Iced coffee in the life of Saigon people

Across the alleys to the main roads in Saigon city, you can easily see the image of iced coffee cups attached to people’s lives for many years.

Nowadays, enjoying a cup of coffee in Saigon has become a typical cultural feature, expressed through processing and tasting. This culture was formed quite early from the year the French set foot in Vietnam.

Iced Coffee Saigon
Iced Coffee Saigon | @holden.nguyen

Until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more cafes in Saigon appeared under the control of the Vietnamese. This typical drink was popular for many people at the time. And now, many long-standing addresses are still preserved and serve the guests of the city who want to find nostalgic feelings for old times.

The bitter taste of iced Saigon coffee

Coffee in the South in general and Saigon in particular brings natural love and freedom in the style to enjoy it. This cultural beauty contributes to the culinary identity of this region.

Iced coffee is one of the unforgettable images for many people living or having time attached to Saigon. If older tasters like pure bitterness of Ca Phe Den Da, some younger ones like to have a little milk, called brown coffee, to feel the sweet aftertaste.

Saigon Coffee
A relaxing moment with a cup of iced coffee in the bustling city of Saigon | @jaytranphotography

There are many ways to make a cup of coffee, depending on the methods in each place that creates various taste when drinking it. The standard taste of a cup of coffee is difficult to determine because different people have their unlike interests. Therefore, depending on the way of impregnating, mixing aromas and roasting processes, it will produce its own flavor for its close customers.

In the past, when the owners roasted coffee and added a little corn, a few drops of fish sauce, small pieces of butter to create a special taste. Nowadays, many people believe that clean coffee is to keep the savor without adding any other flavorings. Either way, the important thing is how each person enjoys and accepts it.

In addition, the way of preparing also partially affects taste when drinking. The traditional way many people use is to make coffee with a filter. Besides, the way to use the racquet is still preserved in many places.

Bitter taste or transient sweetness, the sourness of coffee mixed with complex aroma makes the drinker hard to resist.

Today, as the coffee market grows, more and more coffee types are created to serve the enjoyment needs of everyone. If you want to find memories of the old days, you can enjoy a cup of iced black coffee made with a racket. When you drink, you will feel the specific taste.

In particular, the coffee is better when served with finely grated ice or crushed ice rather than the usual ice cubes. Also, the preparation of the water for making coffee is a vital step. It is because using not good water, it is easy to change the taste of iced coffee.

Style of drinking coffee of Saigon people

The two rainy and sunny seasons in Saigon also create a unique feature in the way people enjoy life. In the North, drinking coffee in the cold season is to find a bit of warmth. In the summer in Saigon, you will see someone on the way and drop into a counter to buy a cup of coffee, drink quickly in one breath, and then go. This style is simply the way to enjoy when they have no time.

Saigon Iced Coffee
Saigon Iced Coffee to take away | @me_ca_phe

Besides, you will easily see the familiar images in the morning. Middle-aged men often get their seats in front of the house, order a cup of iced back coffee (ca phe den da), and have a pair of cigarettes.

It is time the daily stories in the neighborhood, or hot news in the familiar newspapers come with the coffee flavor. That will make the morning full of energy. Unknown since when, sipping that bitter iced coffee is the way many Saigon people start a new day.

The people of Ho Chi Minh City are very proud of the coffee cup, including iced back coffee and iced milk Saigon coffee. It is not only associated with the memories of each person but also shows a lot of profound value when it has been with us for more than 100 years. From the old to young people, they all come to iced coffee cups as an especially interesting and sincere friend.

Anyone can find their favorite drink. But iced Saigon coffee (black and brown) still takes an important role in the mind of the local people. In addition to the bustling sounds of traffic in HCMC, the iced coffee still stands out with the life stories and the laughter of young people, or the rising smoke of the elders. Ca phe da Saigon remains as a legend that lasts forever.

The oldest racket cafe in Saigon

Cheo Leo coffee shop in 36/alley 109 Nguyen Thien Thuat street, District 3, HCMC, is the oldest one using rackets to make coffee.

At first glance, it looks modest with simple tables and chairs. However, the old space and the lyrical sound of the music makes it stand out in the long alley.

The shop was opened in 1938 when the shop was a gathering place for the students of Petrus Ky school, and famous artists in Saigon.

cheo leo cafe
A cup of iced coffee in Cheo Leo Cafe is a great experience. | @ahimsacait

The family members of the store still remain the te taste of coffee with the unique way of mixing by the racket. Whenever the customer requests, the coffee from the hot soil pot is poured on the racquet and combined with milk or sugar to serve a delicious cup.

It seems to be simple, but the steps need a lot of experience that not all shops have. The essential skill is to boil coffee. If the fire is too hot, the coffee will have a sour taste; if it is not enough heat, the coffee will be cold and have no flavor.

A glass made with a racket usually doesn’t have the consistency like making it with a filter, but it smells good. When the sweetness of the milk sugar is gone, the rich bitterness and the aroma of coffee still leaves in the mouth as a memorable aftertaste.


In the midst of the bustle of Saigon’s life, the small shop seems to be still separated by the classic music. A few guests sit there with the coffee cup, smoke, and the laughter of the daily stories.

Traveling to Saigon, you will find a strong culture of coffee. You can find Ca Phe Sua Da hay Den Da (Iced black or brown coffee) anywhere in a luxury shop or a pavement store.

Take your time to sit down and taste the iced Saigon coffee, then you will know more about the local lifestyle and love more coffee culture in this city.

About the author

The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.