Lao coffee is good, and I mean GOOD. I had heard Vietnamese coffee was quite the treat and that Thai wasn’t bad, but before my trip East this past holiday break I was unaware of the delights of Laotian rendition.Introduced by the French in the 1920’s, the high altitude plateaus and volcanic soils make Laos a prime destination in which coffee plants thrive. The beans that grow here are some of the best in the world, and the resulting brews some of the best I’ve ever had.
Creamy, strong and sweet Lao coffee kicks caffeine butt without tasting like it. Numerous coffee shops line the streets of Vientiane and cities across the country, but often the stalls on the street serve up the choicest cups of the flavorful drink.
Tucked deep into Vientiane, on the way to the Morning Market from the main drag, exists one such place. An unassuming hut with two carts and a few tables, the maestro who runs the joint serves up a wickedly good brew.
It may not look like much from the outside, but the coffee served here is on par with any fancy cup of joe I’ve ever come across. From expensive lattes in New York to espresso shops in Rome, the coffee from here can hold its own.
Lao coffee is different than its other worldly counterparts- a mix of ground beans with condensed milk gives the drink a smoothness and natural sweetness hard to find outside of the region. The result is almost shake-like, a thick as mud drink that lasts a while. Carefully crafting each can of brew, the Lao barista who works the stall takes her time to make sure your coffee is done just right. Served in a bag and poured over ice the to-go version is like your own personal Capri Sun, and a gigantic one at that.
Now all I need is for Keurig to K-cup this stuff.
So where do you find this coffee stand you might ask? Luckily for you I’ve plotted it out on a map. If you ever find yourself in Vientiane do yourself a favor and head straight here.