| Dominik Osele

Our trip to the coffee fields of Pleiku – Day 2 (first part)

"Coffee is our life and our passion," says Hiếu. "When I founded Coffee24 a few years ago, I wanted to set an example. A sign that profit and quality can go hand in hand. We want to offer a high-quality product, pay our employees a good salary and still be able to make a good living from it."

The day starts early and Hiếu picks us up from our hotel shortly after 7. For breakfast we stop at a small restaurant that serves almost exclusively Phở, a traditional Vietnamese soup. This is served in separate bowls for the broth and the noodles, typical for the region, and seasoned with fresh herbs and pepper. We are delighted. After this refreshment we continue to the main coffee shop of Coffee24. On the way there, Hiếu tells us that they own four coffee shops in Pleiku and the surrounding area. A fifth is currently being planned. "People love our coffee," he tells us with obvious pride. "Many other cafés in the area buy their coffee from us." Coffee24's main shop is in the center of Pleiku on a small side street. Despite its proximity to the main road, it is surprisingly quiet here. The café is already well attended. Many Vietnamese like to drink their Cà phê sữa, their traditionally prepared Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk, before work. Accordingly, the terrace in front of the shop is almost completely full.

Coffee24 – A company between tradition and modernity

Now we finally get to know Thanh, the actual boss of Coffee24. Compared to his brother, Thanh is initially a little quieter and more serious. "Our family has been working with coffee since the French brought it here in the 19th century," he tells us after the greeting. "Coffee is our life and our passion," adds Hiếu. "When I founded Coffee24 a few years ago, I also wanted to set an example," explains Thanh. "A sign that profit and quality can go hand in hand. We want to offer a high-quality product, pay our employees a good salary and still be able to live well from it. That wasn't always easy."

The two brothers Hiếu and Tanh from Coffee24 during the roasting process

Coffee24 wants to give Vietnamese coffee the reputation it deserves

He is annoyed that many coffee suppliers in Vietnam rely on less high-quality Robusta blended coffee. "Many only see the money. They are not interested in the fact that they are thereby endangering the entire image of our coffee. We want to give Vietnamese coffee the reputation it deserves." We can only agree with that, of course. He supports his words with the first coffee that he serves us himself. Of course, we drink it first. traditionally prepared in Phin with a little sweetened condensed milk . We want the full coffee Vietnam experience. We have chosen a Coffee24 Strong The taste is full with a pleasant aftertaste of dark chocolate - very tasty. Fresh, chilled green tea from the region is served with the coffee. "We also want to support other products from the region," Thanh tells us when asked, "Monocultures harm us all. We try to preserve the landscape as much as possible. If one coffee or pepper plantation is lined up next to the other, that is neither good for the quality nor the landscape." Next we test the Coffee24 Special. It impresses with a pleasant mixture of fruity aroma and slightly bitter note. A round and pleasant taste with a slight acidity and a nuance of cinnamon and hazelnut. Vietnamese coffee as we love it.

In Vietnam, coffee is roasted using the best roasting machines from Italy

It is now just before noon. Hiếu wants to know if we would like to see the roasting process. He explains to us that the coffee shop closes every day at noon so that the roasting can take place in the back rooms. We are of course more than interested. He leads us through a small courtyard into the back rooms. This is where things get modern. While coffee sacks leaning against old walls in the courtyard exude a romantic, traditional charm, the back rooms are highly technical. The drum roasting machines are small, but nevertheless state-of-the-art. "We get our roasting machines from Italy," says Hiếu. We immediately recognize: This is his domain.

Quality control of coffee beans during drum roasting

As he starts up one of the machines, he continues. "The first thing I do every morning when I get up is check the new batches. Is the roasting level right? The quality of the coffee beans? You have to get a feel for the beans. That means every batch is a little different. Sometimes it takes a minute more, sometimes a few degrees less, until the bean is perfect." By now the room has filled with the wonderful smell of coffee. Hiếu stops the machine, takes out a few of the beans and grinds them with the small hand coffee grinder that he always carries on his belt. "Here, smell it." The smell of freshly roasted coffee in a roastery is incomparable. A veritable explosion of smells surrounds us. Strong aromas of caramel, hazelnuts and cinnamon fill our noses. We immediately feel like having the next cup.

It's time to leave

But there is no time for that now. Looking at the clock, Hiếu reminds us that we still have a lot to do today. If we want to visit the coffee plantations today, we should leave soon. Rain is now forecast for late afternoon and we don't want to be caught in the mountains. You will soon find out how our journey in Pleiku continues in part 3!

Tags: Reisebericht