Top three areas in Vietnam well-known for arabica coffee.
Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee producers. However, its arabica coffee just accounts for about 3% of the total area for growing coffee and productivity per year. Even though arabica is the most favorable coffee by people around the world, Vietnam finds hard to develop this kind of coffee tree.
Arabica has a better flavor than robusta and it also contains less caffeine content. And despite of the low capacity, arabica in Vietnam is still reviewed as a very special coffee thanks to its impressive aroma and scrumptious taste. Arabica is planted just in few areas across the country. And here are top three lands which have the best-in-range arabica coffee of Vietnam.
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Vietnam Arabica in Da Lat.
Da Lat is featured by an ideal height above sea level (asl), a great climate condition and a rich basalt soil (also known as volcanic soil) for planting arabica coffee. When we refer to Da Lat arabica, it means Da Lat and its other neighboring sites such as Don Duong, Lam Ha, Di Linh, Duc Trong and other outskirt areas in Lam Dong province. Da Lat first planted original arabica coffee with different varieties of Moka, Bourbon, Typica and Caturra which were introduced by the French during colonial time. Da Lat today has changed its plantation into Catimor which is a hybrid between Caturra and Timor. Timor itself is a hybrid of coffee cafea and canephora – a variety of robusta. To reduce the risk of being infected by rush disease on arabica coffee tree, Catimor has been widely planted in Da Lat because this type with some characteristics of robusta can beat the disease. Nowadays, there are just some local farms left to plan orginal arabica. Most of them are planting Catimor.
Thanks to suitable climate and height with adequate temperature gap, Da Lat’s catimor has been traded as Vietnam’s specialty arabica coffee beans. In city’s suburban is Cau Dat village where Vietnam’s best arabica coffee is cultivated. Cau Dat is a best place among other best places in the country to offer good arabica coffee beans untill now. Gifted the most favorable advantages for this coffee tree by Mother Nature such as located on the height of 1,500m asl, temperate climate all-year-round with the ideal average temperature of about 19°C with temperature gap between 15oC to 24oC on average, Cau Dat provides a perfect arabica coffee with herbal aroma and charming taste.
Vietnam Arabica in Dien Bien, Son La and Lai Chau (Northern West area).
Located on the North West of Vietnam, these three provinces are featured by cold weather with high rainfall and short dry season. These are good conditions for the growth of arabica coffee tree as well. Son La, Dien Bien and Lai Chau lie on one side of Hoang Lien Son mountain range with its highest peak named Fansipan of 3,143m above sea level (asl). In particularly, Son La has mountains upto 1,800m high while Dien Bien has mountains upto nearly 2,200 high and Lai Chau is of mountains upto around 3,000m high asl. These three provinces are next together and possess a lot of mountain passes which make them very inaccessible.
Vietnam Arabica in these lands is really pontential in terms of quality and quantity. Arabica in Chieng Ban, a village of Son La can be compared to the ones planted in Sao Paulo coffee in Brazil and Kona coffee, known as world’s best arabica. Also, the productivity of arabica in Dien Bien and Son La is very stably increasing year on year thanks to the expansion of cropping areas. On the other side, coffee arabica in those areas has already contributed to economic development for local farmers those whose are mainly native ethnic groups.
Like Da Lat, Chieng Ban is currently grown catimor as its main arabica coffee variety. Chieng Ban is a newly found land for coffee. So, it is still very potential for the origin to build its own reputation on world’s coffee map. However, from what we see to the reality is always a long road ahead.
Quang Tri, Nghe An (Central Vietnam)
The Central region of Vietnam has some areas such as Khe Sanh (Quang Tri province), Phu Quy (Nghe An province) which are very suitable for arabica coffee. These lands are perfect for the said-above Catimor variety. Catimor is a variety of arabica, which is not as strong and sweet as Moka, but has more pleasant aroma and specifically salty and fairly acid flavor.
Vietnam now can crossbreed new arabica varieties to fit the natural environment of Vietnam which can raise the productivity and quality. Vietnam’s arabica is becoming a remarkable brand on global market.
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To sum up, Vietnam has a very huge potential to develop arabica production. The country has good conditions for arabica plantation. It has high mountains from 1,000m to above 3,000m asl, suitable rainfall and good temperature with perfect temperature gap. Its lands from the Central to the North West are still new to producing arabica; thus, this promises an amazing rise in area of plantation as well as good capacity. Hopefully, from planning to reality is not much far.