Among Asian countries, Vietnam has long been one of the most popular choices in the field of sourcing. Being the world’s second-largest coffee producer, the country has gained so much popularity in global coffee market. For its export sales, and its vibrant local coffee culture, Vietnam has established a good reputation as a source of mass commercial Robusta coffee. How about Vietnam’s specialty coffee? Are high-quality Robusta and Arabica coffee produced in Vietnam? Read on to find out more about Vietnam’s specialty coffee and fine Robusta.
In order to provide a deeper insight on Vietnam’s Coffee Market, we’ve created this series along with tips on how to select the best beans from Vietnam for your business. Jump to:
- A start-to-finish guide to coffee beans market in Vietnam
- Best types of coffee beans to source in Vietnam
- How to find wholesale coffee suppliers in Vietnam
1. How do Vietnam define its specialty coffee?
The words “specialty coffee” often refers to the arabica, while robusta coffee connoisseurs use the synonymous words “fine robusta.” They all refer to coffee that are high-quality, typically single origin, and meticulously mindful of every phase of the supply chain – from equitable relationships with the coffee farmers, to extraordinary flavors for the consumer. Accordingly, the arabica is promoted for its delicate flavor while the robusta is advertised for its fine taste. To be assessed as Specialty and Fine Ro, the beans must have no first-grade error, which affects its flavor and quality, and less than five second-grade errors, which affect its appearance, such as color.
In general, the Vietnam’s specialty and fine robusta coffee must have no defect in appearance and flavor, and especially keep the particular feature of the place where it is grown. Hence, such high-quality coffee require exceptional effort to produce:
The coffee material must be properly ripe coffee beans from a specific farm or region. There is no universal specialty coffee. It’s no specialty coffee when all coffee shops in a city serve the same coffee. The coffee shop owner and the coffee farmer must cooperate closely in the coffee farming process, such as fertilization and weather observation for abnormal phenomena. The farmer must cooperate with the coffee processor for proper coffee drying and processing. In general, the coffee bean must be perfect and have no defect. Therefore, coffee bean tendering, picking and processing make up a large part of the coffee price.
Coffee farming is closely monitored, but the quality control of coffee beans at specialty coffee enterprises is even more stringent. All coffee beans must go through careful examination and initial tasting. The warehouse keeper must arrange coffee bags carefully by origin, note the time of stocking the bags and the volume of coffee, and the time of putting the coffee bean into the coffee roaster. The roasted coffee must be preserved carefully to prevent humidity and oiling. Therefore, all specialty coffee shops have the menus stated with the coffee origin, the date of coffee roasting and the dominant coffee flavor. The shop owners may be found to have flouted the business ethics if they serve customers coffee roasted around a fortnight ago! (Nguyen Quang Binh, The Saigon Times)
2. Specialty coffee production expanding in Vietnam
As a giant in coffee industry, Vietnam has long been dominated by Robusta, which makes up more than 96% of the coffee crops. As Robusta coffee is less aroma and contains higher caffeine than Arabica, it is often used for instant coffee and low-quality blends. However these days, the growth of specialty coffee industry, combined with low prices for commercial robusta coffee, has encouraged Vietnamese coffee farmers to grow higher quality Robusta coffee and cultivate the more-difficult-to-grow Arabica.
More than Catimor variety
The main variety planted in Vietnam is Catimor, a hybrid of Caturra and Timor (itself an Arabica-Robusta hybrid). While Catimor is a high-yield and high disease-resilient variety, it’s not typically prized for its cup quality. So, many producers are turning to other varieties to produce more dynamic and higher-paying coffees. These new varieties include Yellow Bourbon, Typica, and even the delicate and highly prized Geisha (perfectdailygrind).
For other coffee farmers with effort to improve coffee quality, instead of cultivating more and more varieties besides predominantly Robusta or Catimor, they focus on develop better quality for Catimor by cultivating and processing.
Improving production method for the best specialty coffee in Vietnam
Vietnamese producers are also working on improving their selection and processing techniques. This focus on improvement begins at harvest time. They have begun to employ more careful harvesting techniques, and better post-harvest quality controls are increasingly being implemented. The traditional picking technique, which means that ripe and unripe coffee is strip picked before being spread, unsorted for defects, on tarps to dry in the sun, is gradually replaced by a much selective procedure.
Other producers are even venturing into advanced processing to increase harvest quality and, ultimately, sale price. Some producers are controlling fermentation with on yeast or enzymes, others are using anaerobic fermentation. Although these efforts are being made on small lots, these producers are looking for ways to improve the entire coffee crop. New processing methods are always risky and costly – but with the positive encouragement of the Vietnamese government, the future of Vietnamese coffee is sure to be a high-quality coffee market.
Viego Global – Your trusted sourcing partner in Vietnam
Are you sourcing coffee beans from Vietnam? Do you need a source of high quality coffee? If you want to connect with any qualified coffee producers in Vietnam that pay strict attention to their beans, please comment below so we could help you out easily. Being presence at the factory location, Viego has the capability to professionally source, manufacture and execute order providing maximum benefit to our clients in terms of delivering a wide range of products at the best competitive pricing. Please contact us HERE for further support!