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Vietnamese Instant Coffee: Quick Guide 2024

Vietnamese instant coffee is not as well known or talked about as its filter-coffee counterpart but it is still very popular. Locally, instant coffee is found in most offices and households around the country.

Furthermore, as one of the world’s biggest coffee producers and exporters, Vietnam is also known for its coffee processing industry which churns out thousands of tons of instant coffee each year. This is big business with just shy of US$380 million worth of instant coffee products exported from Vietnam each year.

In this light, this quick guide provides an overview of Vietnam’s instant coffee products, key brands, and producing instant coffee in Vietnam.

Types of Vietnamese instant coffee

Black coffee

Most big coffee brands offer an instant black coffee product in Vietnam. Known locally as Cafe Den these products typically come in single-use sachets, however, jars typical of Western markets are also often available at bigger supermarkets.

2-in-1 coffee

Aside from plain black coffee, there are an assortment of instant coffee blends in Vietnam. Not particularly common, but still worth a mention, are sachets of 2-in-1. These contain coffee and sugar to which consumers simply add hot water.

3-in-1 coffee

A step up from 2-in-1 instant coffee are 3-in-1 instant coffee sachets. These are probably the most popular forms of instant coffee in Vietnam. These can be found on street corners and in offices the length of the country and are basically the same as 2-in-1, however, they also contain powdered milk.

5-in-1 coffee

Whereas 3-in-1 is pretty straightforward, the additional two ingredients in 5-in-1 sachets often vary. These can be fruits like coconut (coconut coffee is a Vietnamese specialty) or artificial flavourings or nutritional supplements, for example, ginseng or collagen.

Coffee pods

Coffee pods in Vietnam are not common but are available. Most of the big international brands have distributors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There are also a handful of capsule coffee machine retailers in both of these cities as well. That said, as with most things in Vietnam, both can easily be purchased online.

Premade iced coffee

Iced coffee in a can is also popular in Vietnam. The most common is iced Vietnamese coffee or robusta coffee with condensed milk. These are available in vending machines, from local convenience stores, and supermarkets.

Popular brands of Vietnamese instant coffee

G7

G7 instant coffee was first Introduced to Vietnamese consumers in 2003. A member of the Trung Nguyen coffee brand family, G7 has grown to become one of the more recognisable Vietnamese instant coffee brands. G7 offers instant: back coffee, espresso, and 2-in-1 and 3-in1 sachets.  

Nescafe

Nestle’s Nescafe instant coffee products are also popular in Vietnam. The company retails 3-in-1 coffee sachets, pods for home espresso machines, plain black coffee, as well as canned pre-made iced coffee. Of note, Nestle has been processing coffee and producing instant coffee both for local consumption and for export in Vietnam since 1998. It’s also one of the biggest buyers of Vietnamese raw coffee and exporters of Vietnamese coffee.

Vinacafe Bien Hoa

Homegrown and one of Vietnam’s biggest coffee producers for domestic consumption, Vinacafe claims roots dating back to 1968. Founded by a Frenchman and then handed over to the state after the Vietnam War in 1975, the factory started churning out instant coffee under the Vinacafe name in 1977. For almost two decades it was run as a state-owned enterprise but in 2004 it was privatised. The company currently offers plain black coffee, 2-in-1, and 3-in-1. Its products are sometimes sold under the brand name ‘wake up’.

Highlands

Highlands is both an instant coffee brand and a chain of coffee shops. It is currently majority owned by the Jollibee fast-food chain from the Philippines but this doesn’t seem to have damaged its popularity among Vietnamese consumers. Its core instant coffee products consist of 3-in-1 and canned instant milk coffee.

For an understand of Vietnamese coffee brands more broadly see: Vietnamese Coffee Brands: Quick Guide 2024.

Producing instant coffee in Vietnam

Most of Vietnam’s coffee is grown south of Danang but north of Ho Chi Minh City. It makes sense then that this area is responsible for the bulk of Vietnam’s coffee processing facilities. These facilities produce a broad range of instant coffee products for a number of big-name coffee brands that are exported all over the world.

And they continue to expand in the region too. 

Nestle, for example, announced last year it would nearly double its processing capacity at its factory in Vietnam’s Tri An province last year. Similarly, Louis Dreyfus, which has been active in Vietnam for some time, and Poland’s Instanta Sp. z o.o. hit start on a freeze-dried instant coffee production facility in Binh Duong back in October.

But coffee producers don’t only choose to establish themselves in Vietnam because it is one of the world’s biggest growers of coffee beans. The country’s abundant low-cost labour force and convenient location, as well as the myriad of free trade deals it has signed onto, can make the burgeoning Southeast Asian nation a very cost-effective coffee processing location–See also Manufacturing in Vietnam: Ultimate Guide.

What’s next?

Vietnamese instant coffee is popular both inside and outside of Vietnam. From 2-1 instant coffee sachets to plain black coffee there are a myriad of products available for Vietnamese consumers and foreign buyers looking to expand their instant coffee range–see also: How to Export Coffee from Vietnam.

Furthermore, Vietnam’s rich coffee culture and affinity for coffee products is the result of huge demand from Vietnamese consumers. Coffee shops and cafes are dime a dozen and they can be very lucrative when done right–see also: How to Open a Cafe in Vietnam.

Finally, individuals who wish to keep abreast of developments in Vietnam’s coffee industry should also subscribe to the-shiv.

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