Buon Ma Thuot - A Coffee Destination for the World

Buon Ma Thuot - A Coffee Destination for the World

Vietnamese coffee has affirmed its position in the world market for a long time. In 2022, despite the difficulties of the world’s economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s coffee export still ranked second in the world, after Brazil, with its output of nearly 1.8 million tons to more than 70 countries and territories and earned nearly four billion US dollars. Among Vietnam’s exported coffee brands, the coffee source from Dak Lak with the brand and geographical indication of "Buon Ma Thuot Coffee" accounts for over 30% of the whole country’s coffee export volume. It is the foundation for Dak Lak province to build Buon Ma Thuot into “a coffee destination for the world”.

Inspiration from Buon Ma Thuot

The Central Highlands is not only famous for the world’s intangible cultural heritage of gongs and the unique customs and festivals of ethnic groups such as the Ede, Ba Na, Co Ho, Mnong and Xo Dang, but also its Robusta coffee which has a history of more than 100 years. Every two years, a national coffee festival is held in Buon Ma Thuot, the capital of Dak Lak province, with a series of activities to promote and honor the history and values of coffee cultivation and processing.

The French started growing Robusta coffee in Buon Ma Thuot at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time they found the special values of this type of coffee which has higher acidity with a harsher flavor than Arabica which is popular with the French. Therefore, Robusta coffee in the region was mainly exported to France.

Many researchers and coffee traders consider Buon Ma Thuot Robusta as the best coffee in the world. Although the evaluation depends on culture, habits and feelings of each person and each region, it is a fact that Vietnam is the largest producer and exporter of Robusta coffee, which is mainly the product with the trademark and geographical indication of "Buon Ma Thuot Coffee".

Over the years, Vietnamese Robusta coffee has been praised by the international media as an interesting and novel discovery. For example, Vietnamese iced coffee has been recently named as one of the best coffees in the world by TasteAtlas, an international food magazine. Vietnamese iced coffee is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars by culinary experts, equivalent to Ristretto of Italy. In 2022, The Travel, a Canadian magazine specializing in travel experiences, listed Vietnam as one of the countries with the best coffee in the world.

Previously, in 2020, in an article posted on CNN titled “Why the world is waking up to Vietnamese coffee", Vietnamese coffee has been introduced as a popular drink with many different ways of mixing it. In the same year, The New York Times also had a commentary that assessed Vietnamese coffee becoming a national brand with diverse and unique flavors.


 Buon Ma Thuot Robusta coffee is also certified in terms of quality and international standards by many prestigious organizations, such as the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and Fairtrade, as well as winning many awards at the international competitions of “The Best in the World” and “International Catering Cup”.

The outstanding values of the speciality are the foundation for Buon Ma Thuot to develop into "a coffee destination for the world". Le Duc Huy, General Director of Simexco Daklak Company - A leading coffee exporter in Dak Lak said, “With what we have achieved, we can confirm that Vietnamese Robusta coffee is one of the world’s top delicious coffee. It is believed that in the near further it will impossible not to mention Vietnam, particularly Buon Ma Thuot when talking about Robusta coffee, similar to the wine brand of Bordeaux of France”.

Positioning Vietnamese Robusta Coffee in the World Market


The inspiration to turn Buon Ma Thuot into “a coffee destination for the world" probably comes from Robusta coffee which has been widely recognized thanks to its quality and flavor. Vietnam is now the world's largest exporter of Robusta. Dak Lak in general and Buon Ma Thuot in particular have great strength in developing this type of coffee. Dak Lak Robusta coffee accounts for more than 30% of the country’s total coffee exports, about 1.8 million tons/year. It is forecast that the world coffee market is expanding with a growth rate of over 12% per year and currently accounts for about 30% of the total revenue of 220 billion US dollars billion of the global coffee industry. It shows that the Dak Lak coffee market share is huge.

Another advantage is that Vietnam's Robusta coffee export market is now firmly established and stable. Apart from Europe – the world's largest coffee consumption market, accounting for 30% of global coffee consumption, and the region where Vietnam and Brazil make up more than 50% of the region’s total import volume, there are many other potential markets, such as the US, Japan, Korea and China which are making high demands on importing Vietnamese Robusta coffee.


According to Holger Preibisch, Chairman of the German Coffee Association, each person in Germany consumes up to 169L of coffee/year, more than drinking beer (90L/year), so the demand for importing coffee is huge. Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter to Germany after Brazil, accounting for 18.63% of the German coffee import market share. Italy, a country famous for consuming Arabica coffee, also imported more than 17 thousand tons of Robusta from Vietnam, worth nearly 36 million US dollars in January 2023.

Famous Trung Nguyen Legend coffee powder. 

To increase its impact in the world coffee market, Dak Lak has identified coffee as a key crop which ranks first in the province's economic structure. The province has developed a sustainable coffee development project for the period 2025 to 2030 to ensure a green, stable, sustainable, multi-valued growth. It will not expand the farming area, but put its focus on improving the quality of specialty coffee areas associated with the geographical location of  “Buon Ma Thuot Coffee”.

Dak Lak has now formed many regions specializing in cultivating specialty Robusta coffee. Many coffee exporting enterprises have also actively built their own raw material areas with sustainable coffee cooperative models. For example, Simexco Daklak Company has established Sustainable Agriculture Cooperative Cu Sue 2-9 in Cu Sue commune, Cu M'gar district, Dak Lak province to grow specialty Robusta coffee on an area of 150ha. This model has attracted the attention of many delegations of agricultural experts and foreign businesses.


In addition to planning the farming area, Dak Lak has also promoted the development of a processing center, strengthened advertisement and investment promotion and established powerful corporations and enterprises for export, namely Trung Nguyen Legand Coffee Group, Simexco Daklak Company, An Thai Company, Dakman Vietnam Company which have created a niche in the world coffee market.

All solutions are directed toward the target of making a contribution to raising the export value of Vietnam's coffee industry, from four billion US dollars/year to 10 billion US dollars/year. It is a great expectation, but not without foundation.

The World Coffee Museum in Buon Ma Thuot, which introduces and honors famous coffee cultures around the world, including Vietnamese coffee.

Robusta coffee accounts for over 90% of the coffee growing areas in Vietnam. Buon Ma Thuot Robusta coffee has a beautiful amber color, strong aroma and rich taste. This type of coffee can be used pure or mixed in different ways, such as black coffee, iced milk coffee, egg coffee or salted coffee.

According to the orientation, Dak Lak will have 1,060ha of Robusta coffee by 2025, and 2,120ha by 2030. The output is expected to reach 1,500tons in 2030.

Story: Thanh Hoa/VNP Photos: Thanh Hoa & Trinh Bo Translated by Hong Hanh