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  • Centro Brasileiro Inovação e Sustentabilidade

Vietnamese coffee shop innovates with bamboo coffee

Source: VnExpress/Quynh Tran

In an era where innovation sets the pace of progress, a small coffee shop in Vietnam is proving that creative ideas can shape a more sustainable future. Saigon Bamboo Café, as it is known, became an instant success, attracting hundreds of customers with its eco-friendly proposition: serving coffee on bamboo culms.

The owner of Cà Phê Ong, Nguyen Huynh combined his experience in architecture with sustainable entrepreneurship. His business, which sells around 200 stalks of coffee per day, is not just a coffee shop, but a symbol of positive change. “The store says no to plastic,” explains Huynh. "Customers enjoy their drinks in bamboo tubes, accompanied by a straw made of the same material and a wooden spoon."

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Huynh often used bamboo to store food and drinks during camping trips. His transition into the coffee business was driven by a desire to create something unique and environmentally responsible. The challenge included searching for bamboo suppliers that met their precise size specifications.

The routine at the coffee shop is intense. More than 1,000 culms are ordered weekly, and more than 150 are processed daily. Each stalk is washed three times before use, a process that takes almost two hours a day, significantly longer than a conventional coffee shop.

But the effort is worth it. Coffee served in bamboo not only attracts attention for its aesthetics, but also for its strong aroma. Bamboo, in addition to being a container, becomes a sensorial experience, reinforcing the customer's connection with nature. The café also offers a variety of drinks, including pineapple milk, with prices ranging from US$1.07 to US$1.32, including bamboo culm, which customers can take home.

For those who choose not to take the straw, the cafeteria offers a reuse system, as that legislation allows for reuse, encouraging customers to return culms in exchange for free drinks. This practice not only promotes sustainability, but also helps manage the costs of bamboo, which is relatively expensive, according to Huynh.

The success of Huynh's initiative is evident. On busy days, customers can wait around 10 minutes to be served, and occasionally, the store closes early after running out of bamboo stock. This case is an inspiring example of how innovation can be channeled to promote not only business growth, but also to foster sustainable practices, challenging the norm and inspiring a community to rethink their daily choices.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Innovation (CEBIS) is a committed non-profit non-governmental organization with the support and promotion of initiatives that combine innovation and entrepreneurship, aiming not only at commercial success, but also at environmental and social sustainability. CEBIS recognizes the importance of disruptive innovations and entrepreneurial business models in the current scenario, and offers resources and guidance for companies seeking sustainable solutions. Through its activities, CEBIS aims to boost an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is aligned with the ESG agenda and sustainable development goals, thus encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs to build a greener and more responsible future with bamboo.



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