Attention coffee lovers! If you’re a fan of that magical bean brew, you’re in for a treat in Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital. This place is a paradise for anyone who’s serious about their caffeine fix. Hanoi’s café scene isn’t just a trend – it’s a window into the city’s lively social life, its vibrant energy, and its deep-rooted history. Hanoi boasts an array of cafes that aren’t just about serving coffee; they’re about creating a whole experience. Wherever you turn, you won’t be far from a cozy coffee spot. And here’s a little local tip: a cup of coffee goes best with a touch of condensed milk – it’s a Hanoi tradition that adds sweetness to every sip.
Picture this: you, on a café balcony, Hanoi’s bustling streets below, and a refreshing Ca Phe Sua Da in hand. It’s a snapshot of the city’s rhythm, where you can slow down and truly savor the moment. From classic egg coffee to innovative coconut concoctions, whether you like it piping hot or ice-cold, Hanoi’s cafes have something to awaken your taste buds.
With so many amazing cafes in Hanoi, we’ve done the groundwork for you. We’ve explored the streets, sampled the blends, and found the standout spots. From trendy hangouts along the road to hidden gems tucked away in corners, these are our top picks among the cafes in Hanoi. So, pull up a chair and dive into the delightful world of Vietnamese coffee!
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Coffee Culture in Vietnam: A Rich Blend of History and Flavor
Describing Vietnam as a country that runs on coffee would be an understatement. In fact, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world, which shows just how serious they are about their coffee business.
Vietnam’s coffee culture is a unique combination of historical influences and the country’s own creative spirit. Though not a native crop, coffee has found a passionate home in Vietnam, becoming an integral part of daily life and a symbol of social interaction.
Before coffee came along, the people of Vietnam were a nation of tea drinkers. The introduction of coffee to Vietnam can be traced back to the French colonial period in the 19th century. French missionaries and colonists brought coffee plants to Vietnam, primarily in the regions of Da Lat and the Central Highlands. The climate and topography of these areas were found to be suitable for coffee cultivation, leading to the establishment of Vietnam as a coffee-producing nation.
The café scene in Vietnam is a blend of tradition and modernity. On one hand, you’ll find traditional sidewalk cafes where locals gather to sip their coffee while watching the world go by. These small, unassuming establishments are more than just places to drink; they are social hubs where conversations flow freely, ideas are exchanged, and friendships are forged. On the other hand, there’s a growing trend of chic, contemporary coffee shops that cater to younger generations with unique designs and innovative coffee creations.
In recent years, Vietnam has emerged as one of the world’s largest coffee exporters, right behind Brazil, known especially for its Robusta beans. This success on the global stage is a testament to the country’s dedication to perfecting its coffee production methods and maintaining the authenticity of its coffee culture.
Exploring the Art of Vietnamese Coffee: The Traditional Tin Filter Brew
When you explore the vibrant coffee scene of Vietnam, you’ll discover a truly unique brewing method that centers around a special tool known as the tin filter, or “phin.” Usually placed on top of a clear glass cup.
The tin filter has three parts: a perforated plate, a screw-on press, and a brewing chamber. Coarsely ground Vietnamese coffee, often derived from robusta beans, is carefully placed in the brewing chamber. Onto boiled water is gently poured, allowing the coffee grounds to bloom for a brief moment.
Then, more hot water is added, and the slow drip process begins. The screw-on press regulates the pace of the drip. As the coffee trickles down, it meets sweetened condensed milk in a glass below. The final drops are collected, resulting in a concentrated and bold coffee. Give it a stir to blend the deep coffee notes with the creamy sweetness of condensed milk. It’s a harmonious combination that captures the essence of Vietnamese coffee, also known as “cà phê sữa”.
This brewing method showcases the heart of Vietnamese coffee culture—bridging tradition and innovation, old and new.
The different types of Vietnamese coffee
Before we dive into the hunt for the top cafes in Hanoi, let’s talk about what to actually order. Coffee holds a significant place in Vietnamese culture, and tasting the different types is an adventure in itself, much like taking a food tour or exploring the city’s iconic landmarks.
