After a vegetarian pho at the Phap Bao Temple, I walk through a herd of mopeds on the corner of Le Loi and Tran Hung Dao for my shot of sweet silky ca phe sua da and a chaser of lightly bitter green tea.

Coffee is a serious business here. Vietnam is the world’s second largest producer after Brazil and the coffee sector provides a livelihood for around 2.6 million people, 3% share of national GDP. Over 90% of the produce is for export and farmers struggle with coffee prices set by corporations and trading demands. Deforestation and pollution are concerns that lie in the shadows of businesses like Nestlé lurking to expand their shares by “trying to shift consumption patterns” in Vietnam.

Sustainable coffee farming is growing too. Thanh Dat, a farming group in Cu Kuin, Dak Lak, harvest and roast their organic beans and supply coffee lovers and cafes directly. U Cafe is organising a coffee-dyeing workshop during the Hoi An Japan Festival (weekend of 24-26 August) with members of Thanh Dat and SOY+. There’s a lot to be done with coffee.

Advertisements