What started out as a couch conversation is now a completed family project. Owner Tam Nguyen collaborated with his sister Phuong and brother-in-law Bruce to come up with an establishment where they can share their love for quality coffee, and a cosy, fun space. The planning and execution took them about three months, but the interest in coffee and serving the people is rooted way back. Indeed, Vietcetera Café is what they have envisioned. “We were just joking about opening a café, but one thing led to another and here we are,” says Tam.

 

The Vision

 

The name Vietcetera is from a website created by a team dedicated to introducing the new Vietnam to local and international readers. When asked about the meaning behind it, Tam gave the equation Vietnam + etcetera = Vietcetera.

 

“It started as a website, and now it’s a café,” he says. “The idea is to elevate Vietnam’s global brand. We want to show the different stories and projects happening here in Vietnam. There have been many changes, so we want to show what the new Vietnam is like.”

 

The café has a very clean and comfortable feel to it. The atmosphere is also welcoming, much like the team behind it. Bruce, the lead barista, shares how proud he is of his team.

 

“Their passion for coffee goes way beyond the preparation. They willingly learnt everything about the coffee, from the bean, the processing, to the mixing of the drink.”

 

The café offers drinks, some pastries from a local supplier, and desserts like cheese tarts, marble bread, and flan which are baked fresh by Phuong, the baker and head roaster. Their busiest time of the day is in the morning when customers — both locals and foreigners —grab a cup of hot Americano at VND40,000 or a latte at VND58,000.

 

They also have their own version of the Vietnamese-style coffee, which they call Saigon Siblings for VND40,000 and VND59,000 for the ice-blended one. The Saigon Siblings has a nice blend of bitterness from the Arabica beans and sweetness from the milk. Teas from local and international suppliers are also served, with prices ranging from VND45,000 to VND55,000 for both hot and iced. They carry 1872 Clipper Tea and make their own kaya toast, which is inspired from one of the owner’s travels and is his personal favourite.

 

The Atmosphere

 

The bare yet polished look of their sign along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai draws attention to this café. It is situated along a busy intersection separating District 1 and 3. The wide glass door with wooden accents welcomes you to the café surrounded with neutral colours of white, black, and grey. The café is quite small, but it has two floors. The ground floor is where the open slow bar is.

 

This is where customers can see how their drink is prepared and chat to the team to know more about the coffee, the food or the website. Artworks and products of both local and foreign artists are also showcased; some are for sale, staying true to Vietcetera’s vision of sharing the stories of people in and about Vietnam.

 

The first floor has more seating and is suitable for getting some work done. You can also get a bird's eye view of the bar there.

 

If you’re looking for a place to rest after going around the city centre or several other districts, Vietcetera Café is a cosy new place to relax and take your mind off things. Business meetings, workshops and meet-ups with family and friends are equally suited to this family project. 

 

Vietcetera Café is located at 290 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3, HCMC. It’s open daily from 8am to 10pm


Photos by Bao Zoan

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