“That’s that shit I do like”
Coffee (cà phê) in Vietnam is great. It’s strong, inexpensive, and delicious. Drink it with condensed milk, yogurt, even a raw egg if you live that masochistic brotein lifestyle. There is one kind of coffee that shits on the competition though.
Straight out of a National Geographic/Bizarre Foods collaboration, the most expensive cup of coffee in the world is roasted from beans eaten, digested, and passed by a civet (Asian weasel creature). Selling for $1000/kg, the beans are grown and “amplified” on a small handful of farms found in Vietnam and Indonesia.
In brief, their diet consists of bananas, coffee beans, and chicken soup, and each civet “works” for 4-5 seasons and then retires with a great pension. The coffee season only lasts from October to January, so the rest of the year the civets Netflix and chill.
While in Da Lat, Vietnam, you can check out the OG weasel farm Cà Phê Chồn Trại Hầm and see it all for yourself. As we were there out of season we weren’t able to witness the process itself but we had the chance to see/taste/experience what a $50 cup of coffee tastes like. There were also puppies. Who doesn’t love puppies? Overall, it was a unique and easy way to spend an hour or two seeing something I guarantee you won’t see elsewhere (unless you head down to Indonesia).
Cost: The tour was free, and a cup of coffee is either 100k or 200k vnd depending on how strong you want it. If you’d like to purchase a 10g bag as a souvenir, it’ll run you another 200k vnd.
How To Get There: A metered taxi (we went with Mai Linh, the green one) each way will cost you about 75k vnd and take 15 minutes from the city center, so don’t feel pressured into taking some full-day tour. Our driver didn’t even know the place existed and stayed to check out the tour with us. An easy solution was loading up Google Maps directions and letting your driver just follow them. You’ll see signs as you get closer.
WARNING: I would avoid visiting and experiencing the farm before a long bus ride or physical activity. Take that as you will.