Anyone else who missed out on some sleep because of Vietnamese coffee might agree that it should be served with a warning, especially for first-time buyers. Up in the middle of the night, I was surprised, to say the least, reading about how strong the coffee can be.
Vietnamese coffee is strong because it’s brewed from Robusta beans which have double the caffeine levels of the more common Arabica beans. A medium-sized Vietnamese coffee can give you an energy boost comparable to a quadruple shot of espresso.
Plain black Robusta can be compared to a thick espresso with a deeper and harsher flavor. Although traditional Vietnamese coffee is never served plain black, it’s always mixed with a healthy portion of sweetened milk, yogurt, or even egg whites to counter out the bitterness of the brew.
Being curious, I decided to compare my coffee to some of the most caffeinated stuff I know. I had a little bit of fun doing this. What I learned might surprise you as well.
How Strong Is Vietnamese Coffee?
A quick word of warning for anyone who hasn’t tried it before; if you’re planning on sleeping tonight, make sure you try it in the morning.
After having it for the first time, I was pleasantly stunned at its sweet and rich taste, but I wasn’t expecting the boost of energy to keep me up all night. I never had that reaction to coffee before.
As I couldn’t get to sleep, I decided to find out why Vietnamese coffee is so strong and compare it to some other stuff that gives me a kick before.
Is Vietnamese Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?
If we’re talking about caffeine levels per serving, espresso takes the crown each time. Although we don’t drink just one shot of coffee, do we? We have a whole mug, or sometimes two! Let’s take a look at the numbers to get the full picture.
Espresso has roughly 64mg of caffeine per 1oz serving.
One mug of instant coffee, Folgers for example, has 57mg of caffeine per 8oz serving.
The same 8oz cup of Vietnamese coffee would have 265mg of caffeine. The same as 4 shots of espresso!
Starbucks is known for stronger coffee, but an 8oz dark roast has about 190mg caffeine.
As you see, per serving, espresso is still the strongest of the four, but we don’t stop after just 1oz of regular coffee. I’ve been known to drink two mugs before lunch.
A full 8oz mug of black coffee will have something between 50 and 200mg of caffeine, depending on the brand. The same mug filled with Vietnamese coffee tops the list with 265mg of caffeine.
Clearly, you can imagine the boost of energy you’d get from drinking four or five shots of espresso? Do yourself a favor and avoid Vietnamese coffee in the evening unless you intend on staying up all night.
How Does Vietnamese Coffee Compare to Energy Drinks?
Next, I decided to check out how energy drinks stack up against Vietnamese coffee and I was surprised to find out that coffee in general, has more caffeine than a common energy drink.
The most famous can of energy drink I could find has 77mg of caffeine per 8.4oz serving. That’s not nearly as much as a regular cup of coffee let alone a Vietnamese firecracker in a mug.
Even the largest can of energy drink has less caffeine than a 12oz mug of coffee. Now when I got into some of the more concentrated drinks like 5-hour energy or Rockstar Punched, I saw the caffeine content skyrocket. One shot of 5-hour energy has 200mg of caffeine. That’s almost 4 shots of espresso in one gulp.
What does all that mean? It means Vietnamese coffee has more caffeine per serving than a common energy drink. That explains why I keep seeing people having coffee before the gym.
Is Vietnamese Coffee Stronger Than Pre-Workout?
For anyone who doesn’t know pre-workout is an all-natural supplement used by gym-going enthusiasts. It gets the heart pumping and juices flowing allowing the athlete to achieve an intense workout session.
Now, pre-workout has more caffeine than Vietnamese coffee. Around 1 to 2 times the caffeine level per serving.
No surprise here, I do believe pre-workout was engineered specifically for the purpose of mental focus and physical exertion. Coffee is meant to be enjoyed in a social environment over a conversation.
I understand I was stretching a bit far comparing Vietnamese coffee to pre-workout. I guess, I just wanted to see how strong the coffee really was.
Vietnamese coffee is very strong! A mug of this brew outduels the average black coffee any day of the week. As shown before, it also puts a serving of espresso to sleep.
If you need more convincing, Vietnamese coffee is even stronger than the most popular energy drink.
I believe Vietnamese coffee is perfect for a morning wake-me-up, after lunch pick-me-up, or even students pulling all-nighters before an exam.
Be careful at the time of day you drink Vietnamese coffee, or you may find yourself staying up all night learning about cà phê.
What Are the Most Popular Vietnamese Coffee Brands?
Trung Nguyen is the most recognizable Vietnamese coffee brand. Their catalog offers a wide variety of coffee flavors and roasts with Sang Tao sub-brand being the most famous. It can be ordered from their official website or from other online coffee providers.
ChestBrew Moon Bear has a totally unique blend of smooth and exotic flavors every coffee enthusiast would enjoy. It’s the only coffee bean that consistently makes a strong and sweet cold brew without being bitter and sour. It’s an independently owned company with engaging operators and delightful service.
Nguyen Coffee Supply is a popular brand in North America. All their beans are medium roast with low acidity. They offer Robusta, Arabica-Robusta mix, or just pure Arabica products. They offer a “famous trio” pack for first-time buyers looking for their ideal flavor.
Is Vietnamese Coffee Safe to Drink?
Yes, Vietnamese coffee is safe to drink but be mindful of the time of day you reach for this drink. Some people stand by Vietnamese coffee and drink it every day. It’s just very strong, which can be tough to handle for new coffee drinkers. Since it has double the caffeine levels of North American coffee, or Arabica beans, you can find it hard to sleep after a full cup of this brew.
It must be healthy since I often see people drink Vietnamese coffee before they work out. It must be because it gives such a big boost of energy followed by another kick of momentum from all the sugar. I wouldn’t recommend drinking it on a day-to-day basis because you might develop something called coffee jitters.
I’m not sure what the technical term for ‘coffee jitters’ is but imagine all the caffeine oozing through your body not letting you sit in one place. I think a good plan would be to ease into Vietnamese coffee over a longer period if you’re preparing to make it your regular thing.
Why Does Vietnamese Coffee Taste Like Chocolate?
Vietnamese coffee often tastes like chocolate due to the roasting process. Since the coffee is made from Robusta beans, cacao and other flavor enhancers are added during roasting to mask the bitterness and harshness of the bean.
Cacao works well with Robusta because the bean naturally has a peanut-buttery tone. Vietnamese coffee is often roasted with chicory root as well. It’s believed that it was the French who brought coffee to Vietnam in the late 1800s. It was them who originally added the root as part of the roasting process mainly because it was believed to have healing properties.
How much caffeine in coffee: https://www.roastycoffee.com/caffeine/
Caffeine in Starbucks coffee: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-complete-guide-to-starbucks-caffeine
Caffeine in Espresso: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-content/espresso
I’ve always seen coffee as a way of bringing people together. Everywhere I go people seem to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and that’s what drives my passion. There’s always a new brew to master, and there’s always a new face to enjoy it with. Hitch a ride with me on a coffee-fueled adventure to find a perfect cup.