Trung Nguyên is a Vietnamese business group involved in the production, processing and distribution of coffee. Trung Nguyên is the largest domestic coffee brand within Vietnam, and exports its products to more than 60 countries, including major Asian markets such as Japan and Singapore.
It is most noted for its Trung Nguyên brand of coffee products; sub-brands include Creative Coffee, Weasel kopi luwak and Legendee simulated kopi luwak coffee, Passiona low-caffeine coffee, and G7 instant coffee, along with the Weasel and Legendee high-class coffee brand.
The group, established in 1996 in Buôn Ma Thuột, Đắk Lắk Province, is composed of six members: Trung Nguyen Corporation JSC, Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee Company JSC, Trung Nguyen Coffee LLC, G7 Commercial Services Company, Đặng Lê Tourism Company JSC, Trung Nguyên Franchising Company JSC and G7 Ministop Joint Venture Company. Its chairman and CEO is Dang Le Nguyen Vu, who is regarded as Vietnam's Coffee King.
The company is most noted for its Trung Nguyên brand of coffee products. Sub-brands include Creative Coffee, Weasel and Legendee simulated kopi luwak coffee, Passiona low-caffeine coffee, and G7 instant coffee, along with the Tra Tien tea brand. Trung Nguyên coffee products use a variety of different coffee beans, including robusta, arabica, and excelsa.
Weasel (kopi luwak) coffee
Trung Nguyên is known as an important producer and distributor of kopi luwak (Vietnamese: cà phê chồn), weasel coffee Trung Nguyen, also known as civet coffee, both natural and simulated. Kopi luwak, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world, is coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting, and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness.
Trung Nguyên's Legendee brand coffee is a simulated kopi luwak product, which uses synthetic enzymes to mimic the civet's gastric acid, producing effects on flavour similar to actual kopi luwak, and reducing the need to rely on the civet, which is now endangered in Vietnam due to excessive hunting.
In August 2010, Trung Nguyên CEO Dang Le Nguyen Vu reported that the company had begun manually producing its own natural (non-simulated) kopi luwak under its Weasel sub-brand. Due to the complicated production process, only 40–50 kg of Weasel coffee are produced annually. It is much more expensive than any of the company's other products: a 1 kg bag of Weasel coffee costs $3,000, six times higher than Indonesian kopi luwak. Dang has claimed, however, that Trung Nguyên's Vietnamese version is of higher quality, since production depends on wild or free range civets who choose the best coffee beans themselves, instead of being caged and force-fed.
Production and facilities
As of 2007, Trung Nguyên operated three processing facilities: a processing plant in Đắk Lắk Province, established in 2003, with a capacity of 10,000 tons of coffee a year; an instant coffee factory in Bình Dương Province, established in 2005, with a capacity of 3,000 tons a year; and a tea processing plant (Tien Dat Tea Factory) in Lâm Đồng Province. As of 2009, a new processing plant was under construction in the city of Buôn Ma Thuột, supported by an investment of over 40 million USD.
Along with producing and processing coffee beans, Trung Nguyên operates a nationwide chain of over 1,000 coffee shops in Vietnam to distribute its products, the first of which opened in October 1998 in Ho Chi Minh City. The first coffeehouse in Hanoi opened in the year 2000, by which time 100 outlets had already been established. Throughout the following years, franchises were opened in Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and China. The first outlets outside of Asia opened in Germany and New York City in the year 2006. The company's future plans include the further development of its international presence in China, the United States and Europe.
Product distribution in Australia is unclear, due to a dispute between Trung Nguyên and Australian distribution company Dynamic Food Brokers, owner of the domain name trungnguyen.com.au, which claims to be a formerly authorized distributor abandoned by Trung Nguyên without notice sometime before 2008.
- "Profile of Mr Dang Le Nguyen Vu" (pdf). 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- World’s priciest coffee gifted to Vietnam’s VIP guests
- "Products: Legendee (Weasel Coffee)". Trung Nguyên Online. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- History of Trung Nguyen Corporation. Trung Nguyen Corporation. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Chairman Vu, Vietnam's Coffee King. Forbes. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- , Trung Nguyen Group - Weasel coffee http://www.trungnguyen.com.vn/store/1696/weasel-the-king-of-coffee Missing or empty
- Norimitsu Onishi (April 18, 2010). "From Dung to Coffee Brew With No Aftertaste". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-18. "Costing hundreds of dollars a pound, these beans are found in the droppings of the civet, a nocturnal, furry, long-tailed, catlike animal that prowls Southeast Asia’s coffee-growing lands for the tastiest, ripest coffee cherries. The civet eventually excretes the hard, indigestible innards of the fruit—essentially, incipient coffee beans—though only after they have been fermented in the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes to produce a brew described as smooth, chocolaty, and devoid of any bitter aftertaste."
- "Kopi Luwak (Civet/Weasel) Coffee: A Gourmet Treasure". Trung Nguyên Online. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- "Vietnam species 'risk extinction'". British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- "Dynamic Food Brokers: Trungnguyen.com.au". Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- "Bitter coffee row brewing following domain name spat". MoneyVietnam. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
- , The Vietnamese Coffee Company Ltd http://www.vietnamesecoffeeco.com Missing or empty