A few weeks ago, we introduced a coffee service that delivers Yunnan coffee to your door. Now, Shanghai coffee lovers can get their beans from Vietnam sent to them as well, courtesy of HaoHaoCoffee. We asked founder Matthew Newhook a handful of questions about Vietnamese coffee and his service, and he was kind enough to respond:
What’s so special and unique about Vietnamese coffee?
My wife & I traveled to Vietnam earlier on in the year and as we sat in a small cafe in Hanoi marveling at the millions of bikes that whizzed by I did as I always do and ordered a cup of coffee. When it arrived I took one sip and I was blown away. I looked at my wife and commented this was by far the best coffee I had ever had in my life. Quite an introduction!
Most Vietnamese coffees share a very distinctive taste, very rich, aromatic and full-bodied. Some blends such as Weasel, house and premium blends have a unique cherry & chocolaty nose. Other coffees, such as the espresso and creative coffees, have a more traditional flavor. In either case the coffee is excellent!
Coffee isn’t one of the first things that come to mind when I think of all the things that can get delivered to my place. What specifically about Shanghai led you to choose this business model?
The first thing that any coffee addict looks for when moving to a new place is how to get their fix in the comfort of their own home. Although it’s getting better now I’ve always found that getting decent coffee in Shanghai is very difficult. I don’t personally care for any of the store-packaged coffees that are available, and find the big chains overpriced, overcrowded and generally the coffee is fairly detestable anyway.
Given the fast paced life in Shanghai finding the time to search out a good coffee can be difficult, and ordering online is very convenient and very low risk,
especially if using cash on delivery. Delivery of your coffee straight to the house or office… what could be better?
Your website says that these coffees are best enjoyed Vietnamese-style. What is that exactly, and does that mean I should avoid brewing it with my crappy Mr. Coffee machine?
Vietnamese coffee is traditionally brewed one cup at a time. The coffee is ground quite coarsely and placed in a maker that sits on top of the cup like a hat. A small amount of water is poured in and then allowed to drip through slowly. We have a complete set of step by step directions here.
At home I drink the coffee both Vietnamese style, and in my Bialetti Italian stove top coffee maker. I’ve also used a bodum. All deliver excellent results — although for the authentic Vietnamese experience go for the Vietnamese coffee maker!
Ok, where can I get a Vietnamese coffee maker?
We had some when we initially opened the site, but they all sold out very quickly. We just got a new shipment, and I’m happy to say we have lots more for sale!
Do you ever drink at any of the big coffee chains here in Shanghai? Do you feel like a total sell-out if you do?
I’m definitely not a coffee snob. I like any quality coffee. However, I don’t like the big chains myself. I prefer small more intimate places like La Bella and Vienna Cafe the than the big crowded chains.
One of your products is Legendee Weasel coffee. Is it true that this coffee is shat out by Vietnamese weasels? Feel free to elaborate.
One of the rarest and most expensive coffees in the world is Weasel coffee. The animal is actually an Asian Palm Civet which enjoys, as we all do, a nice coffee. The civet, however, eats his coffee in the form of the coffee berry. The berry is eaten, and the bean passes through undigested to be, well as you say, shat out. The beans are then manually picked out by some brave workers, well cleaned then washed
and sold for enormous prices.
Trung Nguyên developed an enzyme treatment process to mimic the changes produced by the civet thus replicating the process and taste through far less disgusting means! I haven’t tried real Weasel coffee (too expensive for my blood), but I can assure you that the Legendee Weasel is the best coffee I’ve ever had!
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.