“I realized that the key to good coffee is lots of ice cream. I use an espresso machine so it’s still a rich, super concentrated coffee. So the more ice the better, ”Nguyen said in an interview with Zoom.
Nguyen said her love for coffee stems from her Vietnamese family roots, as well as her identity as a New England native – because, yes, she drinks iced coffee even when it’s cold. Online she goes by the nickname @ coffeebae97, who originally started out as an Instagram burner account to post beautiful drinks from her hobby. When Nguyen moved her content to TikTok, she noticed a slight increase in support.
Since its inception, Nguyen has garnered over 900,000 subscribers on TikTok with 25.4 million likes. On Instagram, his presence is still in the foreground, with 302,000 followers. She appeared on “Good Morning America,” in the social media spotlight segment, Give me your ‘gram, earlier this year, and is now embarking on branded partnerships, including one with Mr. Coffee. Her designs are inspired by everything from “Twilight” movies to seasonal shifts and even a three-month-old frozen waffle serving as a makeshift biscotti.
“My inspiration was my pantry,” said Nguyen, who explained that many of his drinks were filmed when visits to the grocery store were limited.
Her rose latte (which she made on “GMA”) contains rose syrup with real dried rose petals as a garnish. A sweeter treat is the Sugar Plum Fairy, which includes 2 ounces of espresso served in a tall scoop glass with milk, lots of ice, fruity pebbles, and cotton candy. Not all of Nguyen’s drinks are so extravagant. The Coffee Bae latte, inspired by her aunt who uses honey in her coffee, is made with espresso, honey, milk and chocolate milk.
Its coffees are a range of elegant delicacies, from a creamy purple coffee created with ube to a Halloween-inspired latte made with black glitter dust. For one of her most recent drinks (and perhaps the most “controversial,” Nguyen noted in her Instagram caption), she topped a chocolatey latte with buttery popcorn. In each of her videos, Nguyen places her drinks on a sunny marble counter and lets the cafe speak for itself, supported by soothing instrumentals or popular songs trending on TikTok.
Nguyen’s accounts now extend to Coffee Bae-branded beans, which Nguyen purchases through the Farmers Project in Costa Rica and sees as a platform to educate his subscribers on the transparency of the sustainable supply chain. So far Nguyen has introduced two roasts and is working on the upcoming release of a third, called Scorpio Roast. Her main roast is now Costa Rican Lovers Roast and has hints of chocolate, caramel and citrus. Scorpion roast, Nguyen explained, begins with a warm nutty flavor, but when it cools it begins to taste more raspberry. With a leap into commerce, Nguyen is also focused on growing and developing a community around what she has called Bae World.
Nguyen said she hopes to start a “cool and loving coffee business” as she makes the transition and begins renaming her business to Bae World. This includes not only more roasts (a few of which are already in the works), but also plans to sell glassware and potentially to host pop-up shops. Ultimately, Nguyen hopes to open her own cafe in three to five years, but for now, she continues to brew.
Riana Buchman can be contacted at [email protected]