The Lure of Vietnamese Coffee

Sarah Grant

Sarah Grant relaxes at a cafe in Dalat in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Sarah Grant, assistant professor of anthropology, recently shared her knowledge of Vietnamese culture and its coffee industry on Loa — a podcast sharing stories that shape today’s Vietnam.

Her students can name Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia among coffee-producing countries. But few know Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world and exports Robusta  — much stronger than Arabica beans, the darling of the Western world.

“Vietnam doesn’t have that branding,” Grant said.

“Honestly, my favorite place to drink coffee in all of Vietnam is at this little café in Đà Lạt in the South Central highlands, where I used to live for some time. It’s called Café 171,” she said. “And I like to drink there really early and just watch everything start to wake up in Đà Lạt. You know the mist is so beautiful there, and it’s always misty in the morning,” she reminisced. “So it’s just the perfect place to sit on a little wooden stool. And then the bánh bao lady usually comes by, so that’s like a bonus.”

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