November 4, 2019
Our chat with Nguyen Mong Thu, the founder of The Coffee Tree in Vietnam, was quite unique. You may have spotted The Coffee Tree brand all over social media networks recently as the company prepared in earnest for its launch in Vietnam. This latest coffee brand appeared to stand out with its fresh vision about coffee that was both innovative but also stressed affordability. In preparation for our meeting, Thu arranged kindly for freshly roasted samples to be delivered ahead of the chat where she would share the story of this natural coffee brand, freshly launched in HCMC. And yes, after tasting it, this coffee is really worth the detour. Spotlight on a new generation of producers – distributors in Vietnam who bring dynamism and a breath of fresh air into a traditionally conservative Vietnamese sector.
Thu, can you tell us a bit about your connection to the coffee world?
Coffee is a matter of passion. The ways to prepare it, to consume it are so multiple that one could write a thesis on the subject! Everyone says a few times a day, “Let’s go to the coffee shop” or ” Let’s have a coffee at home”. Coffee is synonymous with hospitality and relaxation and, moreover, it punctuates our days. From these reflections and after tasting many cups of Vietnamese coffee since my childhood, I decided to learn a little more about this noble product and to follow training that led me to the creation of ‘The Coffee Tree’.
What types of coffee varieties do you produce?
Our business is still new and relatively small compares to others. So far, we have two different types of coffee: a mixture of Expresso coffee in grain and a ground mixture adapted to espresso machines, to enjoy a traditional Vietnamese espresso black coffee or with milk.
Your coffee differs from others. What’s its specificity?
Many people love coffee, but can not tolerate a very strong coffee all day long. Our coffee, which is strong and sweet at the same time and very aromatic, is particularly popular with women and men who favor a less aggressive coffee.
How did you select the first coffees for The Tree Coffee? The aromatic side seems to be important. Was it one of the criteria?
Yes indeed, the aroma for me is a very important factor because it’s the signature of our coffee. I want people to realize the quality and essence of our product through its aroma. To obtain this aroma, we first choose quality mature beans picked by hand from successful harvests. The aroma depends on various very meticulous processes and techniques, specially concerning the roasting process, because it’s the roasting that will awaken the aroma to a great extent.
What type of roasting do you use?
We use raw coffee beans without chemical additives to give a pure coffee taste. To do a good coffee, to buy raw beans and roast them is not enough. Roasting is a complex art almost similar to winemaking. For our coffee, we chose a medium roast to obtain a rich aromatic taste with a very small hint of bitterness.
If you had to describe The Tree coffees, how would you describe it?
Balanced with a very slight taste of caramel and chocolate, a mild to medium acidity, a bit like a standard Italian espresso.
When you are a newbie on the market, what are the main challenges? What do you bet on for your success?
As a small start-up entering in the coffee world, it is very difficult at first to educate consumers and push them to like our products. Although the road is sometimes difficult, we remain inspired and we continue to choose quality products and services to satisfy our customers.
What’s your next project?
To develop our product range and set up the sale of espresso coffee machines for exclusive distribution in Vietnam.
Your favorite coffee specialty?
I love to cook. I regularly bake a lot of cakes for the weekend. Tiramisu is the desert that my customers love the most thanks to the good coffee I use. In general, people love coffee-flavored cakes, and I often exchange with them recipes, such as coffee ice cream, coffee Panna Cotta, coffee cookies, etc.
If you buy 10 kg of coffee per month, The Coffee Tree offers you a Krups coffee machine!
More info on The Coffee Tree HERE