Introduced by French Jesuits in the 1870s, Vietnam has risen to be the second largest coffee exporting country after Brazil.
Producing between 800,000 and 1m tons per year, Vietnam only consumes about 10% of its production. The remainder is purchased by some of the world’s best known instant coffee brands.
The large majority of local production is done by small households with 2-5ha planted. State owned companies produce around 15% on larger farms.
Production is centered around Buon Ma Thuot, Dak Lak province, in the Central Highlands.
Robusta is the main crop in Vietnam, due to suitability of geography, climate and elevation. The Government is making its strategy of supplementing Robusta production with the farming of Arabica in suitable areas. While producing lower quantities, Arabica earns roughly twice as much as the same weight of Robusta.
With over 150 years of coffee heritage, Vietnam drinkers have made coffee a key part of their social culture. Sitting around catching up while the strong, rich brew percolates through the ‘phin’ (filter), the only choice to make is whether to add ice, condensed milk or both.