Shin Coffee, Hồ Huấn Nghiệp

A drawing of a Syphon, taken from the wall of Shin Coffee Roastery in Ho Chi Minh City.Shin Coffee is a small, local roaster/coffee shop chain in the Vietnamese capital, Ho Chi Minh City, which I discovered on my visit there this time last year, it having been recommended to me by Vietnam Coffee Republic. This is one of two branches a few blocks apart in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll also find the likes of The Workshop Coffee. Unlike the branch on Nguyễn Thiệp, which is purely a coffee shop, this is the original, dating from 2015, and doubles as the roastery, with a pair of roasters behind a glass wall at the back.

Shin Coffee seems to specialise in long, thin spaces and this is no different. Although not quite as elegant as Nguyễn Thiệp, it’s pretty close and has a very similar look, feel and design, as well as offering the same coffee choices and menu. Shin only roasts Arabica beans, with a range of Vietnamese blends and a few single-origins from both Vietnam and around the world. There’s a traditional espresso-based menu (using a blend of Ethiopian and Vietnamese coffee), along with decaf, plus there’s filter through V60, Syphon, Aeropress and Cafetiere, as well as traditional Vietnamese filter coffee.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On a busy street in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City stands this narrow, two storey facade.
  • It's Shin Coffee, by the way. Stepping inside, it's very long and narrow.
  • There's a pair of narrow windows and a glass door, making the whole front glass.
  • If you want to experience some sunshine, this is a good place to sit, in one of the three...
  • ... paddd benches that surround the coffee table at the front.
  • Next comes the counter, which takes up much of the left-hand side downstairs.
  • There's more seating beyond the counter, but opposite it are just some retail shelves.
  • Of course, you can always sit at the counter itself, particularly good for barista-watching.
  • At the end of the counter, a row of four two-person tables runs down the rght-hand wall.
  • Three of the tables with an interesting mural on the exposed brick wall.
  • There's also an eight-person communal table on the left beyond the counter.
  • Shin Coffee is a roaster too and this, in the store's back third, is where the magic happens.
  • Just before the roastery, which is off behind a glass screen, stairs lead off to the left.
  • These are decorated by chalk drawings on two walls, illustrating the various processes...
  • ... that tell coffee's story from plant to cup.
  • At the top of the stairs, threre's more seating, stretching off to the front of the store.
  • This starts with a pair of sofas and lots of armchairs around a couple of coffee tables.
  • The sofas, with the stairs behind them, as seen from the other side.
  • Beyond that, a C-shaped bar runs around a light-well over-looking the counter.
  • There are three seats along the short side, giving great views of the counter below.
  • Six more chairs line the long side, providing more views...
  • ... while there are three more at the far end, beyond which is a window bar at the front.
  • This runs the full width of the windows, providing four more seats, plus daylight!
  • The view of the counter from the front.
  • Someone's happy to be in the picture! Normally people run for cover!
  • I loved the decoration on the walls. This mural, with different coffee drinks, is upstairs.
  • Just in case anyone asks, yes, unicorns are real.
  • This gorgeous drawing is on the opposite wall...
  • ... while this also adorns the walls upstairs.
  • As does this. Syphon, anyone?
  • Meanwhile, spanning upstairs and down, this world map is on the wall behind the counter.
  • Since there's not much natural light, Shin has lots and lots (and lots) of lights.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot (from upstars).
  • Back downstairs, and I loved the tiles on the floor by the counter.
  • The wall opposite the counter is given over to retail shelves.
  • All the usual bits and pieces are for sale, including...
  • ... coffee beans! All roasted on-site, of course.
  • There's a comprehensive price list.
  • Talking of which, there's also a comprehensive menu: filter, left; espresso, right.
  • So, to business. The two-group La Marzocco Strada is at the front of the counter...
  • ... so if you sit along the side of the counter, you get a good view of it in action.
  • You can also get a good view from upstairs.
  • Meanwhile, further down the counter, you can watch the staff prepare the pour-overs.
  • I'm reliably informed that if you don't turn up last thing in the evening, this is full of cakes.
  • As it was, I had the last pain au chocolate...
  • ... and a V60 of a Catamor varietal from Shin's own farm in Vietnam!
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The Shin Coffee roastery is on the busy Hồ Huấn Nghiệp, one of several radial streets running off the roundabout by the river. Spread over two storeys, it presents a very narrow street front, which is pretty much all glass. Inside, however, it goes a long way back.

You enter via a glass door on the right-hand side. Ahead of you, on the left, the counter dominates the front of the store, although there is a C-shaped arrangement of padded benches between counter and window. You can also sit at the counter on one of ten bar chairs, which is ideal for barista-watching.

If you make your way towards the end of the counter, past multiple retail shelves on the right-hand wall, you’ll reach a row of four two-person tables on the right, while opposite them on the left is an eight-person communal table which takes up where the counter leaves off. Behind it is a set of box shelves with more coffee making paraphernalia, although this is only for display.

Beyond this, a set of stairs on the left heads up before doubling back on itself, while beyond the stairs, a glass wall separates coffee shop from roastery, a neat featuring meaning that you can watch the roasters (there are two of them, along with a pair of sample roasters) in action.

Although the downstairs is lovely, the upstairs is awesome, the seating running from the stairs to the windows at the front. A pair of sofas opposite a line of comfy chairs comes first, situated above the communal table downstairs. Next there is a C-shaped bar, lined with bar-chairs, which runs around the edge of a light-well above the counter, providing more barista-watching opportunities. If you want to watch coffee being made, this is the place to go, particularly at the back, where you get a great view of the espresso machine at the other end of the counter. Finally there is a four-person window-bar right at the front, overlooking the street.

The look and feel is slightly darker than in the branch on Nguyễn Thiệp, with a black-painted ceiling and a concrete floor downstairs. There’s plenty of exposed brick though, as well as the customary map on the wall behind the counter and another coffee story on the stairwell. There is, of course, full table service, with a glass water provided when you arrive, which is constantly topped up. Naturally, you pay when you leave, although you need to go to the till at the far end of the counter.

I arrived late in the day and had the last pain au chocolate, which was excellent. I paired this, at the barista’s recommendation, with a V60 using a Catimor varietal from Shin Coffee’s own farm in Vietnam, which was pretty neat. My coffee was very good, but it took a disappointing 20 minutes to arrive, surprising since it didn’t seem that busy. A very drinkable coffee, it was smooth and well-balanced, served in an outstandingly pretty cup.

18 HO HUAN NGHIEP • QUAN 1 • HO CHÍ MINH CITY • VIETNAM +84 98 902 43 62
Monday 07:30 – 23:00 Roaster Shin Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 23:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Counter (dowstairs), Window Bar, Bar, Sofas, Armchairs (upstairs)
Wednesday 07:30 – 23:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 07:30 – 23:00 Service Table
Friday 07:30 – 23:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 07:30 – 23:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 07:30 – 23:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 11th June 2017

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3 thoughts on “Shin Coffee, Hồ Huấn Nghiệp

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