Café VSA: Culture behind coffee


Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Vietnamese hot coffee on table in Dalat, Vietnam.

The Suffolk University Vietnamese Student Association hosted Cafe VSA on Oct. 6, an event where the organization gave students the opportunity to experience the rich history behind Vietnamese coffee and learn how to make it.

Vietnamese iced coffee is called cà phê sua dá and is made by using coffee grounds that sit in a steel phin filter and water is poured over the top. Within a few seconds, the coffee blooms when dripping through the filter and it makes a strong coffee mixture that is then mixed with condensed milk, which makes it unique to Vietnamese culture. 

The room had an inviting atmosphere to all who came to learn how to make coffee in a new way and learn about the history behind this process. 

“That’s kind of what we were going for today — Cafe VSA, it’s a good way to get people together, drinking coffee together, talking and having fun,” Laila Ahmad-Zani, VSA social media coordinator, said. 

Lena Le, president of VSA, said the event was inspired by the popularity of Vietnamese coffee.

“I wanted to teach about Vietnamese coffee because it is the second most produced and exported product [of Vietnam],” said Le. 

Le learned to make Vietnamese coffee from her parents after visiting Vietnam and buying all of the supplies for it. Since then, she has used it to keep in her fridge for an all day pick-me-up. 

VSA is a group of students that works to share Vietnamese culture with the population of Suffolk University through activities and mentorship during their weekly club meetings. 

VSA is all about sharing Vietnamese culture with people of all cultures and ethnicities, Ahmad-Zani said. Although she isn’t Vietnamese herself, she joined VSA to learn more about her friends’ culture and have fun while doing it.

The second annual Cafe VSA was a social event that linked the history and culture of coffee in Vietnam to Boston’s history. Students interested in VSA can follow @suffolkvsa on Instagram for new updates on meetings and events that VSA hosts.