Now, here’s the thing: Forget your usual caramel macchiatos or your basic instant coffee. To truly experience Vietnamese coffee, you’ve got to try its diverse range. It’s like missing out on a key part of the experience if you don’t. From classic egg coffee to innovative coconut coffee and yogurt coffee, Vietnam gives coffee a local twist that keeps the flavors exciting and authentic.
Black Coffee – Cà Phê Đen
A straightforward option, black coffee refers to a strong brew of coffee without any added milk or sweeteners. It’s a no-nonsense, traditional Vietnamese drip coffee. “Ca phe” translates to “coffee,” and “den” signifies “black.” You can relish it steaming hot (nong) or refreshingly iced (da), as ca phe den nong (hot black coffee) or ca phe den da (iced black coffee). This is the essence of coffee in its raw form—bold and powerful. It’s significantly stronger than your typical cup, capable of invigorating you for the entire day. Unlike the West, where we blend 80% Arabica with 20% Robusta for smoother flavor, Hanoi coffee and Vietnamese coffee flip the ratio: 20% Arabica and 80% Robusta. This unique blend has led to Vietnam becoming the world’s largest producer of Robusta coffee and the second-largest producer overall.
Coffee with Condensed Milk – Cà Phê Sữa
Caphe den isn’t meant for the faint-hearted, boasting a robust and intense flavor profile. However, if you’re seeking a sweeter alternative, enter caphe sua—coffee with condensed milk. Caphe Sua is a delightful indulgence, bringing sweetness, creaminess, and luxurious richness. Back in the 1980s, the scarcity of fresh milk led both the French and Vietnamese to adopt condensed milk, birthing the beloved Ca Phe Sua Nong. Thankfully, the condensed milk’s sweetness harmoniously counterbalances the robustness of Robusta beans. For the ultimate experience, we suggest going for the iced version—Ca Phe Sua Da—where slowly melting ice tempers the sweetness, the perfect drink on a scorching day!
Egg coffee – Cà phê trứng
Undoubtedly Hanoi’s most iconic coffee innovation, this masterpiece involves a velvety egg yolk mixture crowning a robust coffee. Initially, the notion of a raw egg in coffee might raise eyebrows, but just like us, you’ll be egg-statically surprised by its brilliance! (See what I did there?) The outcome is a harmonious blend of creaminess, richness, and sweetness—a truly one-of-a-kind delight. Think of it as a dessert in a cup, it totally reminded us of tiramisu!
In its traditional form, egg coffee consists of three layers: a foundation of condensed milk, followed by Vietnamese coffee, and topped with whipped egg. To truly appreciate this treat, the best approach is to gently scoop from the bottom, experiencing each layer. Opt for it steaming hot or pleasingly iced, but a journey through Hanoi wouldn’t be complete without savoring this gem. While you might encounter similar offerings during your travels, the north’s specialty is unparalleled!
Coconut Coffee – Cà Phê Dừa
Coffee with a tropical twist— add coconut to the mix! In Vietnamese, “Dua” means coconut, and when it’s added to coffee, magic happens. It’s a delightful combo of condensed milk and the creamy goodness of coconut milk. It’s like a vacation in a cup. You can enjoy it hot or cold, and often it’s topped with shavings of coconut ice that add a bit of crunch.
If you’re on the lookout, you might come across the famous Cong Ca Phe chain, where they whip up a frozen version called “ca phe cot dua.” Trust me, it’s a flavor explosion that’s more like sipping on a heavenly milkshake than your typical coffee.
Yoghurt coffee – Cà Phê Sữa Chua
It might sound unusual, but trust me, it’s a creamy delight. This is where coffee decides to hang out with yogurt, and the result is something surprisingly refreshing. The coffee’s bold bitterness meets the yogurt’s smooth creaminess, and together, they create a balance that’s like a flavor explosion. It’s a pick-me-up that’s both satisfying and energizing.
