In another Vietnam Innovators podcast episode, Rudy van Bork, CEO of Hoi An Roastery, narrates the journey from having a less-than-favorable taste for coffee to building a brand that values cultural heritage and works directly with farmers.
Rudy’s coffee story began in Colorado, where he discovered the potential of Vietnamese coffee grown in the highlands while working for a friend’s business. This realization led him back to Vietnam, purchasing coffee beans directly from farmers in Hoian, paying premiums, and teaching sustainable practices – a unique selling point for Hoi An Roastery.
The expansion phase in Hoi An saw strategic decisions based on a “heat map” of high-traffic areas. Rudy emphasizes the importance of market research and prime locations in business success.
The discussion moves to the evolving trends in the coffee industry over the past nine years, focusing on sustainability and direct collaboration with farmers. Hoi An Roastery’s commitment to eco-friendly practices, from bamboo cups to investing in the education of the younger generation of coffee farmers, reflects the industry’s positive shift.
Rudy addresses challenges, from battling the perception of Vietnamese coffee to strategically branding Hoi An Roastery with a rustic identity inspired by Hoi An’s character.
Despite the pandemic, Hoi An Roastery thrived. Collaborations with organizations like WWF and USAID highlight the brand’s commitment to supporting local farmers and contributing to the growth of Vietnam’s coffee supply chain.
The narrative concludes with Rudy’s vision for the future – emphasizing scalability, direct engagement with farmers, and making a difference in the lives of those who cultivate Vietnamese coffee. Hoi An Roastery, according to Rudy, is not just a coffee brand; it’s a movement.
Watch the full episode here