Vietnamese immigrant opens 'dream-come-true coffee shop' in Charlottetown

Hai Nguyen had a good job and home in Vietnam, but she packed up her three children and husband to pursue a dream on P.E.I., and she couldn’t be happier.

‘This is heaven’

How Hai Nguyen makes her favourite brew at The Shed Coffee

1 year ago
Duration 2:33
Hai Nguyen and her family moved to Charlottetown from Vietnam to start her 'dream come true,' The Shed Coffee shop, where she pours her passion for the caffeinated beverage into each and every cup.

Hai Nguyen had a good job and home in Vietnam, but she packed up her three children and husband to pursue a dream on P.E.I., and she couldn't be happier.

"Every morning I wake up feeling happy for my decision," said Nguyen.

"I can open my dream-come-true coffee shop here. My husband has a full-time job. This is heaven."

When she decided to emigrate she didn't think a lot about where she was headed. She just picked a location on the map, looking for a new adventure. They ended up in Charlottetown, where she founded Shed Coffee in the Royal Canadian Legion building.

Hai Nguyen buys her coffee beans green and roasts them herself. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

A long-time coffee lover, Nguyen decided she wanted to turn to her passion full time. She connected with the Specialty Coffee Association, and just latched onto every opportunity she could to talk to people knowledgeable about coffee, both drinkers and makers, and developed her own style.

"You have to have your own vision and passion to make it your own way," she said.

To make the very best coffee she can, Nguyen carefully sources her beans, which she buys green and roasts herself, experimenting with different methods to bring out different flavours.

When you're working with coffee, it makes you a creator, says Hai Nguyen. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

"It can be very nutty, it can be very floral and really sweet," she said.

"Working in coffee makes you like a creator, all the time."

While launching a business during the pandemic has been a hardship for some, Nguyen said she has appreciated the opportunity to serve every customer herself, and be certain each cup of coffee she serves is as perfect as it can be.

With files from Island Morning


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