WHY PLAIN- ROASTED COFFEE? It’s all well and good to have genuine coffee. But to extend storage time, many roasters in the world would add different preservatives during roasting. In Vietnam in particular, even if you managed to find whole beans, they could still be toxic, containing cheap additives and chemicals. Plain-roasted is a roasting method which retains the coffee’s characteristics, because nothing else is added. This is the method employed by coffee tasters, and favoured by coffee aficionados. WHAT IS RENG RENG? Nicknamed the “Dried Pinecone”, Nguyễn Duy Biểu roamed the old streets of Ha Noi on his bicycle to sell coffee, with a sign saying “Da Lat Arabica Coffee – genuine & plain roasted” Despite pioneering this practice, Nguyễn Duy Biểu has stopped his peddling, while the Ha Noi Old Quarter is witnessing the rise of an army of vendors who sell bad coffee on bicycles. Nguyễn Duy Biểu adopted the brand name Reng Reng Cafe in remembrance of those gentle memories and serene work. Though many may forget, the sound Reng Reng, or ding-ding in English, made by his bicycle bell, is a constant reminder of Nguyễn Duy Biểu’s goal: Coffee Arabica – genuine & plain roasted. THREE-STAR STANDARD Reng Reng selects Arabica coffee grown in Da Lat, and determines ourselves that these selected beans are worthy of three stars on a five-star scale, compared to Arabica coffee beans around the world. Three stars in service, that is an important choice for Reng Reng Cafe. Nguyễn Duy Biểu aspires to always keep Reng Reng’s service quality at this level, aiming for friendship, intimacy, self-reflection and kindness between those who love, have loved and will love Reng Reng Café’s plain roasted Arabica coffee. DOMESTIC POWER Reng Reng is not alone. A number of other roasters are gradually emerging, though with different targets. A common goal that Reng Reng shares with these roasters is: to serve high quality coffee to the Vietnamese people. The paradox: even coffee growers barely appreciate the high quality products they themselves produce. They consume toxic coffee. That’s certainly nobody’s fault. Going back in time, coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around the year 600, reached Turkey in the 1550s, then spread across Europe. Coffee farming in Vietnam was established by the French in the late 19th century. The cultivation and transaction plight of coffee is therefore a legacy left by French colonisers, derelict and disjointed. The exporting of coffee does little to improve the quality of coffee in Vietnam. In time, maybe a lot of time, a domestic market for high quality coffee may develop in Vietnam, with real demand and stricter requirements. Maybe then, coffee growers will also become coffee experts.
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