If you’re looking for the best coffee in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ve come to the right place.
Colloquially known as Saigon (the city changed names after the war), is Vietnam’s capital and largest city. As we’re greeted by a stifling wall of heat and humidity upon exiting the airport of this Asian Megapolis — the only thing on our minds is finding some ice cold Vietnamese coffee and a cold shower.
Drip coffee has become synonymous with Vietnam and is a must-try when you’re visiting Saigon. The city has an amazing, unique cafe culture and it’s clear that coffee shops play a huge part of everyday life.
It’s a fantastic mix of big chains filled with students and tourists, hundreds of local joints where small plastic stools are strewn about the sidewalk and a few third wave spots popping up here and there in crumbling old buildings.
Before we break down where to find the best coffee in Ho Chi Minh City, let us first explain exactly what you’ll be drinking when you order your Vietnamese coffee!
What exactly is Vietnamese Coffee?
Did you know that Vietnam is currently the second largest producer of coffee in the world behind Brasil? It’s also the largest producer and exporter of robusta coffee.
While huge chains have made Arabica beans the big trend nowadays, many people actually prefer robusta beans and don’t even know it!
The Robusta bean is less acidic and tastes stronger, as it holds almost twice the caffeine as Arabica. So if you find yourself asking why you feel so darn wired after knocking back a few coffee based drinks in Saigon, your body is probably used to consuming Arabica beans!
Now, let us briefly explain what Vietnamese Coffee actually is. The best coffee in Saigon starts with a slow drip process to which is added a very generous amount of condensed milk. It’s worth noting that in Vietnam, the milk that’s used is almost always of this very sweet and fatty variety.
In Saigon it’s typically very hot and humid, so most people drink their Vietnamese coffee over ice. The ice in the coffee can sometimes be crushed, but typically in Ho Chi Minh ice cubes are standard.
If you want to order this delicious drink like a local, ask for a Cà phê sữa đá (Pronounced Cafe Su Da).
Now that the important stuff is out of the way, here are our favourite cafes in Ho Chi Minh City you just need to visit!
Find 7 Cafes You Must Try in Montreal Here!
Where to Find the Best Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City
1. L’Usine Le Loi
Now with four locations, L’Usine may be Saigon’s most well known cafe.
It’s also where you go if you’re looking for a seriously good brunch. It’s not cheap, especially for Vietnam, but the quality food and coffee make it a treat that’s worth splurging for. The location we recommend is just off Le Loi.
Enter the concept store on the ground floor and make your way up the wooden stairs. We apologise having to start this coffee guide with a food recommendation, but the heavenly brioche french toast here really did steal the show. Pair it with a cold Vietnamese coffee and you’ll be starting your day in Ho Chi Minh City in the best way possible.
Price for iced coffee with condensed milk: 63,250 VND
2. Whisfee Cafe & Bar
Finding the best coffee in Saigon can often feel like you’re doing a bit of urban exploration and we love it. Tucked away in another rundown building, just a block away from the huge Bitexco skyscraper which towers above Saigon, you’ll find Whisfee Cafe & Bar.
The Vietnamese iced coffee is great and it makes a cozy and tranquil workspace. The wifi was really good and the couches are inviting, making for nice caffeinated work sessions.
As you may have guessed by the name, Whisfee also serves up beer and whisky in the evenings!
Price for iced coffee with condensed milk: 40,000 VND
3. Piscat Coffee Take Away
We stumbled upon this little unassuming take away spot walking around our hotel and are very glad we did! The teenager who was working that day was really friendly and took interest in the cameras we were lugging around.
It’s a perfect spot for an affordable and well balanced traditional Vietnamese coffee. Our Ca Phe Sua Da was not too sweet and not too strong on the ice, perfectly refreshing!
They do have glasses so take a minute and have your coffee on one of their bar stools. Coffee always tastes better when it’s not served in single-use plastic.
Price for iced coffee with condensed milk: 25,000 VND
4. Little Hanoi Egg Coffee (Góc Hà Nội)
Although egg coffee originated in Hanoi, there are plenty of excellent cafes in Saigon which will serve you this frothy delicacy.
If you’re thinking — but, what exactly IS egg coffee? Well, to be honest, it’s unlike any other drink we’ve ever had. It’s somewhat like a sweet cappuccino, Vietnamese style! Instead of foamed milk, the frothy layer that rests on top of the strong espresso is composed of a mixture of whipped egg yolks and condensed milk.
