Dac Lac province is located north of Saigon, in a mountain plain near the Cambodian border. It is ideal for growing tropical and semi-tropical crops and trees. The plain is covered with vineyards, and coffee and rubber tree plantations, as well as other vegetables that will not grow in the lowland humidity.
Vietnamese coffee has been a staple export for nearly 100 years, however most of this coffee goes to Europe where it is processed into instant coffee and coffee flavored products by companies like Nestle. There are several huge coffee plantations that provide large quantities of average quality coffee beans.
Having never heard of Vietnamese coffee until my first visit in 2010, I was surprised at the quality and uniqueness of flavor, and the phin brewing technique. My partner, Mr. Phong, explained to me that there are several small plantations in the province, that produce small quantities of quality coffee; think of it as if you were growing fruit in your backyard for sale at the local farmer's market. We decided to make this the source of our coffee beans. We pay the farmers directly for their product, and they keep the best coffee for us. It is good to know that your purchases are helping independent Vietnamese families directly, sending their children to school and keeping their roofs patched. Slowly, we have developed trust in this region that is less-than-friendly to most foreigners. We hope to change that over time!