By the time I got to The Workshop Coffee, which is in one of the nice neighbourhoods of District 1 in Saigon, I was already of the impression that the Vietnamese know what they’re doing as far as coffee was concerned.
Earlier that day, I spent a few hours catching on some work backlogs, and enjoying the snazzy and cool vibe of Bosgaurus in the spanking new and affluent part of Saigon’s bayfront area, where, apart from nicely appointed and stately townhouses, I saw just how much passion the Vietnamese put in making their coffee.
When I was researching the stops for my Saigon coffee crawl, The Workshop Coffee came up in almost all of the travel blogs and articles, and I decided to give it a shot.
I’m so glad I did.
I love how the place is accessed through the parking garage of an old brick building. It’s in a really nice central neighbourhood with lots of cute storefronts and boutiques. There was a couple of high end designer stores like Chanel and Prada that looked oddly at home amid the lowkey Vietnamese restaurants, temples, and shrines in the area. Just look at how picture perfect the garage is, with several motorcycles roosting indoors, away from the heat of the sun.
I love how the place greets you with lots of natural light coming from the tall windows overlooking the busy streets. You can catch a view of the well-paved streets and sidewalks below.
Even though the place was very busy when I visited, it was pulsating with that vibrant but calm energy that one usually finds in coffee shops. Everyone is in their own quiet bubble, but there is definitely lots of productivity.
One thing that I immediately noticed from The Workshop is their regard for great design and branding, which carries through all of their materials, signages, and even their coasters (I took one home because it was too pretty). I love how the Vietnamese do not half-ass design. Everything is well thought out, and even their menus are very pretty. It’s nice when establishments put thought and care into designing these things. They are utilitarian pieces of applied art that just round up a great coffee shop experience. For all intents and purposes, The Workshop is really one Insta-worthy cafe.
I tried the sparkling cold brew, which was really refreshing especially since it was almost 36 degrees out. It was really humid, but while I was peoplewatching, it started to rain like crazy. I guess you can’t really tell with the weather in these parts of the world. One moment you are baking under the hot sun, then next you are drenched from a torrential downpour.
I spent a nice, quiet little afternoon in The Workshop. They had great WiFi, which came handy in my search for other great food spots and more coffee shops to visit.
When I decided I’ve had enough of The Workshop, I took a walk to the walking street nearby, which boasted a stunning view of the Skydeck Building (yes, the one shaped like a dildo) and at the far end, the Saigon Opera. I had a nice time walking around the neighborhood, with its profusion of nice shops, restaurants, and cafes flanked by wide, unobstructed sidewalks. I also sampled a few of the streetfood in the area, which popped up like mushrooms as soon as it was dark. I practiced restraint with the street food though, as my friend Thuy was coming to pick me up on her moped so that we could sample the city’s best food.
The Workshop Coffee
27 Ngo Duc Ke, Ben Nghe, Quan 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Part of a series on the cafes, roasteries and coffee establishments that I visited during the Big Southeast Asia Coffee Crawl 2018, a trip dedicated to exploring the best coffee in the region.