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Re:co Symposium - Fragmenting Desires

Vietnam: A New Vocabulary

Vietnam produces more arabica than Kenya or El Salvador – so why don’t we talk about it more?

Lecture Overview

In addition to being the world’s leading producer of robusta, Vietnam also produces more arabica than Kenya or El Salvador – so why don’t we talk about it more? The answer to that question, and many others about the coffee industry’s perceptions of Vietnam, is complicated. Will Frith, Founder of Building Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City, believes it’s past time for a new narrative about Vietnam, and not only as a coffee producing country – Vietnam’s coffee retail and consumption trends point to new ways for coffee drinkers to connect to each other internationally and across supply chains domestically.

Will Frith

Will Frith is a leader in the specialty coffee movement in Vietnam. Since 2004 he has split his time between Southeast Asia and the USA, working for Olympia Coffee, Modbar, and Batdorf & Bronson, as well as farmers and coffee entrepreneurs in Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand. He is ⅓ of the Jungle Coffee Coalition, a podcast with his counterparts in Thailand and The Philippines. In Saigon he is the founder & owner of a roasting company, Building Coffee, and a specialty cafe, BEL. A mixed-race Texan of Vietnamese descent, his research and entrepreneurial interests are aimed at promoting Asian coffees and Asians in coffee.


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