The Workshop, Ho Chi Minh

My third visit to Ho Chi Minh was marked by the major subway construction project taking place right in the center of the city and the numerous new restaurants which had sprung up since our last visit. The Workshop was on my list of new places to visit.  The new coffee shop located right in the heart of Dong Khoi street attracted a lot of attention online and I went there the first day I landed in Vietnam.

I had high expectations for the Workshop and the coffee shop shop which is located up in an old building is strickingly beautiful.

Exposed bricks, majestic staircase, it’s a great start. Of course, no staircase is complete in Ho Chi Minh without a bunch of scooters.

The cafe is spacious with great light, high ceiling and a central preparation area which has almost every coffee making tools imaginable.

Visually, The Workshop felt like a dream come true. The coffee shop has its own roaster too.

I came here with the intention of drinking Vietnamese beans and they had plenty of these.

I ordered a pour over made with what they call a woodneck (nel drip), but you have the option of a V60, Kone, Chemex and Kalita Wave. Multiple options, why not. You can also order an Aeropress.

These prices are pretty expensive for Vietnam, pretty much the triple or more of what you would pay in an ordinary coffee shop.  The service was amazing. The lady who prepared my coffee was nice and informative.

The lady prepared the coffee with great attention to details. My wife ordered an an espresso shaken.

The espresso was also a single origin.

My coffee was ready to be tasted, roll the drum!

With the nice lady standing right in front of me waiting to hear my impressions, I tasted the coffee which turned out to be horrible. Yes, the coffee at The Workshop was horribly acidic, very Third Wave like.  I did not tell the truth the nice lady,  I told her it was fine, but this perfectly prepared coffee was really really really not my taste. Now that I have tried Blue Bottle in Tokyo, I can say that the whole experience was very Blue Bottle like.

The shaken espresso was not much better in my opinion, bright notes of acidity. My wife and I were just shaking our head. We had experienced the same kind of light roast in Malaysia and were shocked to find the same thing in Vietnam.

My palate for coffee is very Japanese where the darker roast remains quite popular.  Most of the coffee roasters I know in my area still prefer a slightly darker roast.  If you really like Blue Bottle type third wave coffee, The Workshop might just be the dream coffee shop you will rave about.

The siphon set up.

It’s wonderful to see all these new places in Ho Chi Minh.  Like I said, if you fancy lighter roast, The Workshop is the place for you.

If people from The Workshop are reading this and you think about trying different roasting profile, please let me know, I will drop by on my next visit to Vietnam which I hope will be sooner than later.

The Workshop

27 Ngô Đức Kế, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam