Vietnamese Coffee is bold & delicious made with medium, coarse coffee and sweetened condensed milk using a special coffee press. You can enjoy it iced as well.
Vietnam has a long history with coffee as it was introduced there back in 1857 by the French and it has flourished tremendously making Vietnam second highest coffee export country in the world. They produce about 40% of world’s Robusta bean (which has low-acidity, extremely bitter, and used mostly instant coffee and fillers for coffee blends).
The process of making & drinking Vietnamese coffee is a real treat, it's something you want to enjoy leisurely as the coffee filters through Vietnamese coffee press called "phin filter" and mixes with thick, sweetened condenseD milk. The resulting coffee is bold & sweet heavenly goodness, which can be drank as is or turned into iced coffee known as cafe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee). There are other variations of Vietnamese coffee namely:
- ca phe da (plain Vietnamese iced coffee)
- ca phe den (black coffee)
- ca phe trung (made with an egg yolk & whipped with condensed milk, like tiramisu)
- kopi luwak (one of the most expensive coffee in the world!
It is known as Vietnam Weasel coffee made from coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet)
To make Vietnamese Coffee, you will need:
- Vietnamese coffee press called phin filter (shown above) which is ideal for single serve cup. Phin filter can be purchased at most Asian stores for $10 or less and has different parts - filter chamber, filter press, and cap.
- A medium coarse grind coffee such as Trung Nguyen (most popular Vietnamese brand coffee) or Cafe Du Monde is generally used to make Vietnamese coffee. It is really important for the grind to be right amount of coarseness otherwise coffee grinds will fall through the filter or drip too fast.
- Sweetened condensed milk is traditionally used in Vietnamese coffee and that's what makes is really unique. Longevity, a Vietnamese brand is almost always suggested for Vietnamese coffee, supposedly it is creamier than other brands but Black & White is another brand that comes pretty close.
I find the brewing method for Vietnamese coffee and French press to be nearly identical. The whole process takes about 5 minutes from start to finish and it's a 4-minute brew with 30 seconds bloom time.
I have seen different ratios suggested for coffee to condensed milk for Vietnamese coffee. If you are new to Vietnamese coffee, I suggest you to try 1:1 ratio for coffee and condensed milk then you can slowly customize sweeter blend or less sweet blend per your taste.
Note for my vegan friends : you can enjoy Vietnamese coffee with vegan condensed milk, which can be made with coconut milk and sugar. I have made it before and it works.
You can most certainly enjoy Vietnamese coffee little lukewarm or add few cubes of ice for Vietnamese iced coffee. For iced coffee, I like to make a stronger brew so that it doesn't get too diluted with ice.
- 1 phin filter
- 2 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk may use vegan kind
- 3 tablespoon medium, coarsely grind coffee (Trung Nguyen or Cafe Du Monde)
- 6 oz hot water (just below boiling)
- Add sweetened condensed milk into a glass.
- Add coffee into the phin filter and shake it gently to remove excess. Screw the top filter and set it on top of the glass.
- Add about 2 tablespoon of hot water to wet the coffee and close the lid for about 30 seconds. This helps coffee bloom.
- Remove the lid and pour remaining water and close the lid.
- Let it brew which takes about 4 minutes.
- Once brewing stops, remove the filter and use a spoon to mix condensed milk and coffee together.
- Enjoy it or add ice to make it Vietnamese iced coffee.