Salted coffee – Cà phê Muối
Undoubtedly our favorite spin on Vietnamese coffee—we loved it so much that we tried making it at home! Salted coffee, or “Cà Phê Muối” in Vietnamese, is a contemporary twist on the classic. This unique coffee trend has gained traction in recent years, originating in the city of Hue. While Hue takes the crown, you might also come across it on menus in Hanoi these days.
The bitterness of coffee and a touch of saltiness come together for a flavor that’s both balanced and extraordinary. The salt doesn’t take over; it complements the coffee, adding depth without overshadowing it. This creative coffee concoction truly is a testament to Vietnam’s coffee culture!
The Best Cafes in Hanoi for Vietnamese Coffee
We’re not shy about our love for Hanoi—it’s a city that has our hearts for so many reasons! The vibrant streets, the colorful houses, and the downright delicious food—it’s a whirlwind of experiences. But let’s be real, sometimes Hanoi’s lively chaos can be a bit overwhelming. The never-ending flow of motorbikes and the busy streets can leave us feeling a tad frazzled. That’s when the city’s cozy cafes in Hanoi come to the rescue. Hanoi streets are a treasure trove of these charming cafes!
Settling onto one of those pint-sized stools, and enjoy the city’s laid-back coffee vibe! These cafés are like mini-havens, the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle allowing you to recharge. Some are nestled in leafy courtyards, others boast secretive rooftop nooks, and then there are the ones tucked into peaceful alleyways. Each one has its own charm—whether it’s a generations-old family business with guarded recipes or a millennial-pink dream just begging to be Instagrammed.
Loading T Cafe
Let’s kick things off with our top pick: Loading T Cafe, nestled in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Tucked away on the second floor of a charming French colonial house, this café’s discreet location only adds to its allure and authenticity. At first glance, the building might seem abandoned, but ascend a flight of stairs, and you’re welcomed into this trendy oasis.
From the intricate flooring to the vintage furnishings, and the lush greenery that breathes life into every corner, Loading T Café exudes a timeless charm. It’s the kind of spot where you can truly unwind, savor your coffee, and lose track of time in engaging conversations.
What sets Loading T apart is their innovative take on classic Hanoi coffee. They’ve introduced a unique twist by roasting cinnamon sticks with their coffee beans, giving each sip a distinctive touch. You absolutely can’t miss their signature cà phê trứng, or egg coffee. It’s a magical blend where the frothy sweetness of egg white perfectly complements the robust coffee flavor. So irresistible that we couldn’t resist ordering a second one—this time, the iced version! And oh, the coconut coffee was another revelation that left us utterly amazed.
A Must-Try Gem! An Cafe quickly became our ultimate breakfast haven during our stay in Hanoi. Beyond dishing out seriously delicious Vietnamese Banh-Mi, their coffee game is nothing short of extraordinary. As you step into this easygoing café, a robust coffee aroma warmly welcomes you. What’s more, their outdoor seating area lets you soak in the lively vibe of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
The coffee selection here is a real winner, and it won’t break the bank. But what truly stands out is their “Art” coffee lineup, featuring some wonderfully inventive options, all at reasonable prices. Among them, a coffee “cocktail” with a splash of red wine and the “Hanoi winter” blend stole the show—they were nothing short of incredible.
No matter which coffee you choose, each one arrives beautifully presented and skillfully crafted. You can feel the passion that goes into every cup. And if you thought that was the end of the delights, their Banh mi is an absolute marvel. Once again, the prices are on point, and the taste is out of this world. The bread, the fillings—it’s all perfection, with an array of options to suit every taste.
Usually, we’re all about exploring new places when we travel, but An Café had us coming back every single day. That should tell you just how remarkable this place is.
