3 June 2017
The Coffee House
17B Út Tịch, Tân Bình District
Wifi password: thecoffeehouse
Over the past year of living in Saigon, I have visited various “The Coffee House” locations. It’s a chain almost as ubiquitous as Phúc Long, and significantly superior in flavor and service.
Now, before anyone gets testy, I should mention and admit it’s largely another Starbucks model. You can get Viet and Western style coffees here, and even some pastries. The locations are numerous and all feature multi-floor, air-conditioned venues.
Like most large chains, The Coffee House tends to be busy, and filled with students. Expect relatively basic padded chairs and small tables in most cases. Accommodation is comfortable enough, but not overly noteworthy. Music at mine today was of low volume and fairly nondescript – (English-language) pop covers plus some indie fare. It’s not a quiet place, in terms of environment, but doesn’t approach the noise levels of beer-bars either. Basically middle-of-the-road in all respects. And they even beat other large chains by giving you a free glass of drinking water with your order.
The Vietnamese coffee at The Coffee House is more respectable than most big chains. My cá phê đen dá was fairly large and tasty, and even served with several frozen coffee cubes to add to the ordinary ice-cube-based cooling of the beverage. It doesn’t match the flavor of a good pure-brew coffee shop in town, but is probably about as close as you’ll come in a large-scale chain. Perhaps the biggest difference is price: an iced black coffee at The Coffee House will cost you 39,000 đ – about double what you should pay at a good outdoor small-town shop in Saigon.
Verdict: Much as I rail against big chain shops on this thread, The Coffee House seems to be one of the best such shops on offer. It’s pricy compared to smaller shops, but that is its primary shortcoming. If you need a little air-conditioning, don’t be afraid to stop in at The Coffee House.