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What Are the Best Cafes to Visit in Hanoi, Vietnam?

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A Cup of Coffee in Vietnam

If you’ve never thought much about it, you might wonder why cafes and coffee are such a big part of any travel recommendation in Vietnam, especially Hanoi.

As is so often the case around the world, when something doesn’t quite make sense the way you might think it should, you can blame the French. France is why Kansas and Arkansas are pronounced differently, and it’s why there’s a huge history of coffee in Vietnam that extends to today. Coffee plantations growing the Robusta coffee variety are everywhere around the country, with both classic takes on the beverage and new twists invented in the trendiest cafes in the country. Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world today, after all.

Coffee lovers visiting Vietnam can quite easily spend their entire trip visiting different cafes with every meal, enjoying a cup of deep, bitter coffee, and soaking in the local atmosphere. From the most subdued, out-of-the-way, classical coffee shops to the hip and trendy cafes, you’re going to have to focus if you want to do anything else in Hanoi.

Don’t get us wrong; there’s a ton to do in Vietnam, whether you’re just sightseeing in the area of Hanoi or taking tours deep into the jungles to experience raw, untamed nature. It’s taking a lot of restraint to just talk about the cafes today, but sometimes that’s just how it goes. If you want a rundown of other things to do in Hanoi specifically or in Vietnam in general, let us know in the comments! We’re always happy to take requests.

Tips for Getting the Best Coffee in Hanoi

If you’re in Hanoi and you want the best possible coffee, what should you look for? Well, to an extent, it depends. There are some cups that will be available pretty much everywhere, but some coffee shops and cafes will have specialties you might want to try instead.

To start with, there’s the classic Cà Phê Sữa Đá, which is Vietnamese for iced coffee. It’s rich and bittersweet since it starts with traditional dark coffee mixed with condensed milk. It’s cold and refreshing, but keep in mind that it’s explicitly an iced coffee, so if you want a hot beverage, try something else.

A Woman Holding a Cup of Iced Coffee

One of the most popular and unique options is egg coffee. If you’re skeptical, don’t be; it’s not like it tastes like a coffee omelet or anything. Whipped egg yolk adds richness, and the beverage usually comes with condensed milk as well, even though the origin was during milk shortages when the egg was used for creaminess instead.

Another option is yogurt coffee. Yogurt adds a bit of tang and a lot of thickness, so you’re essentially getting a coffee smoothie. The tangy sour notes to the beverage make it a great contrast to the usually sweet-bitter combination of most of the other beverages.

You can also get coconut coffee all over the city. A rich coconut cream slush with coffee poured over it makes for a much more toned-down beverage that tickles the sweet tooth of all who have it.

Finally, there’s always the plain old classic Ca Phe Nong, which is just plain deep dark black coffee. Beware; it’s some of the strongest coffee you’ll likely have tasted, but if it’s the taste you’ve acquired, you’ll find it hard to order anything else.

Regardless of what you get, one key thing to remember is that the coffee in Vietnam has roughly twice the caffeine as the coffee you’re probably used to, so enjoy it in moderation unless you’re very caffeine tolerant or otherwise a huge coffee drinker in the first place.

Is Travel to Hanoi Safe?

There are a lot of different, strong impressions of Vietnam, depending on who you talk to. Some people view it as little more than a dangerous jungle. Others see it as a thriving and growing hub of manufacturing. Some see it as dirty and dangerous. What’s the truth?

The answer is tricky. Hanoi, in particular, is a big city, and while it’s not “up to code” the way you’d expect cities in the West to be, it’s not some lawless wasteland. The State Department doesn’t have any travel advisories for the country as a whole, so it’s at least better than some areas of the world, and you’re unlikely to be caught in a civil war or anything of the sort.

A Man Traveling in Vietnam

That said, Vietnam rates pretty high on the lists for petty crime, particularly minor thefts and cons. Bag snatching and other thievery are relatively common. If you’re vigilant and keep your valuables in your hotel safe when you don’t need them, you’re more likely to be fine.

Keep in mind that you’re subject to local Vietnamese laws, and there’s often a delay between being arrested and the embassy even being notified that something happened. Most of the time, you should be fine and won’t have a problem as long as you stay out of trouble.

What Are the Best Cafes in Hanoi?

Enough about all of that, though. You’re not here for travel advisories; you’re here for recommendations! So grab your coffee budget, get ready to wander the town, and whet your appetite for coffee as you read through this list of the best cafes to visit in Hanoi.

Hidden Gem Coffee

Sometimes, the name for a place fits so perfectly that you can’t imagine it being named anything else. Hidden Gem is truly hidden; you have to follow something almost like a treasure map just to find the place, and once you’re there, you find yourself immersed in an oasis of recycled materials, art, and repurposed items.

It’s surprisingly large, bright, and vibrant, with interesting things to see, and their coffee is top-notch. They also have a variety of other menu items that are definitely worth trying.

