To really enjoy Hoi An, you need to cycle. Available at practically every hotel, bikes are the best way to get around and the perfect way to experience the sights and sounds of this dreamy town. Bikes are great for either speeding through the streets or for a more enjoyable leisurely pace that gives you the chance to stop at a moment’s notice if something happens to catch your eye.
It just so happened something did catch my eye: a small wicker-walled shop lined with racks of pouches and sacks of coffee that I passed by every time I headed to the heart of old city. Each time, I would look back at it in curiosity, and finally, after days of cycling past it, I parked my bike by its entrance.
It was nothing like the conventional third wave coffee shops that have become the norm in bigger cities, and more like a traditional Vietnamese café. Homey, simple and paired down, don’t expect lattes or espressos at The Coffee Phin and Tea. As its name implies, the quaint shop makes liberal use of Vietnam’s most cherished coffee brewing tool to make a smooth black coffee or the eye-opening cà phê đá. All the coffee brewed and sold in the shop is local Vietnamese such as Buon Ne Thuot from Da Lak, Kon Tum from Ga Lai, and of course, some good old Dalatese coffee. If you didn’t feel like having a cuppa, the shop serves tea as well, including Dalat’s very own Oolong tea.
We were met by Mr. Nguyen, who was running the shop in the of stead of his aunt who was out of town. The shop is brand new, only two months old, but has a decade long history that began in Mr. Nguyen’s hometown of Dalat, also known as the City of Eternal Spring. During my time in Vietnam, Dalat came up often in many conversations. It seemed as though everything from coffee, tea, flowers and clothes came from Dalat’s highlands. There, Mr. Nguyen’s family has long owned a fabric business and coffee plantation. In fact, The Coffee Phin and Tea got their Dalatese coffee from the family’s very own backyard.
While you can definitely get your daily fix of caffeine at The Coffee Phin and Tea, the shop primarily serves to supply other coffee shops in the area. Before you leave, make sure to get a mug, coffee phin, or a pouch of coffee to take home as a souvenir. To get a taste of all the best coffee that Vietnam has to offer, The Coffee Phin and Tea is a great place to park your bike.