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Why Does Starbucks Struggle for Popularity in Vietnam?

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As the world’s second largest coffee exporter, Vietnam knows its coffee. The country is famous for a thick, heavy brew sweetened with condensed milk.

Vietnamese coffee drinks are brewed with robusta beans, which have a sharper, bitter flavor and higher caffeine content than more mild arabica beans. Robusta beans are available all over Vietnam, whereas arabica beans are served in most Western coffee outlets.

The middle class is growing in Vietnam, and the market for specialty coffee and tea shops in Vietnam is worth more than $1 billion, according to Euromonitor International. 

Starbucks is slowly and steadily building its presence in Vietnam, but it is struggling to win over the market. Sarah Grant, assistant professor of anthropology and an expert on Vietnamese coffee, says it all brews down to bean. Read more at