Coffee culture

Hanoi Coffee Culture: A Long History & A Special Way Of Enjoying3 min read

24 June, 2019


Hanoi Coffee Culture: A Long History & A Special Way Of Enjoying3 min read

Brought and introduced to Hanoi, Vietnam by the French colonists in the late 19th, the Hanoi coffee scene has undergone a long history of development. Although Hanoi people knew about coffee thanks to the French, they did breathe new life into coffee. They make their own contributions to the brewing and tasting culture. This was famously marked by the invention of Milk Iced Coffee – Ca Phe Sua Da.

Let’s take a look at the history and characteristics of the coffee culture of Hanoi, Vietnam.

A long history: Surprising growth in the war

The first coffee shop was opened in Vietnam in 1883 by the French to serve mainly the French officers and army soldiers. Only until the early 20th century did the Viets start to get acquainted with this “black liquid”.


The story of Hanoi coffee itself began when Mr. Giang, a former bartender at the Metropole Hanoi Hotel, opened his own coffee shop. His shop was well-known for the special coffee, roasted, ground and brewed by the owner himself.

However, the government policy of forbidding private businesses and coffee shops in Hanoi prevented the development of coffee for a period. Private coffee shops were gradually replaced by state-owned ones. Only until 1960 did they reappear with the likes Lam Cafe – the famous artists’ coffee house – on Nguyen Huu Huan Street.

This paved the way for hundreds of coffee shops mushrooming everywhere. Until today, coffee is ritually favored by both the Hanoians and people nationwide.

Enjoying coffee the Vietnamese way

The Hanoians call their traditional coffee as filter coffee for its method of brewing using an aluminium filter. It lets the soaks through the coffee ground and drips little by little to the cup beneath.


The citizens love going to small coffee shops to spend a few hours enjoying the pure flavor of coffee. Actually, they do not go there for the coffee only. They also do to think about life and connect with their friends and relatives. Therefore, they spend quite a long time in coffee shops.

The coffee culture of Hanoi in particular, and of Vietnamese people in general, has experienced growth through tough periods of history. Maybe that’s why it possesses such peculiar characteristics, which are nonetheless charming and exquisitely unforgettable.

If you are interested in this article, you may find it interesting as well to dig into the development of coffee in Vietnam and other nations like Spain for example. Let’s find out in this category.