As I’ve done a brief introduction of Vietnamese coffee in the Hoi An coffee post, the coffee scene in Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh city) is more vibrant and westernized compared to Hoi An. There are myriads of cafes in the city, such as that the entire building has a cafe on each floor. The entire city is exploded with cafes due to its own coffee culture, but I managed to find some of the so-called “third wave” cafes!
3/F p. q. 1, 27 Ngô Đức Kế, Bến Nghé, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Workshop cafe is the most frequent cafe that shows up on the search engine, as well as some travel magazines. The cafe is located on the 3rd floor of an old building in downtown Dong Khoi area. The interior looks completely different than the exterior. It is spacious, high ceiling, and bright! Definitely a great spot to get some work done. The coffee-brewing area is located in the center with bar-seatings around it, and tables on the side. It’s just like a chemistry lab with all the equipments. For coffee, the menu is separated into two part: espresso vs brew. After you choose your beans, they’ll ask which brewing method would you like: V60, Kone, Chemex, Kalita Wave, Woodneck, Syphon, French Press or Aeropress. Not to mention that they have nitro coffee on the menu!
As I would like to try as many local coffee as I can, I chose the Son’s Farm, which is from the Dalata, Vietnam. It has a light, floral, chocolate, green apple taste, and caramel finish. The staffs were very friendly, and spoke english. They also have their own roaster in the house, and they sell the beans in bags. However, the price can be on the pricy end.
Klasik Coffee Roaster
40 Mạc Thị Bưởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
With only just a block away from The Workshop, Klasik Coffee Roaster is easier to spot. It’s another coffee roaster in the city, and claim that they “source and serve beans which scores 82 points or above on a 100-point scale”. I was very disappointed that they’ve sold out the beans from Laos. I was told by the owner that it’s always the first one to run out whenever they have it! Their coffee is more medium roast, which is a bit too strong for my taste for a pour over. I got the chance to chat with the owner for a while, and he mentioned that light roast isn’t that common in Vietnam yet, because the Vietnamese are used to the strong and bitter taste of dark roast. That has convinced me.
Tầng 4, 14, Đường Tôn Thất Đạm, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Mockingbird Cafe is not really a third-wave cafe, but it’s definitely one of the top hidden little indie style cafes in Saigon. It’s brimming with character, in a decrepit apartment block located in the heart of Saigon’s banking district, really close from Bitexco Financial Tower. It’s hidden in a building that has a cafe on each floor, and Mockingbird cafe is on the 4th. It could be sketchy to visit in the evening, but once you are in there, it’s a cute, intimate cafe. Since it doesn’t have pour over or any single origins, what’s better than having a glass of iced Vietnamese coffee? Both black and milk Vietnamese coffee were good! The black Vietnamese coffee had a hint of vanilla flavor, because some of the beans are roasted/coated with butter or flavored.
Saigon Coffee Roastery
151/5 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Saving my favorites till the last. I actually discovered Saigon coffee roastery by accident. It’s on the 2nd floor of an old building, where you have to pass through an art gallery first. The price is very reasonable, and the staffs are very friendly. I had a pour over of Dalat Bourbon. I loved it so much that I just had to buy a bag of coffee beans home! It’s a light-medium roast (not my typical choice), with low-acidity, but I liked the chocolate, honey-candy like taste. It’s not spacious, but the ambiance is chill and relax.
Overall, these cafes have few things in common: in old building, subtle sign, unique decor, medium roast. Each cafe has its own unique vibe, and different target customers. There are definitely a lot more coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh city that I haven’t explored. If you have any recommendations, feel free to comment and let me know! 🙂