Hanoi Coffee Station
Hanoi Coffee Station stands tall among the city’s beloved cafés, offering a blend of handcrafted coffees paired with a prime seat on their balcony to witness the lively street scenes. But their charm doesn’t stop there—prepare for a brunch menu that’s as fascinating as it is delectable. From nourishing granola yogurt to avocado toasts and vibrant smoothie bowls, they’ve got you covered. And if you’re all about vegan and vegetarian options, they’re serving up culinary goodness that won’t break the bank.
The crew, from the owner to the staff, have a wealth of coffee knowledge to share, and they’re more than happy to reveal some local traditions. They might even put on a little show to teach you the art of crafting the famed egg coffee. This place quickly became one of our personal favorite cafes in Hanoi.
Welcome to the birthplace of Hanoi’s legendary egg coffee! If you’re hunting for the famous egg coffee experience, this is where you want to be. Nestled in the Old Quarter, Cafe Giang is like a portal to the past. Step in and soak in the vintage vibes that fill the air, as if you’re stepping into a cozy time capsule. Inside, history comes alive with an atmosphere of nostalgia and charm. The decor, adorned with vintage furnishings and photographs, tells stories of days long gone.
Cafe Giang is the name behind the iconic egg coffee that has become synonymous with this café. This family-run establishment has been serving up this unique creation since the 1940s, and it’s not just the taste that’s famous—it’s the story behind it.
In the mid-1900s, Nguyen Van Dao’s father, working at Hanoi’s Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel during wartime, invented this drink. Back then, fresh and condensed milk was scarce, so he ingeniously replaced them with whisked egg yolks. He blended egg yolks with coffee and sugar, topping it all with egg cream to create a frothy masterpiece. Today, it’s an emblem of Hanoi, a must-try for every visitor. The recipe remains unchanged, keeping the authenticity alive.
While others have tried to mimic it, the real deal can only be found at the bustling Cafe Giang. And if coffee isn’t your thing, don’t worry— they’ve got egg hot chocolate and a host of other delights on their menu too.
You’ll find Cafe Giang right in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a stone’s throw from Hoan Kiem Lake. So, if you’re in the mood for history, charm, and a darn good egg coffee, this spot’s got it all.
Discovering cozy hidden cafés is our kind of adventure, and Hidden Alley lives up to its name by being a delightful coffee haven tucked into the heart of Hanoi. Nestled in a peaceful alley, it’s a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The moment you step inside, a wave of warmth and tranquility washes over you, making it the perfect spot to unwind with a coffee and treat yourself to some much-needed me-time.
Inside, the blend of rustic charm and modern comfort is just right. Wooden accents and soft lighting come together to create an inviting ambiance. Each table feels like its own private nook, giving you a sense of personal space. There’s a staircase that leads you to rooftop seating, and a hidden patio adds to the magic with even more seating options.
Coffee here is an art, and Hidden Alley takes pride in every cup. Their skilled baristas craft each drink to perfection. Whether you’re into aromatic espressos or velvety cappuccinos, they’ve got you covered. But what truly makes Hidden Alley shine is its array of artisanal pastries that pair wonderfully with their coffee. Oh, and guess what? They even serve a version of Hue’s famed salted coffee—talk about a delightful surprise!
Xofa café & bistro
Entering Xofa Café is like stepping right into the vibrant heart of Hanoi. The atmosphere here is so inviting and cozy, that you’ll feel like you’ve found a second home. The abundance of comfy sofas adds to the laid-back vibe. The interior design gracefully combines modern aesthetics with rustic charm, creating an environment that’s both trendy and comfortable.
It’s not just a café—it’s a versatile hangout. Whether you’re looking to socialize or get some work done. Inside, you’ll find air-conditioned comfort, complete with bookshelves and soothing background music. If you head to the outdoor terrace you will find a peaceful retreat where you can savor your drinks surrounded by tranquility.
During our visit, we couldn’t resist trying their coconut coffee—it was a true delight. We paired it with a mouthwatering lemon cheesecake that hit all the right notes. Keep in mind that prices lean towards the higher side, reflecting its popularity as a trendy spot for young folks. Plus, it’s open 24/7 and tends to get pretty lively at night.
