If you are in Hoi An and are in search of a unique place to enjoy a cup of coffee, head to the superb Reaching Out Tea House. Located on a busy street it will offer you an unexpectedly tranquil coffee sipping experience (that is if you don’t get annoying tourists entering who do not get the idea of whispering).
The Reaching Out Tea House is a social enterprise and was founded back in 2000 by a group of people led by Le Nguyen Binh who suffers from paraplegia and uses a wheelchair for mobility. The idea behind the enterprise was to enable less able people to integrate into community and become responsible for their own futures. Such a great idea, don’t you think? We loved it there.
The house is run entirely by hearing and speech impaired ladies so all the guests are encouraged to whisper and appreciate the beauty of silence. That’s what makes this place so unique, the peace and tranquillity.
However, I can imagine that visitors walking into the Reaching Out Tea House just right of the street, might be slightly puzzled and not aware of the code of silence.
On our arrival, we were seated by the window where we could still hear the occasional motorbike beep, but inside it was so peaceful that I was slightly embarrassed by the noise of my camera every time I took a picture.
A beautiful young lady who greeted us with a smile, brought us the menus. In the menu we found a card with the drink and food options. All we had to do is tick our choice on the order sheet. I thought it was a pretty good system for us to communicate with the staff.
The menu has a nice selection of hot and cold drinks and sweet treats. I liked that the coffee and tea were briefly described on the other side of the menu and made my life so much easier as I always struggle to choose my coffee.
I wish all the cafés did the same! If you, like me, struggle to choose, you can go for a Tasting Set option and try all 3 different coffees in the house.
I went for the Vietnamese Chicory local coffee which promised to be gentle with a subtle sweetness. My drink came in a golden filter, dripping into an accessorised glass, with hot water on the side and a black sesame biscuit in a tiny plate. All beautifully presented on a shiny tray fit for a queen.
Travelling across Vietnam from up north down to the south I’ve tried so many different variations of Vietnamese coffee (some better than others) that I really didn’t know what to expect. It always either surprises or disappoints.
The Reaching Out Tea House definitely surprised me. The coffee was quite distinctive and had a nice after taste, definitely not bitter. The filter was filled up with coffee which was nice to see, but it wasn’t too strong and rather pleasant.
Firstly I tried it black, just to have that raw taste of the coffee and later sweetened in the way so popular in Vietnam, with condensed milk. I am becoming rather addicted to condensed milk, that might explain my expanding waistline…
Charlie chose the straight up simple lemon juice which came in a large blue glass and looked rather pretty on the table. The drink was complemented with 3 different syrups to add even more flavour and a beautiful cinnamon roll cake which had the scent of Christmas…
As you walk into the house, you can see big jars sitting on the counter. Those jars are packed with sweet treats and I dare you to walk by and not think of trying at least one of the in-house freshly baked biscuits. We certainly couldn’t!
An order was placed and soon after a selection of freshly baked goods was presented on our table. We went for the $3 Cookie Sample Selection. The selection included a delightful cinnamon roll cake, coconut coffee treat, tea coconut treat, chocolate (very chocolatey) cookie, sweet potato cake (with a hint of ginger), coconut cookie, ginger cookie (another scent of Christmas…), coconut treat, and black sesame cookie.
I don’t even know which one was my favourite, I liked them all. They all were fresh and tasty, but give me a coconut cookie and you made my day! So it has to be the coconut cookie for me.
While ordering and receiving the order, It didn’t feel uncomfortable at all not being able to communicate, we just used the cubes provided on the table and watched the girl’s body language to learn some sign language, such as thank you.
They also have a small garden at the back of the house where you can enjoy your drinks away from the street noise, but even sitting by the open window we could still absorb the tranquillity of the place and chill out before getting back on our bikes.
Total price for the coffee, lemon juice and sweet treats came up to 150,000 VND ($ 6.73), not the cheapest place for budget travellers like us, but there is a time and a place to splash out and we think the Reaching Out Tea House was the right choice.
Reaching Out Tea House Directions
131 Trần Phú, Sơn Phong, tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
+84 90 521 65 53