In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
It is a little known fact
that coffee helped transform the economy of Vietnam.
Billy with a coffee "em"
The Vietnam war ended in
1975 and the country was on its economic knees. Soviet copied financial policies
did nothing to help and collectivizing agriculture proved to be a disaster.
A Ca Phe shop named
after a coffee plateau in Vietnam
In 1986 the Communist Party
took a chance, bet on coffee and allowed privatization to enter the marketplace.
The Vietnamese economy was transformed.
In 1994, 60% of Vietnamese
lived under the poverty line. Due to the production and sale of coffee, now
about 10% do.
World wide coffee name
During this change in
economic focus, many new companies involved in coffee production were
established including Trung Nguyen in 1996 and Highlands Coffee in 1998. Both of
these became major coffee brands in the country simply through their widespread
coffee shop network.
By the late 1990s, Vietnam
had become the world's #2 coffee producer after Brazil.
Most Vietnamese drink
tea, but more and more are drinking coffee
Vietnamese culture also
emphasizes tea drinking. This shop had a beautiful display of tea bins and lots
Large jars of tea
including tea balls in the last jar
This shop sold tea by the
gram, in bags, boxes or wrapped in balls. Coffee was in bins also, ready to be
Coffee production in
Vietnam is largely focused on Robusta beans for export. Due to their bitterness,
Robusta is considered by many to be inferior to Arabica beans.
Iced Latte, great on a
In order to improve the
quality of coffee exports and to bolster sales, the government has encouraged
more widespread planting of Arabica beans and the development of mixed-bean
On the search for the
Coffee shops are everywhere
in Saigon. It's a great way to spend a couple of hours, walking around town,
looking for the perfect coffee, then trying it in different shops.
Trung Nguyen the #1
This coffee chain is a
combination of private enterprise and government involvement. You will find this
coffee house all over the world in capital cities such as New York, Berlin,
London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, and Singapore.
Vietnamese style drip
coffee with blueberry cheesecake
The Vietnamese typically
brew their coffee in single servings with a filter known as a phin.
Usually the coffee is served tableside while it is still brewing. We are told to
wait "7 minutes" or "3 more minutes" when they serve it to us.
The anticipation is
part of the experience
If you touch the metal
brewing apparatus when it is still working you will have a shock. It is VERY
hot! One must wait patiently for the hot water to seep through the filter and
into the cup below.
The use of sweetened
condensed milk was first used in Vietnamese brewed coffees because it was easier
storage in a tropical climate. Of course this sweetens the coffee and after long
practice of doing it this way led to the taste preference in this country.
When the water has finally
passed through the filter and into the cup below, you may take the phin
off your cup and pour it over ice. Some prefer to drink it black, but we have
ours with the condensed milk for the full experience. Coffee served over ice
is called ca phe da. With condensed milk over ice it is called ca phe
Part of the fun of drinking
Vietnamese ca phe sua da is the seemingly long wait for the brewing, then
pouring it over the ice yourself. Some prefer to mix the condensed milk into the
hot coffee before pouring. Others simply pour the whole mixture over ice.
The lid to the phin
which you see here with the little handle is used as a "drip catch" and is
placed under the filter when you are finished. This prevents coffee dripping
over the table.
When this photo was taken,
we were still learning the ins and outs of this process and found the "drip
catch" after making a mess.
Weasel coffee is
One day while sitting in
Ben Thanh Market drinking a
we noticed the odd name of "Weasel coffee." We knew about Robusta beans
and Arabica beans, but what was with this "Weasel stuff?"
Weasel coffee, or Kopi
luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Authentic civet "cat
coffee" sells for between $100USD and $3,000USD per kilogram. Authentic civet
coffee is made by collecting coffee beans eaten by wild civets, a
weasel/cat-like animal who eats fresh coffee berries and excretes them after the
beans have gone through his digestive system.
This process is said to
change the proteins and amino acids in the beans, affecting the flavor.
