May 03 2011
I was cycling along Au Trieu today, next to St Joseph’s Cathedral, and was compelled to walk into a shop that I’ve seen before but have never really registered. The shop is called Indigenous and I was drawn in by the shiny packets of coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker but I think Vietnamese coffee makes a decent gift to take back home — a change from lacquer bowls that end up in the back of a cupboard — so was intrigued to see what was on offer.
Indigenous sources its coffee from Quang Tri province in north-central Vietnam and sells arabica and a mix of arabica and robusta — both quite strong from what the very friendly proprietor told me. Their cooperative was established by a programme set up by the Ford Foundation and is UTZ certified. They work with around 100 farmers and limit production to maintain quality.
As well as the coffee — sold as beans and ground — they also stock a “famous” green tea and plenty of attractive tea and coffee paraphernalia as well as bowls, plates and so on. If you don’t want to buy the dry stuff, you can also buy a coffee there to drink on the stools outside or to take away.
In addition to the tea and coffee side of things, Indigenous also sells a small range of other gifts. Some are similar to those you will see elsewhere in Hanoi but I really loved the fabric turtles and crabs. They come in different colours and sizes and are reasonably priced.
All in all I thought the shop offered some unique gifts in a pleasant environment, and when I eventually get the taste for coffee I will definitely go back and try a latte.
36 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3938 1263/(0977) 799 911
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