Coffee drinking is a national pastime in Vietnam and that is no wonder given the superb quality of beans that are grown in the Central Highlands with the region around Buon Ma Tuot undoubtedly producing the best coffee in Vietnam. The fertile soil and ideal climate ensure top notch Arabica and Robusta beans, as well as the rare Catimor beans that provide a strong “kick”, and the naturally caffeine-free Chari beans. For the adventurous, there is the highly prized “weasel” or civet coffee, which consists of coffee beans that have been eaten and partially digested by small, weasel-type animals. Today, the acclaimed rich and exceptional taste of “weasel” coffee is manufactured by employing a special natural enzyme that imparts the beans with a smooth and bitter-free aroma. No weasels necessary!
The deep flavor of Vietnamese coffee is achieved by using condensed milk as a creamer and sweetener, and a single-cup brewing process, which is a beloved ritual in Vietnam. Ground coffee is put in a special metal filter, which is put atop a cup filled with a generous amount of condensed milk. Boiling water is poured into the metal filter and allowed to slowly drip through and into the cup. The coffee and condensed milk are then carefully blended with a spoon, resulting in an incredibly rich, smooth, and wonderfully sweet concoction called cafe sua da. Most Vietnamese prefer this mixture served over a tall glass of ice, and there is hardly a better way to enjoy iced coffee. Vietnamese coffee is not for the faint of heart though, and usually much stronger than Western style coffee.