Some coffee tasters known
as cuppers say that the coffee tastes stale and thin, but others claim it's the
best coffee in the world. Most customers are Asian especially those originating
from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Some specialty coffee shops
sell cups of brewed Kopi luwak for $35-$80USD.
Faux weasel coffee can be
found more commonly and is probably what is pictured in this photo. The prices
for this cat coffee is between $20USD-$35USD per kilogram.
Civet or weasel coffee
on a menu
Sang Tao 8 on this menu is
the famous civet or weasel coffee but without the weasel. Trung Nguyen claims
their enzyme treatment process produces the flavor of the kopi luwak without any
involvement of the weasel whatsoever. So... if you want to try out the coffee
without the controversy, here's your chance.
One must have priorities
The name "My Life Coffee"
says it all. People are parked outside and packed inside for some of this
country's tasty brewed coffee.
Wired in more ways than
All coffee shops have
complimentary WiFi. It is safe to say that everyone here has a digital device of
some sort. Often you will see people studying for school, conducting business or
keeping in touch on their devices socially.
Coffee house menu
Many coffee houses serve up
more than just coffee. Here you can get meals, snacks, juices, teas and blended
Our "em" brought us our
ca phe sua da already brewed and poured. Now one simply works the ice to
blend the coldness through the drink and as the ice melts, the taste of the
coffee mixture changes. Every sip is a new experience!
These are examples of
blended yogurt and "jelly" drinks. The jelly is like a Jell-o that melts in your
mouth. The green drink here is probably avocado and orange juice. Delicious!
White chocolate cheese
cake and coffee
These coffee drinks are
actually a fancy version of the Vietnamese ca phe sua da but of course,
since they are fancy, we paid more!
Still looking for that
perfect cup of brew.
Starbucks has a presence
Even with all the
Vietnamese specialty coffee shops and family style shops, Starbucks has a
presence here also. Entering Vietnam in early 2013 Starbucks had its first
coffee store open in Ho Chih Minh City.
These beans from Columbia
cost almost $38USD a kilogram! That's $18USD a pound!
Street side ca phe
Vietnamese coffee is made
from Robusta beans which are a little more bitter than Arabica. Robusta has
between 1.6% to 2.7% caffeine and packs a punch!
This ca phe sua da
was served with the condensed milk on the bottom giving a layered effect.
Prices in VNDong per 100
Coffee has been banned
several times throughout history in cities and countries such as Mecca, Italy,
Constantinople, Sweden and Prussia. Thought to be a threat to the beer drinking
industry, the creator of radical ideas, the emasculation of men and labeled
Satanic by some churches, people have been forbidden to drink coffee off and on
throughout the centuries - Sometimes under the pain of death!
Because coffee can give the
sensation of being sober even after drinking liquor "giving men the opportunity
to drink even more," women "languishing in extremity of want" for sex petitioned
to have coffee censured from society. Or at least from all persons under the age
society-threatening stuff, this is!
Coffee, coffee everywhere
But apparently, coffee drinkers
have won the battle and have emerged victorious. Sitting together,
sharing their lives and their ideas at a coffee shop has become a
favorite pastime everywhere.
Tee shirt with Starbucks brand
Here you see a tee shirt with a
Vietnamese cone hat called a non la on the girl in the
center. Ca phe sua da is of course, the Vietnamese coffee
with milk and ice.
Specialty jelly coffee
We had to sneak this photo
of the wonderful hazelnut jelly coffee at Highlands Coffee Shop. Photos were
forbidden for reasons that were unclear, except that people do a lot of business
in coffee shops and perhaps those transactions were to remain private.
This is the famed jelly
coffee which was like a milkshake in the center, jelly squares on the sides and
bottom, and real whipped cream and chocolate on top.
Devilishly delicious! But
more like a dessert than a cup of coffee.
With all its popularity in
one form or another, hopefully coffee drinking is here to stay.
About the Authors