Trying the Weasel Coffee in Hanoi, Vietnam is one of the most anticipated thing I was looking forward to on visiting this amazing country. Having heard about this famous exclusive coffee, I was yearning to try it at all costs. So right before my trip to Hanoi in April 2010, I had Googled the coffee locations only to find out that there were originals and also the knockoffs being sold. Arriving in Hanoi after a fabulous trip to Halong Bay, I set foot on the streets of the Old Quarter and made my way in search of the famous Cafe Mai where the Weasel Coffee was sold.
Eagerly walking in the hot afternoon, I accidentally passed the coffee outlet and wondered where it really was as there were a few other cafes along this street. I finally made one more stop and asked one of them where the Cafe Mai was, the gentleman pointed to a few shops in the opposite direction without saying a word.
So, what is Weasel Coffee? This exotic blend of coffee beans is eaten by the local civet cats where they are then passed through the digestive system. It is also known as Kopi Luwak or Civet Cat Coffee in other parts of the world.
"A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world." - Explanation taken from Wikipedia
She did not speak much English but when I tried to ask her about the Weasel Coffee she looked confused and instead called the owner over which was a Vietnamese lady in her mid thirties who spoke basic English. Finally she understood what I described and told me that it was called Paris Mai in Vietnam and without hesitation, I had ordered two of them. One hot and one with ice.
When the coffee was served, it came in one of those small metal Vietnamese drip filters known locally as cà phê phin where the freshly grounded coffee is contained inside and hot water is poured into the device and then covered. The filtering process can take up to five minutes before it is ready to be consumed. Condensed milk is also served added to the bottom of the glass before you start your process. Once done, you simply stir it all in and you have your expensive cup of Vietnamese Weasel Coffee.
|Coffee Price in Hanoi, Vietnam|
Apart from the exotic coffee being sold here, there were a variety of other blends as well. Seems like some of the locals love to buy their coffee fresh by the 100 gram packets from these cafes. They were seen arriving by cars and bikes to get freshly grounded coffee from the special take away counter of the Cafe Mai.
Address to Cafe Mai, Hanoi
52, Nguyên Hồng,
If you are headed to Hanoi, you may want to check out some of the other popular places for Vietnamese Coffee;
Trung Nguyen Café
Other articles about Hanoi from MalaysiaAsia;
Hanoi Street Life Picture
The coffee culture is one of the local lifestyle here as there are countless places selling them around the Old Quarter and around Hanoi in general. I was staying at the Impressive Hotel in the Old Quarter area so moving around on foot was very easy for me.
From modern day cafes to roadside squat-down stalls, they all taste really good. The best in my honest opinions are from some of the speciality stalls around the old quarter where you get some really good Weasel Coffee in Hanoi.