Last Updated on October 12, 2020 by smiling-coffee-snob
You won’t believe how many coffee shops are in Ho Chi Minh City. The majority focus on traditional dark-roasted Vietnamese coffee, but there’s a growing movement toward specialty coffee, too.
While I generally go for specialty coffee, I still appreciate most coffee drinks, including Vietnamese coffee.
So, while the main purpose of this guide is to introduce you to the growing specialty coffee movement in Vietnam, I also included a couple local chains so you can try the traditional style of coffee.
Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City: Coffee chains you should try
While Vietnam has no shortage of coffee shops, including multiple local chains, I’ll introduce the two that stood out most to me. Both of these coffee chains are all over Ho Chi Minh City, so you can probably find one close to wherever you stay.
159 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
The coffeehouse is the smaller of the two chains, but the interiors are fantastic and they make killer Vietnamese coffee.
My favorite location is right near the central city and has two floors with plenty of plugs and seating. There’s a minimal vibe to the design with lots of wood and natural light.
Their iced Vietnamese coffee isn’t on the level of the specialty shops, but it’s still really good. They stand out for their coffee ice cubes they put on top to keep thing from getting too watered down.
92 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
This is like Vietnam’s version of Starbucks with tons of locations around the city.
The atmosphere doesn’t have the same charm as The Coffeehouse, but they’re great places to hang out for a while or to work on your computer.
Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City: Specialty coffee shops
Like I mentioned in my introduction to coffee in Vietnam, the specialty coffee scene is still pretty small and Robusta beans are still the main type of coffee grown and served in most of the country.
However, quality is improving and more Arabica is being planted. These are the places that are leading the emerging specialty coffee scene in Ho Chi Minh City.
27 Ngô Đức Kế, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
One of the most versatile specialty coffee shops is the Workshop. Walk up a large staircase a few floors up and you’ll find some of the city best coffee.
Their menu features both local and imported coffee beans, and you can choose from many different brewing methods… Siphon, Chemex, V60, Kalita Wave, Woodneck. They do almost everything.
This is a great place to try a pour over with local beans. Their single-origin Vietnamese beans were some of the best I tried so I recommend you try some for yourself while you’re here.
13 Nguyễn Thiệp, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Shin has both coffee and atmosphere in their two-story shop. The menu features a number of different coffee blends made with high-quality Vietnamese beans. The croissant was surprisingly good, too.
I recommend you try their version of Vietnamese coffee and compare it to the chain shops. It will be a lighter roast with the condensed milk and ice on the side. This will give you a chance to make it as sweet or dark as you want.
151/5 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Just a few blocks away from Shin is another specialty shop hidden in the middle of a large industrial type of building. Head to the back of the building and up a set of stairs and you’ll find another great local roaster.
There is a mix of hand made wooden kitchen gear and freshly roasted coffee beans from both Vietnam and abroad. It’s a great place to try a pour over, but they seem pretty good at latte art, too.
Hẻm 193, 191 Hai Bà Trưng, Phường 6, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Most of Vietnam’s specialty Arabica beans come from around Da Lat, which is where La Viet is from. They grow their own beans, roast them in-house and sell them in a few different roasts profiles that range from light to extremely dark.
Unfortunately, I haven’t tried their Da Lat cafe, but I loved their Ho Chi Minh location. They make Kalita Wave pour overs and also espresso drinks. Plus all their beans are for sale in the different roasts.
15 Huỳnh Khương Ninh, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
In a location off the regular tourist path is a great little cafe with a roaster in the back. They have a beans from Vietnam and around the world, including some Cup of Excellence coffees, and offer a good selection of drinks.
What really stood out to me was the way they seem to experiment with coffee roasting. There are small containers filled with different beans throughout the cafe, plus a large collection of coffee gear.
While the other cafes had a lot of similarities to coffee shops in other parts of the world, this one was very unique. It’s worth going out of your way to visit.
You’ll love coffee in Ho Chi Minh City
Just like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City is a place that most don’t associate with coffee. But, the cafe scene has been booming for years. While I didn’t directly experience the coffee culture of the past, I can tell you that right now there’s a lot of enthusiasm about improving the local coffee.
The more I learn about the history of coffee in Vietnam, the more incredible it is to watch it evolve.
Any coffee loving traveler should add Vietnam to your bucket list. In fact, explore South East Asia in general. This is one of the few parts of the world where you can try locally grown specialty coffee.