Cafe Dinh is the embodiment of a classic local Vietnamese coffee place, embracing the essence of its culture with its unassuming interior and humble low stools. Situated on the north side of Hoan Kiem Lake, a renowned tourist hotspot, this gem often goes unnoticed by passersby. Up a narrow staircase on the second floor, tucked behind neighboring shops, Cafe Dinh stands inconspicuously. No flashy signboards, just a modest poster inside the building’s hallway that whispers, ‘Cafe Dinh, second floor.’
The charm of this place lies in its unpretentious atmosphere, designed to mirror a cozy living room where friends gather for relaxed conversations. The decor may be simple, but its historical significance and exceptional coffee more than compensate. Here’s a little secret: Cafe Dinh is owned by the same family behind Cafe Giang. In fact, it’s the daughter of the egg coffee’s inventor who runs this spot. If you’re seeking the iconic egg coffee experience in a more serene setting, Cafe Dinh is your go-to—serving up the same legendary egg coffee as Cafe Giang but in a tranquil and less bustling environment. However, lately, more and more tourists tours & Instagrammers are starting to find their way here as well.
Usually, we steer clear of chain cafes, but this viet-cong-inspired theme cafe in Hanoi piqued our interest. Hanoi’s famed cafe franchise, Cong Caphe, is spread across the city, known for its military green interiors and prime people-watching spots. The ‘Communist Chic’ design of Cộng takes you back to the days of youth brigades, state ownership, and Russian-language schoolbooks. To Western eyes, Cộng’s style is both provocative and an intriguing journey.
Founded by Vietnamese entrepreneur Nguyễn Hà Linh, Cộng’s first branch emerged in 2007 on Hanoi’s Triệu Việt Vương Street. Since then, it’s been on a steady rise, with branches appearing all over Hanoi and in other northern cities. Adorned in their signature army green hue, each Cộng branch boasts cozy, dimly lit spaces, with lofts and private corners aplenty. War-era memorabilia, propaganda posters, vintage Zorki cameras, and antiques transport you to another era.
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Cộng is known for serving one of Hanoi’s finest frozen coconut coffees (ca phe cot dua)—a tropical twist on your caffeine fix. It’s almost like a milkshake, a delightful surprise. And don’t be surprised to find an array of baked goods and meals at most Cong places. Prices are reasonable, making it an inviting option. Top it off with fast Wi-Fi, and you have an excellent workspace. A blend of retro and modern vibes awaits, accompanied by the allure of their iconic coconut coffee.
Nola Cafe & Bar
Nola Cafe stands as another cherished addition to the array of Hidden Hanoi Cafes. To uncover this gem, follow a discreet corridor adorned with charming red lanterns and ascend a set of stairs. Don’t let the modest entrance fool you—the cafe’s interior sprawls across three floors, offering more space than you’d expect.
Inside, Nola Cafe treats visitors to cozy rooftop terraces surrounded by greenery and a cozy labyrinth of indoor spaces. Set within a charmingly weathered French colonial building, the cafe’s decor includes an abundance of plants, with windows and balconies framing scenic views from all angles.
While Nola Cafe serves up a satisfying Vietnamese iced coffee, cà phê sữa đá, it goes beyond that. The cafe boasts a rooftop terrace where you can relax and a rotating art gallery that keeps things fresh and intriguing. During our visit, we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon absorbed in its welcoming atmosphere, while reading a book.
Cafe Duy Trí
For an exquisite coffee experience, look no further than Ca Phe Duy Tri, nestled in Hanoi’s Truc Bach area. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after exploring the West Lake vicinity.
Established in 1936, this is among the oldest cafes in Hanoi, if not the oldest. What sets them apart is their commitment to quality, sourcing freshly harvested coffee beans from their very own farm. Don’t miss out on their signature homemade yogurt coffee—a creamy delight that’s both tangy and thick. Pairing their rich roast with frozen yogurt creates an unforgettable morning treat, akin to breakfast in a glass.
