Trader Bích & Women Working with Coffee
Stories from the Plantations

Trader Bích & Women Working with Coffee

Bích works with local farmers to improve the quality and raise the value of their beans. We use Arabica Catimor beans from her in our Lacàph Filter Blend & Cold Brew.

Bích runs her family’s coffee trading company in Lâm Đồng Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, and provides a valuable link between local coffee farmers and the traders who want to buy their beans. In an industry still dominated by men, Bích has worked hard to prove herself.

Many believe that the mass migration programs of the late 1970s to regions such as Lâm Đồng provided a cornerstone for the development of Vietnam’s fledgeling coffee industry. Her family moved to Lâm Đồng in the late-1970s, relocating from the North as part of the government’s migration policy after the country’s reunification. Many believe that the mass migration programs of the late 1970s to regions such as Lâm Đồng provided a cornerstone for the development of Vietnam’s fledgeling coffee industry.

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Bích realized from a young age that one way or another, coffee was going to be her future.

Although the people who farmed and traded coffee were mainly men, Bích saw that women were involved too, especially during harvest time when the hills came alive with the sound of people chatting as they picked the ripe red coffee cherries. But she also noticed that women often worked as hard as their husbands on the farm, particularly when it came to processing the newly harvested beans.

Growing up, Bích had watched the role her mother played in building the family company, especially when it came to tough negotiations over the price of beans. As a young woman, she went to work for a local coffee trading company that sourced, bought, processed and exported Arabica and Robusta beans for domestic and international partners. She visited coffee farms all over Lâm Đồng, Đắk Lắk, Kon Tum and Đăk Nông, learning about each link of the coffee value chain.

Bích learned to focus on the quality of the beans, rather than the quantity being grown, and witnessed the move towards sustainability and farming environmentally. She was part of Vietnam’s first attempts to produce coffee that ranked on the Specialty Coffee Association’s scale, and worked with the farmers who sent their beans to be graded successfully.

Bích learned to focus on the quality of the beans, rather than the quantity being grown, and witnessed the move towards sustainability and farming environmentally.

As Bích’s parents grew older she left the company she was working for to take over the family business. Under her guidance and leadership, the company has gone from strength to strength to become one of the leading coffee traders in the region. She now employs a staff of fifteen, many of whom are women, and spends her days supervising her team, visiting farmers, negotiating deals and balancing the books.

Over the decades Bích has seen the highs and lows of Vietnam’s coffee sector as the country has become a global coffee powerhouse. She believes wholeheartedly in the tremendous potential of Vietnamese coffee, especially as farmers continue to improve the quality of their beans, and supports them in producing the best they can.

Bích is encouraged that the quality of Vietnam’s beans is increasing, and that farmers are realizing that as their beans improve, so too does the price they can sell them for.



Latest Post

Lacàph Lab Series 2

Our groundbreaking Lacàph Lab Series is back as we continue our journey of discovery and exploration with Vietnamese coffee beans, launching a second limited edition release coffee like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.

Once again, we have collaborated with our friends at Heart of Darkness brewery, this time fermenting a premium Robusta Sẻ with their Tiramisu Stout beer. Honey fermentation in beer helps reveal complex flavor layers not normally found in Robusta beans, so expect something special. 

We’re delighted with the way it’s turned out. The result is a coffee with a soothing sour taste, sweetened with hints of dark chocolate and Vietnamese cacao nibs, and delicate aromas of wine and almond extract.

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Much of the magic behind this exceptional coffee is down to the hard work and talent of Anh Phú, owner of the farm where we source our Robusta and a close partner and friend since the early days of Lacàph. Although this was the first time that Anh Phú has fermented coffee with a craft beer, he threw himself into the task with the same zest and enthusiasm he does for everything. And you can taste it in his coffee.

unnamed4 minFor each 50kg bag of coffee prepared for us, Anh Phú poured in a can of Tiramisu Stout, then filled the container with water before sealing it tightly and leaving it to ferment for 48 hours. Once this stage of the fermentation process was done, the coffee was peeled and the husks spread out to dry in the sun until they reached a moisture level of between 12 to 13%.

