Coffee & Chill Station (12 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem) is one of these cafés, located in the Old Quarter, right by shoe street. The large café opened in July last year, and is growing each day. With something for tourists, expats and locals, Coffee and Chill Station is a walk away from Hoan Kiem Lake, and with parking out front, it’s easy to drive to if you’re coming from outside the Old Quarter.
The building used to be a hotel. A “very old, dirty hotel” according to owner Hien. The 26-year-old entrepreneur has turned the dusty, run-down, hotel into a bright, modern café. But it doesn’t stop there; the six-storey building includes an abundance of old hotel rooms, which he is turning into his own business playground.
The second floor, which used to hold a restaurant, is used as a second space for the café, suitable for group meetings. This room is also popular in the evenings for groups of locals to get together and play card games and chess. Accompanying the large room on the second floor are two smaller rooms that used to be hotel rooms. One is being used as a vape shop, which is frequented by both locals and foreigners. The other, a clothes shop, has not yet opened but keep your eyes out if you visit the café. And ask about what else is going on, as in the future Hien has plans to open up the higher floors for other businesses.
The café has a selection of fruit teas, fresh juices, and coffee, both Italian-style and Vietnamese, all between VND25,000 and VND50,000. The coffee is made from Arabica coffee beans grown in Dalat, and they serve all of the typical Italian-style coffees. The teas are made using a blend of Ahmad tea with added raw ingredients to finish off not only the presentation, but also to compliment the flavours of each tea.
Their speciality teas include orange and lemongrass, orange and cinnamon, and rose and aloe vera.
According to one customer : “[They serve] really good ca phe sua da, which although is a staple in Hanoi, it's often not the perfect balance, so that’s definitely a thumbs up. And the flat whites are arguably the best I’ve had in Vietnam.”
The orange and cinnamon tea gave a welcome warmth to the mouth with the cinnamon a subtle additive, rather than an overpowering flavour. You can also buy small Mr. Chef’s cheesecakes to eat there or take home for VND40,000.
As well as distributing delicious drinks to the public, Coffee and Chill Station also stocks a range of small notebooks with Vietnamese-style artwork adorning the covers, designed by Tuyen Pham. You can buy these for VND20,000 to VND60,000, as well as some postcards for VND20,000.
Coffee and Chill Station, a modern feel café with ample space and street parking, is a great place to meet friends for a drink close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Power outlets at each table and a decent Wi-Fi connection make for a great place for those coffee shop laptop workers to show off. The staff is friendly and the music relaxing and quiet.
Coffee and Chill Station is at 12 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi and is open every day from 7am to 11pm
Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel