If you’re a coffee fanatic and traveled to Hanoi in recent times, you’ve probably found the specialty coffee scene a little barren.
There are coffee shops everywhere you look.
But most of them are selling traditional Vietnamese filtered coffee which appears to have tin teacups and saucers on top of mugs.
They slowly drip coffee with the viscosity of mud. Usually, it’s so bitter that the coffee shop owners use sweetened milk to mask its intense flavor.
Although Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world, specialty coffee isn’t as available as you would have expected.
However, the appreciation for craft coffee is growing and a scene is emerging in the heart of Hanoi.
Few shops now serve all your favorite pour over V6, Aeropress, and Siphon brew styles and that’s just the beginning.
Most of this interest comes from Vietnamese students who discovered the art of coffee brewing while studying abroad.
Escaping the heat and smokey season of Chiang Mai, Thailand for the months of April and May, Hanoi was the chosen destination to work from over that period.
This gave me the opportunity to get under the skin of the coffee culture of Vietnam to find what specialty coffee gems are emerging.
KafeVille was the first specialty coffee house I found in Hanoi. Coincidentally, the Tay Ho Times featured it for the month of March which drew my attention to visiting the cafe.
Kafeville was once located in the located in the old city but recently moved behind the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It’s literally the ‘back door to Uncle Ho’s house’.
Binh, the owner of KafeVille, is very passionate about producing quality specialty coffee.
He pays particular attention to his serving technique.
What surprised me the most was the specialty coffee bean varieties he offered from around the world.
The first Pour Over coffee I drank was from the African nation of Burundi. It was the first time I’ve tried coffee from that country.
It was a unique experience as I was unaware Burundi was a coffee-growing region, although it’s their largest export.
What I love about the coffee industry is there’s always something new to learn and discover.
Getting back to the coffee, the flavor and aroma of the pour over were outstanding. Always good to know great coffee discover a new, fabulous tasting growing region.
Equally as impressive is their Latte Barista, who is passionate about producing drinkable latte-art cups of coffee.
I spent most of the two months of my time in Hanoi working from Kafeville. Binh and his staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about specialty coffee.
KafeVille also sells roasted beans starting at 100 grams lots. Every now and then he manages to get hold of a small batch of a rare batch of beans.
If you’re a traveller like me and can’t do without a specialty brew in the morning, you can purchase them on the go from Kafeville.
They usually roast their beans every few days as during April/May/June as this time of year is humid in Hanoi. Binh prefers to protect his beans from the mold so he likes to keep his roasts fresh.
I highly recommend you come and check out this specialty cafe if you’re avidly passionate about coffee as I am.
2. The Habakuk x D’codeS Cafe
When I first visited D’Codes, the cafe had only opened for three weeks when they were originally located far over the other side of the city.
Initially, they had their cafe and training coffee training facility at the same location. It was an exciting time for them.
My good friend Sam Choi from Chiang Mai partnered with Caden, originally from Malaysia, and branched out their passion for specialty coffee training to northern Vietnam.
At the time, they both established Asia’s 4th D’codes Coffee Lab.
One of the Baristas and trainers, Ken, working at D’Codes was the Vietnamese 2016 runner-up for latte art and is extremely passionate about his craft.
He moved to Hanoi from Saigon to work at the D’Codes coffee lab & campus to train many ambitious baristas in Hanoi
The new location is extremely impressive and is one of my favorite and highly recommended cafes in Hanoi – A must visit!
3.1 The Caffinet (New Location)
The Caffinet was a great little find in the heart of the Old Quarter in Hanoi (old location).
Now The Caffinet is located East of the Old Quarter just off Hoang Ngoc Phach street.
The pinned Google Map location can be a little deceiving as the real location is down the dead-end alley on the southern side of the pin.
During my stay in Hanoi, it was the best of all of our cafes we visited.
Not only were the lovely staff at The Caffinet helpful and accommodating, but they were also passionate about their specialty coffee.
They use primarily source coffee beans from the local coffee growing region of Da Lat in the South of Vietnam in addition to other local regions close to Hanoi.
The new cafe has an excellent atmosphere where you can either enjoy your cup of Joe in this spacious location.
The Caffinet had a broad range of brewing toys and techniques including traditional Vietnamese brewing styles, popular pour overs and their own version of specialty egg coffee which I will talk about later in the article.
I highly recommend going to The Caffenit and checking it out.
3.2 Tranquil Books & Coffee
I have thank my barista friend Thu from The Caffinet for the discovery of Tranquil Books & Coffee.
In many ways I wish I had known about Tranquil when I was living in Hanoi. However I’m very grateful to know about this other find in the hidden heart of the Old Quarter in Hanoi.
The atmosphere of Tranquil is super chilled making it the ideal place to read, reflect, work quietly or simply spend time with your coffee.
Set in an French Colonial style facade, you seriously get that nostalgic hipster feel with Tranquil.
4. GẤU Coffee & Bakery and GẤU Coffee Roasters
The first was considerably far from the old city. I never realized that there were two branches of Gau coffee.
I believed that the first was the only one that existed.
Upon discovering the second location in the old quarter of Hanoi, I quickly became acquainted with its young and passionate barista, Sang.
Sang was a very friendly guy who loved his craft.
He was accommodating enough to allow me to try many different types of coffee which he brewed using the Aeropress.
I had the pleasure of trying many Vietnamese specialty blends which did have some interesting characteristics.
One of the aspects of the coffee business is the friends that you make.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Sang from Gau Coffee Roasters. He has great vision.
There is a space in the cafe that he’s going to use to supply specialty paste trees in addition to his specialty coffee.
I highly recommend heading to Specialty Coffee Roasters Cafe to say hi to Sang. Try the excellent coffee that he brews.
Do not get confused by Gau Coffee’s two locations.
Google will direct you to the cafe that is out of the old quarter so. Both locations have been marked on my Specialty Coffee Map.
I also recommend checking out the cafe location further out. However, if you have little time, I would suggest just visiting out the Cafe Roastery location in the old quarter.
5. 3rd Wave Roastery
Located on a bustly triangular intersection, this special haven sports a small team of passionate coffee lovers constantly finding ways to improve their brew.
Stocking local and international beans with most brewing methods for choosing including pour-overs, espresso, and my personal favorite is the cold brew especially on hot afternoons.
You can find 3rd Wave Roastery about 500 meters West of Hoan Kiem lake.
Other Coffee Roasters of Hanoi
KOK Coffee Roasting House
We heard on the Grapevine that there was a coffee roaster in Hanoi that didn’t have a cafe or shop front.
We decided to visit it. You’ll find KOK Coffee Roasting House is tucked away in the Tay Ho district of Hanoi, on the West Lake.
Although there were closed gates at KOK Roasters, Sang was nice enough to let us in and give us a private tour of his roasting facility.
He even brewed us one of his locally roasted Vietnamese beans.
His beans are available at here. He features many varieties from around Vietnam and the world.
Coffee Notes: The Traditional Coffee of Vietnam
Drinking coffee in Hanoi is an interesting cultural experience.
Coffee was introduced in Hanoi Vietnam with in the 1950s when they faced a milk shortage.
I didn’t go to any of the traditional egg coffee shops while I was there because I spent most of my time in specialty coffee shops in Hanoi.
However, I decided to try one of these coffees on the one of the days I was working from The Caffinet.
It consisted of espresso coffee at the bottom and a foam of meringue at the top, it’s hard to describe.
I must say it was delicious, not something I would have every day but still quite tasty.
The last time I had the traditional Vietnamese style drip coffee was in 2012.
At that time I admit to liking it even though wasn’t as much into coffee as I am today.
Deciding to give the traditional drip coffee a try was a unique experience.
Although the coffee had sweetened condensed milk, I could not go past the overwhelming bitterness and thick mud-like consistency of traditional Vietnamese style coffee.
Unfortunately, I could not finish it!
My final thoughts of the Specialty coffee scene in Hanoi, though it in its infancy, there is increasing demand from the likes of more educated, hipster Vietnamese locals and those wanting to explore coffee.
It’s on the verge of booming and becoming an interesting place for specialty coffee in the future.
I look forward to returning to Hanoi to see how much the coffee scene has boomed upon my next visit.
Have you been to Hanoi lately or a local in search for specialty coffee shops?
If you have managed to find an amazing coffee shop in the middle of the bustling Metropolis of Hanoi, please share your findings Below in the comments.