The drying process is divided into two steps. After the first 48 hours, Anh Phú spread the coffee out in a thin layer for it to finish the fermentation process. Once this was done, he brought the coffee together to dry for a further twelve days before ‘resting’ it in a warehouse for four months. 

By May 2022, the beans had reached their peak flavors and, after hand-screening them to remove defects and leave only the highest quality, the beans were shipped to the Lacàph Roastery in Sài Gòn for us to start the roasting process.

But our Lab Series 2 is not just about producing an exceptional coffee. We wanted to go a step further, and share our passion for Vietnamese culture. With this goal to achieve, we collaborated with Vietnamese artist, Khim Đặng, and commissioned a unique work of art that perfectly captures how we feel.

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Khim is a virtuoso when it comes to producing his captivating style of art. He’s spent over a decade practicing and honing his skills, and we’re delighted that he’s taken the role of Lead Visual Artist for our Lab Series 2. 

Việt Nam, his country of birth, is an endless source of inspiration for Khim, and he incorporates intricate details of the scenes around him into every picture he creates. Each piece he produces is done to touch his audience emotionally.

“We have our own language, our own unique culture. We do everything with pride of Vietnamese blood." Khim explained as he shared more about the inspirations behind his work. This is one of the reasons we partnered with him to celebrate our passion for Vietnamese coffee culture with his artwork ‘Dòng,’ which Khim has created especially for our Lacàph Lab Series 2.

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The title Khim chose for the work captures the spirit and ethos of the culture we want to honor. ‘Dòng’ represents the cyclic nature and flowing repetition of life, and the artwork that Khim has created for us traces the flow of our coffee beans as it progresses from bean to cup. 

The image portrays each step of their journey, from cultivation to processing and roasting, until they finally become the drink we enjoy as such an indispensable, valued part of our everyday life. Our Lab Series 2 breathes freshness and innovation into a mesmerising flow that has been long established through years of coffee production in Việt Nam.

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In addition to being featured on the label of our Lab Series 2 coffee bags, elements of Khim’s design appear on the accompanying merchandise, including prints, t-shirts, postcards, tumblers, bandanas, and other fun products.

Click here to explore and purchase our Limited Edition collection.

BiA Fermented Coffee

For the Lacàph Lab Series I, our first release under the Lab Series project, we partnered with Heart of Darkness Brewery to bring you a coffee fermented using their BiA all-malt craft lager. This partnership, along with the expertise of Farmer Ngọc, results in a unique coffee with balanced and lingering flavors of lychee and stone fruits such as apricot and peach. 



“When it comes to beer, fermentation is essential. It’s quality determines how much alcohol is produces and how much carbohydrate remains. That can have profound effects on not only how drunk you might get but also if the beer drinks dry, sweet, full or thin. In terms of flavour impact, hops can sometimes dominate the conversation, but even in a hoppy beer, an American ale yeast versus a Belgian ale yeast can have very different taste profiles. And in some styles like light lagers, the main sensory difference is often from the yeast. Sometimes, it’s the choice of yeast strain itself, sometimes process control, things like oxygen level, sugar content, and temperature.” – Neil Wood, Master Beer Brewer, Heart of Darkness Brewery.

"Historically, fermentation in wash-processed coffees was done to remove bean mucilage. Today, fermentation is becoming one of the more critical processes to enhance coffee characteristics and draw new flavors from green beans. Lacàph believes that researching and developing fermentation can help lead Vietnam to produce world-class coffees." – Scott Sehoon Bahng, Product & Service Director, Lacàph.

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We want to thank our friend Anh Ngọc, who worked with us on our first Lab Series concept, together discovering how we can develop flavors with beer fermentation. We had such a pleasure roasting what he sent us.

By happy chance, Farmer Ngọc is a craft beer lover and a fan of Heart of Darkness Brewery. Ngọc combined BiA with pulped coffee cherries in tanks and let them ferment for 36 hours. The resulting honey-processed parchment coffee was sun-dried for 15 days to have a perfect moisture content before shipping to Lacàph for roasting.

Anh Ngọc combined BiA with pulped coffee cherries in tanks and let them ferment for 36 hours. The resulting honey-processed parchment coffee was sun-dried for 15 days to have a perfect moisture content before shipping to Lacàph for roasting.

