We had the privilege of travelling to Ho Chi Minh City to attend the 8th annual Cafe Show Vietnam earlier this month. Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a vibrant and bustling city of over 9 million people, located in southern Vietnam.
Vietnam has a long and fascinating history with coffee. Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century and quickly became an important crop in the country. However, it wasn't until the 1970s and 80s that coffee production in Vietnam really took off. During this time, the Vietnamese government encouraged farmers to switch from growing rice to coffee, which proved to be a successful strategy.
Ranking second in the world for coffee production, predominantly for its Robusta - Vietnam favours a traditional coffee preparation, which involves using a small metal filter to brew a high dose of robusta coffee over a layer of sweetened condensed milk. Yum!
Throughout Cafe Show Vietnam it was evident that the rich Vietnamese coffee culture continues to live on - thriving as today’s Vietnamese barista combines their cultural experience with modern-day barista practices and high expectations for quality beans (yes - quality robusta beans - an aim which is currently the topic of much discussion amongst the Vietnamese coffee community).
While we enjoyed seeing the Fin Coffee Mascot bouncing around the expo, the ladies adorned in traditional golden crowns greeting people as they passed, and the live lounge singer pumping up the bartending contestants… The real highlight of the expo (for us) was the Vietnamese National Barista Competition.
From start to finish we were invested in the outcome of this battle. Ultimately barista Bella, who is a sensory trainer from HQJ Coffee School in Hanoi, took home the title of 2023’s Vietnamese Barista Champion. We are delighted to have witnessed her triumph and we cannot wait to see her on the world stage.