Gấu Coffee Roasters

The front of Gau Coffee Roasters in the Old City, Hanoi.I didn’t spend long in Hanoi, at the end of my Vietnam trip, so didn’t have much time to explore. I also didn’t have a long list of coffee shops to visit when I arrived. That I found Gấu Coffee Roasters was entirely down to The Caffinet, which in turn I only found following a recommendation from Oriberry Coffee. Sometimes all you need is a list of one…

On a busy road in the northeast of Hanoi’s old city, you really need to know where Gấu Coffee Roasters is, although if you look in the window, you’ll probably be drawn in, particularly if you see the roaster all the way at the back of the long, thin store. All the coffee’s roasted here, with a range of origins, plus home-grown Vietnamese Arabica. There’s a blend on espresso, with multiple single-origins on pour-over through a variety of methods, plus traditional Vietnamese coffee.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a busy street in Hanoi's old city, a modest, two storey building is worth a closer look.
  • You can see the espresso machine and, if you look closely, the roaster at the back.
  • It's Gấu Coffee, by the way, as the A-board proudly proclaims.
  • Inside, the long, thin downstairs is dominated by the counter on the left.
  • The view along the counter from the front.
  • It's set back a little from the window, so you can sit here on one of two bar stools.
  • Alternatively, there are five more bar stools down the right-hand side of the counter.
  • You can sit at the front of the counter and although you're by the espresso machine...
  • ... there's not much of a view. That said, there is a pour-over station up here.
  • Alternatively, sit at the side and you get a good view of the espresso machine in action...
  • ... while if you sit further down, there's even more pour-over and filter going on!
  • The view from the back of the counter. However, there's more exciting things down here...
  • ... such as this roaster, and the obligatory sacks of green beans at the back.
  • Not that there looks like there's much roasting going on today...
  • This being a roastery as well as a coffee shop, there are plenty of bags of coffee...
  • ... which adorn various parts of the shop.
  • While there's plenty of natural light, there are also the obligatory bare bulbs...
  • ... which leads, inevitably, to the obligatory light bulb shot.
  • Turning to the coffee, there's an extensive menu. Page one has the various options...
  • ... while the second page has detailed notes on the origins on offer.
  • The final page has everything else. To be honest, all I saw was cookies and ice cream!
  • I decided to go with a shot of the house-blend espresso...
  • ... which, fittingly for my last coffee of the trip, was quite possibly the best!
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When I visited just over a year ago, Gấu Coffee Roasters had only been open four months. Since then, there’s been considerable expansion, with a second store, including a bakery, opening, while at the original store, the upstairs, which was a work-in-progress when I was there, has also opened.

The store itself is on the busy Hàng Bè, an extension of the street which runs north from the eastern shore of the lake in the heart of the old city. If you’re struggling to find it, it’s right on the T-junction with Chợ Hàng Bè, facing that street. It’s a modest spot, sandwiched in a row of taller buildings, a simple white, two-storey structure. On the ground floor, set back a little from the pavement, the front consists a single, massive, square window, with a glass door inset on the right, while upstairs, a deep balcony is visible.

Inside the layout matches the simplicity of the exterior. With high ceilings (it’s as tall as it is wide), Gấu Coffee Roasters goes a long way back, maybe four or five times as long as it is wide. The counter, on the left-hand side, occupies most of the space. Set back a little from the window, there’s space for two bar-stools at the front by the grinders, while another five bar stools line the side of the counter, one at the front by the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, and another four towards the back, where you can watch the pour-over being made. Finally, in the back, there’s the 5kg roaster on the right and the stairs on the left.

These lead to a similar-sized, long, thin upstairs space which was being fitted out while I was there, which meant I missed the opening by a couple of weeks. This will provide an additional 20 seats, plus access to the balcony which I suspect will prove popular, although the air-conditioned interior, with its high ceilings, has its attractions.

During my visit, there was a house-blend on espresso, made with beans from Panama, Ethiopia and Vietnam. A separate page on the menu listed the single-origins on offer, five of them during my visit, with detailed tasting notes and maps showing the farms/regions. I would have loved to have lingered and tried more of the coffee, but sadly I had to catch my flight. Instead I played it simple, going for an espresso. This was a beautifully-pulled shot, amazingly well-balanced and bursting with flavour. Fittingly, for my final coffee of the trip, it was probably also the best.

33 HÀNG BÈ • HOÀN KIEM • HÀ NOI • VIETNAM
www.facebook.com/Gaucoffeebakery +84 91 549 36 63
Monday 08:00 – 20:00 Roaster Gau Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 20:00 Seating Counter
Wednesday 08:00 – 20:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 08:00 – 20:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 20:00 Cards Cash Only
Saturday 08:00 – 20:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 20:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 23rd June 2017

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