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We‘ve used the finest quality Arabica beans from Lâm Đồng to create a truly unprecedented limited edition roasted coffee.

For a short time only, our unique Lacàph BiA Fermented Coffee is available in a 750-gram premium metal growler of whole-bean coffee and BiA Fermented Coffee Cold Brew Bags for simple and easy to make cold brew at home. Customers purchasing the growler will also enjoy 30% off every fill of beer for the lifetime of your growler at the Heart of Darkness Taproom.

Pre-orders for Lacàph Lab Series I, Lacàph BiA Fermented Coffee will be taken from International Beer Day, August 6th. This is a unique limited edition coffee with no re-production plans. Customers will be notified when their order is ready for delivery or collection.


Farmer Phú & Việt Nam’s Fine Robusta

Phú made changes to the way he farms his Robusta, and now his beans are among the best in Việt Nam. We use them in our Lacàph Espresso & Phin blends. Thanks to the courage of his convictions, Phú now grows some of the best Robusta in the whole of Việt Nam. It wasn’t all smooth sailing but with hard work and commitment, he eventually achieved his dreams.

Thanks to the courage of his convictions, Phú now grows some of the best Robusta in the whole of Việt Nam

Phú’s story begins as a young child in the mid-1990s when his father decided to move the family to the Central Highlands region of Đăk Nông Province. At the time, the government’s Đổi Mới reforms were supporting coffee farmers, and encouraged by the rising price of coffee beans they left the family home in the North and moved to start a new life as part of the country’s emerging coffee industry.

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Whilst growing up on his family’s coffee plantation Phú dreamed of making an impact on the lives of others and set his heart on becoming a teacher. But while his family prospered, the income from the coffee they grew was not enough to pay for his studies, so eventually, he joined his father working on the family farm. Little did he know that in the years that followed his dream would come true, but in a very different way than he imagined as a child.

851d07e7989c6ac2338dPhú was a handsome and hardworking young man, and attracted the attention of a local lady. When they married in 2010 his father gave him a coffee garden as a wedding gift. Phú knew from experience that life as a coffee farmer wasn’t easy, but he was determined to provide a secure and stable future for his young family which wasn’t dependent on the fluctuating prices of coffee beans. 

There wasn’t space on his farm to plant more coffee trees, and he couldn’t afford to buy another plantation, so he began looking for ways to increase the value of the beans he was already growing.

Phú knew Việt Nam was among the world’s largest exporters of Robusta, but he also realized that these beans were considered an inferior-grade commodity product, used only for instant coffee, and tending to fetch a low price. Changing his trees to Arabica that sold for higher prices wasn't possible, so he decided his best option was to improve the quality of his Robusta.

The first change Phú made to his farm was planting shadow trees which provided shade for his coffee shrubs. The new trees also helped to stabilize water levels on the farm, and improved the quality of his farm’s soil. This was a great help as it meant he didn’t need to spend so much on fertilizers. He also decided to reduce the number of chemical fertilizers he used on his farm, and switched to eco-friendly alternatives that he was able to by cheaply and locally.


After a while, Phú noticed there were many more birds, bees and bats visiting his plantation which helped with the pollination of his coffee plants. He took advantage of this, and started to intercrop by planting durian, pomelo and cashew among his coffee shrubs. With a greater variety of crops, he was able to increase his income when coffee yields were poor or the market price was low.

At first, other local farmers were puzzled and unsupportive of the changes Phú was making. They had been farming coffee the same way for generations and didn’t see a reason to change. But when traders bought their green beans, some years the prices were high, others they were low, and the fb3aeaeef2994dbca8285armers were never able to plan ahead or increase their production.

When Phú’s first batch of new beans sold for much more than theirs, they began to pay attention to what he was doing, and soon the quality of their beans started to increase too.

In the years since Phú was given his farm, he has worked hard to improve the quality of his coffee, researching best practices, and applying what he has learned. But more than that, he has shared his ideas with neighboring farmers, helping them to improve the quality of their beans too. As incomes have increased, this has helped develop the infrastructure of his local community and open up opportunities for many.

Not only has he achieved his childhood dream of changing the lives of others, but he has also helped change the perceptions of Vietnamese Robusta that is now valued for its distinct characteristics and rich flavors.