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Trung Nguyen plans to unite the world with a cup of coffee

From the July 2015 issue.

Trung Nguyen’s cafés are spreading the company’s unique vision about the place of coffee in society across the globe.

There is one incredible drink that is capable of connecting people all over the world. It can overcome geographical distances, fade differences in colour, and even bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

From those who grow the beans to those who enjoy the finished drink, coffee has the very unique position of bringing people together from every corner of the globe.

The Chairman of Trung Nguyen Coffee, Dang Le Nguyen Vu, has long recognised the power of coffee. His lifelong goal has been to elevate the value of coffee in Vietnam, building a strong brand that would help the world recognise the true place of his country’s coffee.

Today, that work has paid off, as he’s built a company recognised for its diversity, innovation, and sophistication. In addition to luxury goods on the shelves of stores around the world, the Trung Nguyen brand can be experienced through a strong network of distinctive coffee shops.

The power of a single café

When he started working in coffee, Vu used to travel by motorbike around his home province of Dak Lak to help farmers renovate their lands. He helped them understand better cultivation techniques that would improve the value of the coffee they were growing.

From his time working one-on-one with farmers, he realised he needed to extend his work further. He needed to build a global brand that would represent his efforts and his people.

He established the Trung Nguyen Coffee Company, much to the amusement of many of his peers, who didn’t believe a Vietnamese brand could compete with global giants. Working with a group of fellow students, he opened the first Trung Nguyen Café in Ho Chi Minh City at No. 578 Nguyen Kiem on 20 August 1998.

To attract attention to his project, he served free coffee for the first 10 days, a marketing move that was highly unprecedented at the time.

The launch of that café has been an important milestone in the development of the Trung Nguyen brand. In contrast to the more primitive Vietnamese-style cafés of that era, the first Trung Nguyen café featured high quality products in a stylish setting.

The café helped define the Trung Nguyen brand of promoting quality products, while placing the customers’ needs first. The original shop is still open today, and customers can either buy cups of coffee to enjoy at the shop, or purchase a wide variety of Trung Nguyen products to take home.

The first Trung Nguyen shop opened in Hanoi in 2000, an event that was marked by fireworks and a grand celebration. Fifteen years later, there are now an impressive 2500 Trung Nguyen branded shops, both in Vietnam and abroad.

The Trung Nguyen brand is about aspiration. That characteristic is one that could be used to describe the country as a whole.

Over the past few decades, Vietnam as a country has made a spectacular recovery, with its rich cultural identity now overshadowing a dark past. It’s a fitting tribute that a product as international as coffee should represent Vietnam on the world stage.

Trung Nguyen shops have done their work as Vietnam’s ambassadors in some of the finest settings around the world.

The first international shops opened in the upmarket district of Roppongi in Tokyo, Japan, followed by prime locations in Singapore including the Marina Bay Sands Resort, Liang Court buildings, and the Katong Mall shopping centre.

New versions of the Trung Nguyen coffee shops are set to open in China, the United States, Dubai, and many other countries in the very near future.

At Trung Nguyen, we don’t see coffee as merely a beverage. We see it as a product that has for centuries inspired innovation. Our Trung Nguyen coffee shops are “dedicated to coffee, especially for coffee”.

Customers enjoy a true coffee experience, either in traditional Vietnamese form, a more modern form as a cappuccino or latte, or even a traditional form of Ethiopian, Turkish, or syphon. They can enjoy different Trung Nguyen styles including L’Amour Coffee, Mother Land, and Red Rose.

The idea is that when a customer enters a Trung Nguyen space, they have the opportunity to experience the incredible variety of unique coffee cultures from across the globe.

As an extension of the coffee brand, we at Trung Nguyen have set up an exhibition centre Trung Nguyen Space. Here we host various activities, including seminars on culture, science, art, and more. The centre serves as a world-class venue for intellectuals, artists, and creative minds, both domestic and internationally.

Diplomatic delegations and ambassadors regularly use Trung Nguyen Space to meet. The site also helped welcome the Miss Earth Pageant when Vietnam hosted the competition in 2010. The space is used by Vietnam’s national student union Hundreds International as a regular meeting point.

Late this past May, Trung Nguyen Space welcomed a delegation of international speakers to attend the program.

“The Journey of Innovation For A Great Vietnam’s Aspiration 2015”.  The event welcomed young people and students to learn about how the country can develop a successful formula to ensure a future of success and happiness.

Coffee space – intellectual space

Trung Nguyen is a brand that is concerned with serving more than a quality drink. It’s a brand that aims to encompass spiritual values.

Trung Nguyen coffee shops are about embodying those values. The shops represent a full convergence of innovation, cultural identit, and knowledge.

Every Trung Nguyen coffee shop features a formal space to display academic books, with the message “A good book can change one’s life”. The books are carefully selected to inspire young Vietnamese to make the changes they want to see in society.

The Trung Nguyen brand is perhaps best incorporated in a special flagship location called Legend Coffee Space. More than a coffee shop, the venue is modelled as a mini university. The flagship store is styled in black and gold, with an open layout.

The materials used inspire rustic elegance, while remaining close to nature. The café highlights both coffee and books, a perfect combination to inspire the acquisition of knowledge while stimulating creativity.

Following along the university theme, Space Coffee Legend is equipped with modern devices like iPads, providing customers with further access to the infinite amount of information available from around the world.

The goal is to promote the development of individual success, because Vietnam needs outstanding individuals to help the country develop to its full potential.

As more and more Trung Nguyen branded cafés open around the world, the message of aspiration continues to spread. Every day, every hour, through every drink we aim to inspire innovation by spreading a taste of Vietnamese coffee – and its culture – across the planet. GCR

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