How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

How to Make Vietnamese Coffee


3 minutes of coffee drinking

A picture of Vietnamese Coffee being made

Like Turkish Coffee, Vietnamese coffee doesn’t just refer to coffee produced in Vietnam. 

Though they do produce a lot—after Brazil, Vietnam is the second highest volume producer of coffee in the world. So it’s little surprise that it’s one of those countries where coffee can be found everywhere. Hot coffee is often enjoyed in the morning, while iced coffee is enjoyed in the heat of the afternoon.

“Vietnamese Coffee” is actually the name of a specific style of rich, dark roast coffee primarily found in Vietnam, but with popularity outside the country as well.

What makes Vietnamese Coffee different?

For starters, Vietnamese coffee is made with a special dripper called a phin. The phin steeps the coffee before filtering it into the cup. (The phin is also sometimes referred to as a Vietnamese Press.)

Second, it’s traditionally made with condensed milk. And it’s very often served over ice to make Vietnamese iced coffee AKA cafe da.

As you might expect since condensed milk is involved, Vietnamese coffee is rich and sweet.

But it’s also strong and intense.

Since Vietnam produces relatively large volumes of robusta beans, that’s what their local coffee is typically made with.

In contrast, a lot of coffee enjoyed here in the States is made with arabica beans. (Black Insomnia, the world’s strongest coffee, uses a proprietary blend of arabica and robusta beans.)

How to Make it at Home

To brew Vietnamese Coffee yourself, you’ll need:

Ingredient / Supply List

Instructions

  1. If you have whole beans, grind them now. Boil the water and preheat the phin by letting some hot water flow through it. Remove the excess water, then add 1 heaping tablespoon of coffee into the phin.
  2. Gently twist the filter on top, just until you meet with some resistance. Start pouring a small amount of hot water inside so the coffee grounds will start to bloom (expand) before you continue.
  3. After the coffee grounds have stopped expanding, pour the rest of the water in.
  4. Brew for 3-5 minutes*, then add condensed milk into the cup until you achieve your preferred consistency.

Like pourover coffee, there are no hard and fast rules with the time limit here, but the consensus across multiple recipes seems to be about 3 - 5 minutes.

As with any other method, you don’t want to over-brew or you’ll end up with a cup full of bitter mixed with condensed milk.

It also seems to be optional whether you add the condensed milk during the brewing process or after it’s in your cup. Again going with a consensus, adding it in the cup makes it easier for you to control and adjust how much condensed milk you’re adding to each cup.

How to Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee

To make Vietnamese Iced Coffee from here is really simple: all you need to do is let your coffee cool down for a little bit after the final step, then pour the coffee and condensed milk mixture in a glass filled with ice.

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