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Leaded or unleaded

There are many things I am going to miss when my time in Vietnam is over; friends, food, culture, the hustle and bustle of the big city… One thing I will really miss is the coffee.

Unlike the in the US, coffee in Vietnam, as I've said before, is not only strong, but it is made from a different bean that is grown in Vietnam. I think the US uses primarily Arabica beans from Columbia, Ethiopia, or Brazil, whereas coffee in Vietnam is from the Robusta bean. I read somewhere that Arabica beans have a caffeine content of ~1.5%, while Robusta beans contain ~2.7% caffeine. Despite the higher caffeine level, the acidity is very low. It also has a very strong lingering “earthy and smoky” flavor. Albeit, some will also say it has a “bitter cocoa” taste as well, and they wouldn't be wrong. 

Vietnam also has tea. All kinds of tea. I think if it is any kind of plant, grass, or flower the Vietnamese will make a “tea” out of it. I recently (during Tet Holiday) had the honor of being given a gift of the most expensive tea in Vietnam - Lotus flower tea. 

Interestingly, lotus flower tea is not made from the lotus flower - per se. To make lotus flower tea, they take regular green tea (from a tea bush) and pollen from the lotus flower and…well watch this short video to see how it's done:  

This green tea infused with the sweet fragrance of the lotus flower is beyond description… now I'm not a big fan of tea, although I have certainly drank my fair share of it over the past 9 months (tea is ubiquitous and instead of getting free water at a restaurant when you sit down, you get tea), but lotus tea? I will drink lotus tea any chance I can get my hands on it. 

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for me (I don't need a tea addiction in addition to my coffee addiction), the lotus flower only blooms in July/August, and only the pollen is used in making the tea which means it is not readily available year-round; and mostly it is reserved for special occasions like Tet.

Lotus tea is steeped in a ceramic teapot and served in ceramic tea cups…never in porcelain pots/cups. Tradition, yes, but being as the tea is “infused” in ceramic pots, it makes sense.

Did I mention the Vietnamese will make tea out of anything that grows? (see below). Also note in the picture - when you go to a coffee shop, they will bring you a free glass of tea (usually green) while you wait for your order of coffee or tea? Note the glass of green tea next to the flower tea below. You'll also see I'm feeding my coffee addiction while my friend takes better care of her health with a glass of caffeine free tea.

glass of tea made out of fowers
picture of wood table with tea and coffee




JULY, p. 9

AUGUST, p. 9


OCTOBER,  p.g 2,  p. 3, p. 4

NOVEMBER p.2, p.3, p.4, p.5, p.6, p.7

DECEMBER p.2, p.3, p.4, p.5 p.6, p.7, p.8


FEBRUARY, p.2, p.3, p.4, p.5, 

MARCH p.2, p.4