Egg coffee is best enjoyed hot and you should taste the frothy egg layer by itself before mixing it all together.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the place to try egg coffee is at Goc Ha Noi.
Located just off of the infamous, backpacker crawling fiasco that is Bui Vien walking street, Goc Ha Noi is a three story cafe that’s nicely tucked away.
It’s cramped and highly uncomfortable if like I do, you stand over six feet, but these are exactly the places I love most in Vietnam. The egg coffee was delicious, less sweet than we expected which was a pleasant surprise!
Be sure to scamper up to the top floor to grab some little biscuits that are free of charge. They’re made from all the left over egg whites and are perfect to dip into all the frothy goodness.
Price of an egg coffee: 40,000 VND
5. The Cafe Apartments
This is an iconic location in Saigon and one we had to come and explore. The Cafe Apartments is an eight or nine story building filled with coffee shops, tea houses, small boutiques and even a full blown restaurant serving up steaks and BBQ ribs.
After declining to pay the 3,000 VND to take a lift that looks like it dates from before the war, we slowly made our way up through every floor and loved every bit of it.
After visiting a place selling custom tote bags because an obese french bulldog inside caught Yass’ eye, we finally made our way to Saigon Oi. This small cafe had some of the better reviews we’d seen and we opted for a Vietnamese coffee and an iced lemonade.
The drinks carry a slightly higher price-tag that comes with any random old building becoming a proper tourist attraction. That being said, Saigon Oi has a beautiful decor and a laid back vibe that made for a pleasant stay after the sweaty walk up.
The reality is you probably won’t find a difference between your street corner Vietnamese coffee and the one you’ll drink at The Cafe Apartments.
However, the building has a charm to it that we thoroughly enjoyed and definitely deserves to be seen.
Price for iced coffee with condensed milk: 45,000 VND
6. The Barista Collective
Located on a quiet street in district three, Barista Collective serves up some excellent Vietnamese and espresso based beverages. This location seems to be very popular with expats and young professionals who are after some good wifi.
They also get our award for the kindest staff. Even though they know how to make a good latte, we still recommend sticking to the Vietnamese coffee.
Price for iced coffee with condensed milk: 60,000 VND
7. Workshop Cafe
Workshop cafe was the first third wave and specialty roaster to open up in Saigon. It was also the first cafe that we ever tried in South-East Asia back in 2017! If you’re looking for the coffee connoisseur crowd in Saigon, you’ll find it at Workshop.
This coffee roaster does take their beans seriously though, so one thing you won’t find is sweet condensed milk. That being said, if you’re a bit of a coffee nerd and can appreciate the subtleties of a great cup, than this is definitely the place for you.
After going up the old staircase that feels like it’s just about to crumble under your feet, you reach a beautiful open space with massively high ceilings. It’s a beautiful colonial building which looks out onto the park across the street.
While the flat white I ordered wasn’t everything I hoped for (I have my Melbourne standards to thank for that) I still believe Workshop cafe is the place in Saigon where the espresso based coffee will be the most consistent. They also serve up a full brunch menu, which has both western and local options.
8. The Coffee House
When you get to Saigon, one thing you may notice is the INSANE amount of big chain coffee shops. We stay away from chains as much as possible, but they are so prevalent in this city that you’ll almost certainly be ducking into one at some point trying to escape the afternoon heat.
Since they are also a big part of the local culture, it seemed fitting to include one in the list!
After trying a few for the purpose of the guide, (and because we never tire of Vietnamese coffee) The Coffee House stood out above the crowd. Founded by Nguyen Hai Ninh, a Forbes Vietnam 30 under 30, there seems to be a new branch of The Coffee House popping up every week somewhere in Saigon.
If you’re looking for the best coffee shop for digital nomads in Ho Chi Minh City, The Coffee House is your spot.
With comfortable seating, power plugs everywhere, good Wifi and free iced water, The Coffee House makes an awesome work setting. We enjoyed both the branch nearest the airport and the one in District 1 inside the Hammock Hotel.
Prices are somewhat cheaper than most other chains around Ho Chi Minh. They also serve all have-here coffee in a glass with compostable straws. We were really happy to see this in a city where trash management isn’t great.
The Coffee House definitely gets our vote for the best coffee chain in Saigon.
The Coffee House > Starbucks any day!
Price for iced coffee with condensed milk: 29,000 – 39,000 VND