Café Dinh

Café Dinh, along with its sibling café, Café Giang, are both owned by the sibling descendants of the original inventor of egg coffee. Since egg coffee is one of the local specialties, it makes sense to try getting it from the place where it all started, right?

Both cafes are great options for this beverage in particular, but there’s no reason not to try both if you’re in the areas where they’re located.

Loading T Café

Located on the second floor of an old French colonial building, this is an interesting little venue and it’s a great place to visit to see just how out of the way some of these cafes can be.

Like Hidden Gem, it’s a unique little place to order a beverage and hang out for a while. They also have an interesting coffee where they roast cinnamon alongside the beans, infusing the coffee without having to add the spice later.

Kone Café

Located right in a hub of cafes and restaurants, Kone café is a minimalist café that stands out compared to the maximalism you see pretty much everywhere else in the country.

You won’t have to go far if you want to café-hop from place to place, either, making this one good café to start a day or end up at after a series of experiences you won’t soon forget.

Atelier Coffee

This is one of the more modern coffee shops and has a feel a lot more like a foreign Starbucks, though, of course, it’s not actually anything like Starbucks.

It’s a smaller shop, and it’s popular enough that you might not get the chance to sit and enjoy your drink, but ordering a beverage to sip outside isn’t a bad plan either. They also have a variety of specialty drinks and other kinds of Vietnamese beverages if the same selection of coffees isn’t quite what you’re looking for.

Ca Phe Duy Tri

This is not a hidden coffee shop, but it is a little out of the way of the main drag and the more tourist-centric areas of Hanoi.

It’s also been open since 1936, offers coffee made from three different kinds of beans, and is one of the most popular shops among the locals. It’s a star of many coffee tours, as well, though you don’t need a tour to visit.

Tranquil Books & Coffee

Tranquil Books & Coffee gives you a very strong feeling like you’re in one of those local bookseller cafes because, well, you are.

Have some coffee and hang out at a table while surrounded by a calm, peaceful, book-scented atmosphere. Amid the hustle and bustle of a busy Hanoi street, it can be wonderful to just step into an oasis of calm.

Kafeville

This is a relatively new coffee shop that has existed for less than a decade.

It’s meant to be a relaxed and laid-back café and calls itself a safe haven and hideaway to relax outside of the busy streets and constant noise of the rest of the city. It has an almost library-like feel to it despite not being a book-based café like some of the others on this list.

Cong Ca Phe

Unlike everything else on this list, Cong Ca Phe is actually a chain. You can kind of think of it as the Vietnamese equivalent of Starbucks or another chain café, but since coffee is such a local institution, it’s hard to call it bad in any way.

Think of it this way: you’ll see the name and their branches all over the country, and that might make you think it’s just a low-quality chain, but don’t let that dissuade you.

Hanoi Coffee Station

This is a coffee shop in the old quarter of Hanoi, and it’s up some stairs. What makes it great to visit? Two things.

First, they have a renowned and famous peanut butter coffee that is decadent and delicious. Second, with their height, their balcony offers you an incredible view over the busy city streets below, so you can see from above what you’re usually experiencing firsthand.

Do You Need a Coffee Tour to Visit the Best Cafes in Hanoi?

Above we mentioned that some of these cafes are stars of the coffee tours. Which means that there are city tours led by local guides taking you through a variety of different coffee houses and cafes. The question is, are those tours worthwhile?

The answer here is tricky. If you don’t feel confident in planning your own café excursion, then sure, book a local guide and see where they take you. On the other hand, many of the common tours and the most easily located guides are just going to take you to the bigger names, which you can find all over Instagram and in blog posts like this one. Hidden Gem might be out of the way, but when every tour guide in the city knows about it, you’re not exactly going to miss it, right?

People Drinking Coffee

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with taking a tour, and some tour guides have fascinating insight and stories about the places they take you that you won’t get otherwise. Some even have the hookup to get you unique demonstrations from baristas and owners. Others, though, might not add much to the experience, so it can be hit or miss.

Really, it comes down to whether you’re in it to visit as many unique and interesting cafes as you can or if you just want to find a nearby café after whatever other tourism or work you’re doing in the area.

Your Recommendations

We listed ten excellent cafes you can find throughout Hanoi, but there are hundreds more, and even that might only be scratching the surface. Have you visited Hanoi and checked out the coffee shops here, there, and everywhere? If so, why not leave us your recommendation for the top cafes you’ve visited? We’d love to see what you think.

People Holding Cups of Coffee

Hanoi is a wonderful and unforgettable experience, and it’s definitely an interesting place to be. There’s so much to see and do, from the street food to the iconic railroad street, to the large-scale architecture and man-made wonders, to the scale and beauty of nature all around. It’s simply excellent, and we hope you have an incredible time.

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