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Vietnamese civet coffee

Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter but its coffee has a low international reputation and much of it ends up in instant coffee brews.  In fact, there is a substantial coffee culture in Vietnam with (non-alcohol serving) coffee shops operating everywhere (I made the unspeakably bad error of judgment of asking for a beer in one – I got it though the owner had to raid her husband’s supplies!).  Vietnamese coffee does take a bit of getting used to –  it has a thick somewhat chocolatey taste and is quite strong. But, like the best coffees served in the West, the best Vietnamese coffee is very concentrated and served in specialist coffee shops – one magnificent shop next to my hotel in Hue served far better coffee than in the up-market hotel next to it.  I grew to like Vietnamese coffees and will purchase them given half a chance.  Certainly worth a trial though they are different.

And the Vietnamese do sell the ethically challenging civet coffee which comes from the bowels of a civet cat who selectively choose the best civet beans and then excrete such. It is, in fact, literally “shit coffee”.  Against my better ethical judgment, I bought a packet at Hanoi airport. Good smooth coffee with, if anything, less of the chocolatey taste of the standard Vietnamese coffees but with a fairly intense flavor. These civets “generate” good coffee. The Economist article below provides a more complete review.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2012/01/coffee-vietnam

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