The Rich Coffee Culture of Vietnam: Hue’s Salt Coffee

Among Vietnam’s many treasures, the nation’s coffee culture is a fascinating blend of old and new. From Chic cafés in its modern cities to age-old alleyway shops preserving brewing traditions to tranquil retreats in the central highlands, coffee is an integral part of daily life in Vietnam. Today we’ll shine a spotlight on one of the newer sensations: Salt coffee.

The Heartbeat of Vietnamese Coffee Culture

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer, renowned for its robusta beans, which form the backbone of the nation’s coffee industry. The journey of Vietnamese coffee began during the French colonial era, but it has since evolved into a unique and cherished tradition. Vietnamese coffee is more than just a beverage; it’s a way of life.

The classic cà phê sữa đá (iced coffee with condensed milk) and cà phê trứng (egg coffee) are staples that visitors quickly come to love, you’ll have to trust me on the egg coffee if you’ve never had it! However, among the myriad coffee variations, one stands out for its current popularity amongst locals and travellers alike: salt coffee, or cà phê muối, from the ancient city of Hue.

The Story Behind Salt Coffee

Salt coffee itself began as a closely guarded secret by its creators Mr Phong and Mrs Hương who own the original Cà Phê Muối coffee shop in Hue. Here they stay true to their initial creation by providing a sweet and salty concoction in a glass that allows a filtered coffee to percolate and slowly drip onto the resulting beverage. The outcome is a salted caramel-like drink that is truly delicious! And a relaxed environment as you watch your coffee slowly drip. The innovation paid off, and salt coffee quickly gained popularity among locals and began to spread across Vietnam. Whilst the secret is now out of the bag, the dedication of locals to the origin of the beverage means Mr Phong and Mrs Hương enjoy a healthy flow of travellers and coffee purists!

Today, salt coffee is not just a drink but an experience. Many cafes have now adopted this beverage as a staple, each adding their own twist to the recipe, whilst some perhaps go a little too far (think margarita salted rim glasses) there can be no denying the popularity of this new drink. As part of Vivu’s Street food tour in Hue, we include this beverage acknowledging its recent place in the local culinary scene. It is now becoming a firm favourite with tourists.

Old and New

Vietnamese coffee culture is rich in history, tradition, and innovation. The unique charm of salt coffee set amongst the backdrop of Ancient Hue city is one of those great innovations juxtaposing tradition. For those seeking to understand Vietnam in a glass, a journey through its coffee culture offers a deep and flavourful connection. So next time you find yourself in Vietnam, take a moment to sit back, sip, and savour the unique essence of Vietnamese coffee and recent innovation with a Cà Phê Muối.

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