8 January 2017


Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime Mark Twain once famously said. It’s true,the world is too big and too wide to fully appreciate from a television screen in the comforts of our own home. To truly appreciate the world and all the people and places in it, we have to get out, explore, and get lost.

Leaving our own home for someone else’s is an interesting thing. As we travel, we adapt to the foreign culture and customs and begin to act, dress, eat, and speak differently.When we come home,our suitcase is almost always heavier than when we left, stuffed to the brim with souvenirs, trinkets, and baubles that we can’t wait to share with our friends and family.

Clothes, artwork, and exotic fabrics may make wonderful keepsakes, but the best souvenirs we can acquire on our travels does not encompass things that can be seen or touched. I believe, the best things we get out of our travels are memories, stories, and ideas.

When Shin Coffee’s founder returned from his studies in Japan, he brought home more than just handmade teapots and artwork; he brought a piece of Japanese coffee culture to the city of Saigon. Be it calligraphy, pottery work, or the culinary arts, the Japanese have long been artisans known to put their hearts and minds into their their crafts, and when third wave coffee culture came ashore in Asia, the Japanese embraced it with their brand of detail and quailty-oriented hospitality.

Setting up shop in District 1, Shin Coffee strives to serve their customers with the same hospitality and quality that its founder experienced during his travels. The shop isn’t the largest of spaces, but it’s definitely one of the best designed in my opinion. As soon as you step into the shop, you’ll be met by the sight of the shop’s Giesen coffee roaster and map highlighting all the coffee growing regions of the world. Cozy and well-decorated, the brick walls are lined bags of in-house roasted coffee and brewing tools, and the floor with old ceramic tiles illuminated by overhanging bronze lights.

To the back of the shop is a quiet banquet seating area where you could catch up on emails whilst enjoying a latte. Say you’d like a quick espresso and a lively chat before going on your merry way, then take a seat in front of the chic barista’s counter. If you’d prefer watching interactions instead, other than providing more seating, the second floor has a well that allows you to see what’s going on in the baristas’ counter a storey below.

Not only were our surroundings well thought out and cozy, but the coffee we had was also some of the best on our trip. The shop offered a wide variety of beans from all over the world while not forgetting to prominently featuring their own Vietnamese coffee. If Italian coffee wasn’t your cup of tea (or should I say coffee), no worries because Shin Coffee also served càphêđá in the most endearing way possible with a copper drip filter and the most adorable mini steam jug.

Shin, I later learned, was Japanese for loyalty, which was a befitting name as the shop already had a loyal clientele thatunderstood and appreciatedthe craft of quality coffee despite having just opened a year ago. Like its founder who found inspiration in Japan, I found inspiration in Saigon in the form of a well-loved coffee shop, and the memories of my time there are some of the best souvenirs I obtained during my trip.


Many thanks to Khanh for being so kind and helpful.


Address: 13 Nguyễn Thiệp, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Phone: +84 98 902 43 62
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 7.30AM-11PM
Instagram: @shincoffeehcm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShinCoffeeVN/?rf=496262737214690
Website: www.shincoffee.vn