Will Frith
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» As it cools

Specialty coffee in Vietnam: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) coffee shops, roasters, and baristas, and Dalat green coffee farmers, processors, and evangelists.

Mr An's Farm

 La Viet's Quang Tran, Mr An, and me, happy about the sweet limes we just picked.

La Viet's Quang Tran, Mr An, and me, happy about the sweet limes we just picked.

I’ve known Mr An for about four years and he’s always been an outgoing, ever-curious, generous, and grateful friend. He’s grown and produced some of the best coffees I’ve had from Dalat. He’s won a few auctions for his coffees, and continues to be an active presence in both the Saigon and Dalat specialty coffee scenes. We got to have dinner with him when he was in town for the La Viet opening.

Funny side note: there was a chance we could have met even earlier - his place is a 10 minute walk from where I lived in 2013, and I walked past it often. I’d noticed his trees from the street but couldn’t see the front door to the house, so I didn’t want to trespass (although one time I did a bit - I walked to the edge of his property and took some pictures of the trees up close).

 Quang laughs at how in love with this coffee tree I am.

Quang laughs at how in love with this coffee tree I am.

 Mr An makes a decent pour over, with a private coffee stash he roasts for himself and his family.

Mr An makes a decent pour over, with a private coffee stash he roasts for himself and his family.

 Coffee is a hobby for Mr An, as he makes most of his income with flowers grown in greenhouses like this.

Coffee is a hobby for Mr An, as he makes most of his income with flowers grown in greenhouses like this.

With the recent real estate boom in Dalat, his Coffee farm is one of few in such close proximity to the city center. On a corner lot surrounded by large villas, it’s uncertain how long they can hold out. It’s actually an incredible little hollow, nestled in a bend in a road that gets busier every year. Surrounded by other small farms, it’s the only one in the neighborhood selling coffee like this.

 
 
 I must be doing something right. I now weigh more than a bag of green coffee.

I must be doing something right. I now weigh more than a bag of green coffee.

 
 Friends awww

Friends awww

Behind us in this image is his “mother tree,” a 25 year old, 8 ft tall, weeping willow-esque arabica tree that Mr An thinks is bourbon. It’s lush and beautiful, and seems very happy in its place. 

When we visited An’s farm with Carmel and Quang, we spent the afternoon with An’s mother, who was joined soon after by his wife and their son. We sat and drank tea in the little valley right in town where coffee hides in plain site among flower bulbs.

An’s main income, like most of his neighbors, is through flower farming. His coffee farming is therefore able to be nurtured with patience and some creativity.

 
 The always-smiling Mr An.

The always-smiling Mr An.

 Carmel inspects the altar, approves.

Carmel inspects the altar, approves.

 
 Carmel (center) whoops it up with our crew, Mr An's mom (left) and Quang (right).

Carmel (center) whoops it up with our crew, Mr An's mom (left) and Quang (right).

 Mr An's neighbors are pretty mellow. I wonder if that house is for rent?

Mr An's neighbors are pretty mellow. I wonder if that house is for rent?