Hoi An coffee hotspots for expats abound: Mia Cafe, Dingo Deli, Hoi An Roastery and more – but what are the best cafes for Vietnamese coffee? Where do the Vietnamese go, and why are some cafes more popular than others?
If you’re new to Vietnam and haven’t tried this fabulous local brew yet, it’s well-worth becoming acquainted with our guide to Vietnamese coffee first – a little local knowledge of what to order and the variety of drinks available goes a long way. Once you’ve done that, dive in and enjoy – local coffee on the street at first light in Hoi An is a fabulous experience and the perfect start to any day.
So come, join the the Hoi An ‘Ca Phe Viet Trail’ with our guide below.
Street Coffee Vendors
A brief stroll round the Old Town and surrounding streets and you’ll soon see street coffee vendors at work. Similar to street food sellers, there will usually be a selection of small red chairs and tables to sit at, and many sellers will also offer fresh juices and other drinks.
In and Close to Hoi An Old Town
Cocobana Tea Room
Located in a 200-year old Ancient house, the simply breathtaking Cocobana combines unique, impressive traditional Vietnamese architecture with artistic colorful displays of authentic artefacts from all parts of the country. Still water ponds, antique ceramics, swirling incense, lilting music – Cocobana is a feast for the senses. It’s a magnet for ‘Song Ao’ – Vietnam’s young, middle-class who like to post pictures of beautiful things on Facebook. Nothing is more stunning than the second-floor views between 2pm – 4pm when the sun reflects off the Old Town’s yellow walls and lights up the green, moss-covered rooftops. Pricey but a must visit.
Gu Go (Google) Café
With its tiny chairs spilling on to a busy street, cheap, strong coffee and loud Vietnamese smoking locals, Gu Go Café is your typical ca phe coc. It takes its name from Google ‘where you can find out everything that’s going on in the world’. It’s a place to ‘tam’ (gossip). The casual nature of Ca Phe Coc is also a bonus for locals according to former Hoi An staffer, Ms Ha: ‘We Vietnamese are loud and here you can shout and be yourself – farmers, businessmen, managers, laborers all come here and feel equal’. So if you’re a rumbustious, nosy voyeur then come join the locals. But if you value your privacy, avoid it at all cost.
Le Fe Cafeteria
Nestling down a small alleyway, asleep under the dust of time you’ll find Le Fe Cafétéria. Against a backdrop of flaking paint, antiquated telephones, gramophones, vintage shop signs, antique TVs, even old motorbikes have pride of place. Le Fe Cafétéria is a venue for Hoi An’s young, ‘thinking’ Vietnamese; those sensitive intellectuals who sit by the dripping coffee and get lost in the deep and meaningful lyrics of Trinh Cong Son. Aside from coffee, beer and other alcohol there’s an eclectic list of alternative beverages: orange with salted plum, lemon with menthol, blueberry, guava, and smoothies.
Cafe Hoi An Historic
Set in the grounds of the iconic Hoi An Hotel, Café Hoi An Historic sits back from the street shaded by foliage and trees. Private, with wide open spaces, this cool, garden setting is a popular place for business meetings and for middle-aged people who want to talk without any ‘Ba Tams’ in earshot. On Sundays it’s popular with Vietnamese families who like to catch up on personal issues and family matters while the kids run around.
Long Coffee is ‘The Men’s Café’ which is not surprising, is it? If you haven’t got a long, dangly bit you may find this male domain a tad overwhelming. In the morning it’s packed to the rafters with builders, lawyers, laborers and public servants – all come here to talk their secret men’s business and drink the local brew which is strong and viscous. Any females audacious enough to visit should prepare for their glaring, staring, bewildered eyes.
Tinh Thuong Café
Wanna join the army? Well Tinh Thuong Café is right across from the recruiting office! This large, shady, open coffee shop is where all the taxis stop on the corner of Le Loi and Tran Hung Dao. Don’t worry, the screen of trees keeps the noise to a minimum and it’s a cool place to enjoy coffee on a hot day. Tinh Thuong only serves Vietnamese coffee — Trung Nguyen, one of the best Vietnamese blends. The staff are friendly and speak some English. Tinh Thuong is located close to the tourist information center and Old Town, yet far enough away to get local prices.
Between Hoi An Old Town and the Beach
Moc Lan Cafe
Just around the corner from the Hoi An Now office, away from the concrete and beeping horns, sits ‘Moc Lan’, one of Hoi An’s most picturesque cafes. Massively popular with Vietnamese – and those expats ‘in the know’ – this wonderful little haven, overlooking a remote finger of the Thu Bon River, is a perfect spot to unwind. Tables are tiered so everyone gets the best view of the river, colorful umbrellas hang from trees, bikes adorned with flowers are mounted on walls along with displays of brightly painted Vietnamese Non Hats. Bring your kids here, your dogs, come with friends or alone, this quiet, family-friendly café is a feast for the eyes and nectar for the soul. And it is cheap! Ca phe den for 10,000 VND (0.45 USD), ca phe sua da for 12,000 VND (0.55 USD)! And expect a strong cup of coffee — I was positively buzzed after just a few sips. The café also offers a few sweet snacks, though availability varies by day. Moc Lan only serves Vietnamese coffee – sorry, no espresso here. Be sure to try their lime ‘snow’ – though on the menu it is written lemon – a blend of ice, lime, and coconut juice. The taste is vaguely reminiscent of key-lime pie and can be enjoyed for 18,000 VND (0.80 USD).