The growth of Vietnamese coffee production.
Coffee has become a major agricultural commodity of Vietnam. Vietnam is also the second largest producer and exporter around the world (after Brazil) and be able to compete number one position in the future. Over the past 30 years, Vietnamese coffee has jumped from 0.1% to 20% in market shares of the world’s coffee production. It shows that Vietnam is a big name on the coffee export map in the world.
The history of Vietnamese coffee.
The French first introduced coffee into Vietnam in 1857. After recognizing the best features of weather and soil in Vietnam, which is perfect for coffee growing, the French set up some coffee plantations on Central Highlands and some other plateaus. They planted coffee in Vietnam and then, harvested and took Vietnamese coffee back to France and/ or some other European countries.
During wartime, Vietnamese coffee had not had an opportunity to expand. At late 1970s and 1980s as a whole, Vietnam implemented centrally planned economy in which most farms, croplands were belonged to the state, and public cooperatives, Vietnamese coffee again were not motivated to expand. As a result, the total output of coffee was not much.
Since 1986, the then Vietnamese government decided to change into “Doi Moi” reform, which promoted the country’s economy and coffee production as well. Since then, Vietnam coffee overcame challenges to be one of key agriculture export products of the country.
Vietnamese coffee production today.
Robusta coffee accounts for 97% of Vietnamese coffee harvesting with 1.29 million tons exported in 2012, a value of US $1.4 billion. As climate and soil condition of Vietnam is suitable with Robusta, it seems that Robusta is the only type known in Vietnam. However, Robusta is less favored than Arabica (because it contains more caffeine and therefore, it is bitter); Vietnam Robusta coffee have low prices.
Vietnamese coffee culture is unique.
Vietnamese people love drinking filter-brewed coffee. This is a very traditional and unique way of making coffee. While the world is getting familiar with coffee brewed from espresso machines, Vietnamese people are just loyal with black coffee drops coming out from a Vietnamese phin filter. They add some condensed milk into Vietnamese coffee espresso and put some ice to enhance sweetness and cool feeling. Vietnamese filter coffee is more and more popular globally as an old way of preparing coffee and draws a lot of attention from foreign tourists.
- Bonus cup (tips): Another post on Vietnam coffee you may like: Vietnam specialty coffee.
However, foreign coffee brands and chains are having their own ways to enter Vietnam and compete against local roasters. Nescafe is one of the oldest global brands entering Vietnamese coffee market and gains a noticeable market share. Some other foreign coffee chains just get started to taking the first steps into Vietnam such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, etc. and they get acceptations of Vietnamese younger generation.
Some coffee experts predict that the development of Vietnamese coffee can go further and it completely can take over the position of Brazil to become the world’s largest coffee producer thanks to its convenient climate condition, low prices and the widening of coffee crops.
To sum up, Vietnamese coffee has many potential to grow. As the country is focusing robusta coffee for years; thus, it has more spaces to grow up arabica which offer higher prices. More than 90% of coffee export from Vietnam are green (raw) coffee beans. And the country has advantages on increasing processed coffee (roasted coffees and cheap instant coffees).