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Vietnamese Coffee: So Hot Right Now

FOR YEARS NOW, Vietnam has been the world’s second-largest coffee exporter, according to the International Coffee Organization. And yet, for all the fervor over single-origin beans from Central America and Africa, third-wave-coffee culture has been slow to embrace Vietnamese product.

That’s finally changing. Cafes specializing in Vietnamese coffee now caffeinate cities from Pittsburgh to Austin. Pop-ups such as Kasama Cà Phê in San Francisco are handling beans from Vietnam with respect and showcasing their flavors in hot and cold drinks inspired by the wide repertoire of Southeast Asian coffee beverages.

Over the last couple decades, “serious” cafes have favored arabica beans, frequently given a light roast to reveal a nuanced, bright acidity. The bulk of beans coming out of Vietnam are of the robusta species. As the name suggests, they’re bold and bitter—qualities emphasized by the dark roast the beans typically get. At their best, robusta beans can also be nutty, lush and beautifully baritone in personality, fit to stand up to the condensed milk frequently mixed into coffee in the part of the world where they’re grown.


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