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Jan 4, 2013

Around the World: Starbucks To Enter Vietnam Market; Starbucks Cafe Sua Da Anyone?

Ho Chi Minh City
Starbucks recently announced plans to enter the Vietnam market by opening the first Starbucks in Ho Chi Minh City in early February of 2013, expanding their reach to 12 countries across Asia.

The move is an interesting one as Vietnam is the world's largest producer of robusta (generally regarded as inferior to the arabica beans) beans and second largest producer of coffee beans in general (after Brazil), whereas Starbucks only brews arabica beans. Unlike China or India, Vietnam has a large and entrenched coffee culture stemming from its time as a French colony.

Also, the preferred style of coffee in Vietnam is to brew using the single-cup drip filter (cafe phin which translates into "filter coffee"), and sometimes sweetening with condensed milk, which makes a drink known as cafe sua da ("coffee with milk and ice"). I'm curious to see if Starbucks will adapt to the market and offer the same or if the Vietnamese will adopt Starbucks' more espresso-based menu (where they go to Starbucks for Starbucks rather than for Vietnamese-style coffee).

More importantly, I'm wondering how a Starbucks cafe sua da would taste like... and if they would ever bring it to the US.


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