Let's talk about Hanoi's coffee. A mini plastic or wooden chair is what the Vietnamese need for a good cup of coffee. Minimalistic requirement without all the fancy decors. I like that most of the cafes here are down-to-earth and original enough, not faux Paris nor any other Western-inspired interior. Perhaps it's the French influence from their colonialism history, people here like to sit along the streets, facing outside.
We did not hunt for any specific coffee or cafe, as we are not coffee-addict. However, I can say, all of the coffees we sampled in Hanoi, are so good that I might be turned an addict.
Cafe 61: A family-run cafe, with very strong black coffee. Recommended by my sis, there were many similar type of cafes lining along Hang Bo street, not sure if all of them are able to make similar coffee? Owner doesn't seem to speak English at all, so we were rejoiced at seeing english translation on the cardboard menu. We killed some time here by sipping the coffee at 4pm, observing the street scenes outside until the acidity of the coffee made my stomach growled. Yea, it was that strong, and bitter. I like it though.
Dinh Cafe: Owned by descendant of the original Egg Coffee inventor. The entrance is hidden behind some shops that sell bags or shoes. Luckily, direction is clear. Climb to the second floor and was greeted with a cafe with very simple setup that exudes that feel all us hipsters-wannabe seek for. There's no bad coffee here in Hanoi I supposed. However, we were here for the Egg Coffee. The aroma of coffee mixed with a little fishy smell of the egg, and presented to us. I did not feel the weight of the water as I drink, because most of the Egg Coffee was foams. Was that sweetness that overwhelmed me? Anyway, I prefer the vanilla-style Black Coffee, with condensed milk or fresh milk.
Cong Cafe: I guess they are the most popular cafe chains in Old Quarters? Is it because all of them can speak English? I have seen at least 3 to 4 branches. We went to the one directly across the Grand Cathedral. Did not try the ice-blended coffee that almost everyone ordered here but instead the same old iced Hanoi Black Coffee. The one that really impressed me was a cup of hot Coffee + Fresh Milk here on our last day! In fact I would rank it as my number 1! I would have more of it if we still have enough cash.
The consensus that all of us who travelled and tried the local Vietnamese coffee have?
Don't bother to buy any of the dripper or coffee powder, none of us were able to achieve the intensity and the level of thickness of the coffee we had in Vietnam.
Oh, I don't like the 3-in-1 that tourists usually buy as souvenir.