and has affordable prices. You only have to pay 30,000-40,000 VND to experience such wonderful service and have you laptop work done.
2. Cộng Caphe
If The Coffee House is perfect for those who favor minimal, industrial style, Cộng Caphe is the first choice for retro lover. Inspired by the decoration in ‘bao cap’ period, the 12-years-old coffee chain shops give out a rustic, old and nostalgic vibe. Being one of the pioneers in retro-concept coffee shops, Cộng Caphe helps spread out this trend among other coffee shops in Vietnam.
While most coffee chains gather in big cities like Saigon and Hanoi, more than 50 Cộng Caphe shops lies scattered in 11 cities across Vietnam.
Cộng Caphe is loved also for its affordable and original menu, which focuses on Vietnamese coffee and tea. Its signature drinks are coconut coffee and coconut condensed milk coffee, which are at about 40,000-50,000 VND. Cộng Caphe is a must-go coffee shop for foreign visitors to learn about Vietnamese coffee drinking styles.
Started off as a small coffee shop in Hanoi, Cộng Caphe has expanded into more than 50 shops around Vietnam. In 2018, Cộng Caphe launched a coffee shop in Yeonnam-dong, Seoul, South Korea. Despite the heat, young Seoul friends were willing to queue to have a sip of Vietnamese coffee.
3. Cheese Coffee
Founded in 2016, Cheese coffee is a representative of new generation local coffee chains. Inspired by the industrial styled coffee shops that are renowned in Thailand and Korea, the 2-years-old chain is one of the most successful industrial coffee brands in Saigon.
From a small coffee shop with the stand-out blue billboard, Cheese Coffee rose with an incredible speed and now has 7 shops around Saigon. Its 7th branch has just opened in January 2019 and the number of customers queuing to enter the shop is the envy of any business.
More than just a coffee shop, Cheese Coffee is a place for ideas to be spread. It is a home to friends, families, digital nomads and students. Besides having coffee and have work done, customers can join in some small workshops held at Cheese.
Anyone can find their favorite drink at Cheese Coffee. Its signature drink is Frappese such as Blueberry Fromage Frappese and Matcha Frappese, at about 55,000-65,000 VND. Besides, it serves full leaf tea, coffee and cakes at reasonable price.