When in doubt, opt for the classic Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, an aromatic and flavorful delight that stands out. It’s a no-frills establishment that embodies Hanoi’s rich history, offering a genuine taste of the past.
Tranquil Books & Coffee
Tranquil Books & Coffee offers a different vibe compared to the historic ambiance of Cafe Duy Tri or Cafe Giang, yet it stands as a beloved choice among the array of cafes in Hanoi. The name says it all – it’s a place where you can enjoy both books and coffee, creating a relaxed atmosphere that’s great for studying or just chilling out. They have a collection of books in Vietnamese and English, making it a great spot for book lovers. If you’re a digital nomad looking for a place to work, this could be your go-to spot.
The decor is modern and cozy, offering a comfortable place to unwind with a book. They play relaxing music in the background as you sip on an iced latte or Vietnamese drip coffee with condensed milk and munch on some delicious banana bread. If you’re feeling hungry, they also have heartier options like shakshuka and sandwiches.
Beyond the interior, the cafe has outdoor seating where you can enjoy the Hanoi ambiance. Inside, you’ll find two floors with air conditioning to escape the summer heat. To find Tranquil Books & Coffee, there’s a ‘secret’ staircase on the road behind Cua Bac Church. Whether you’re a book lover or just looking for a peaceful coffee spot, this cafe holds its own among Hanoi’s diverse coffee scene.
Hidden Gem Cafe
This cafe truly lives up to its name – it’s a hidden gem! While the entrance might not catch your eye from the street, venturing through the alleyway reveals one of Hanoi’s most charming cafes. Inside, it’s a burst of lively colors and lots of green plants. Hidden Gem Cafe is cleverly divided into different cozy corners, each with its own unique style. What’s really cool is that you’ll find street art all around, adding a hip urban touch. Even more impressive, the cafe’s design is made from recycled materials to raise awareness about reducing waste. You’ll even spot tables made from old tractor parts.
If you head upstairs, you’ll discover a covered rooftop deck decorated with murals and a balcony that gives you a view of the lower level. Don’t miss trying one of their specialty coffees, like the ca phe trung. Unfortunately, we couldn’t explore everything this time as we were in a hurry – we wish we had found this place sooner to spend more time here. People say their Spring rolls are fantastic, and their coconut coffee is a must-try as well.
The Note Coffee
The Note Coffee is undoubtedly one of the most Instagram-famous cafes in Hanoi! Every inch of this well-known coffee is adorned with handwritten Post-it notes, contributed by countless visitors. It’s conveniently located in the center of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and stands out as a playful and quirky destination where guests are encouraged to leave their mark by scribbling notes on the walls. You’ll find love notes, inspiring quotes, and heartfelt messages covering the walls across three levels.
When you stop by, you can explore a variety of Vietnamese coffee options, including classics like coconut and egg coffee, or simply enjoy an espresso. And here’s the fun part – when you order your drink, you’re given a few stickers to contribute your own note to the café’s lively collection. It’s a creative concept that adds a personal touch to the café’s ambiance. Plus, it’s an ideal spot for snapping photos and creating memories. So, sip your coffee, unleash your inner poet, and create a colorful message on the sticky notes
The Hanoi Social Club
The Hanoi Social Club is a popular hangout in the city, especially well-known among expats. It’s a spot where people come to eat, chat, and get some work done. The café’s interior is quite stylish, with cool tiled floors, contemporary art, and a mix of vintage furniture that somehow all fits together. Lots of folks love the place for its cool vibe and yummy brunch, especially their famous avocado toast!
If you’re looking for a quieter place to get things done, head upstairs where there’s a comfy air-conditioned room. And don’t forget about the rooftop terrace – a peaceful hideaway from the bustling streets where you can enjoy a classic Vietnamese coffee. On top of their coffee game, they also serve up cocktails and even host live music events at night. Just remember, their prices are a bit higher compared to some other cafes in Hanoi, mainly because they cater more to travelers from the West.
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