Nothing is more refreshing or invigorating than an iced Vietnamese coffee. Soft and creamy, with a huge dose of intense coffee flavor. It’s the shot of caffeine I want all day, every day.
After Brazil, Vietnam is the world’s largest coffee producer and it’s no surprise Vietnam’s coffee culture is fierce. Cafes line the streets and morning, noon and night you will see people drinking coffee. It’s just a way of life. After pho and banh mi, I think Vietnamese coffee might be the most well-known Vietnamese food export.
What is Vietnamese coffee?
Dark, intense, rich and deep, Vietnamese coffee is a coffee made from coffee beans grown in Vietnam, strong and flavorful, often cut with sweetened condensed milk and drunk hot or cold.
Nowadays, many people think that Vietnamese coffee is just plain old coffee with sweetened condensed milk. If we want to be purist: real Vietnamese coffee is made from robusta coffee beans (or a blend of robusta and arabica) grown in Vietnam.
Robusta beans are bitter, less acidic, and contain twice as much caffeine as the most commonly used Arabica beans. Robusta beans produce a very dark and very strong coffee which is beautifully balanced by sweetened condensed milk.
For the sake of simplicity in this article, we will define Vietnamese coffee as coffee made from beans grown in Vietnam and / or coffee served with sweetened condensed milk. We use beans grown in Vietnam and if you want a really authentic cup you should use those too;)
What does Vietnamese coffee taste like?
In short: delicious! I’m addicted to that sweet latte flavor. It sounds like the way you imagine coffee to taste. Deliciously dark and deep with a hint of toasted caramel, sweet milk, hazelnut butter, with just a touch of chocolate notes.
How to make Vietnamese coffee
- Prepare the coffee supplies. Gather your phin, ground coffee beans, sweetened condensed milk and a mug or glass. I like to use heat resistant glass for aesthetics.
- Boil water. To be precise, you want water between 195 and 205 ° F. Essentially, boil it and remove from the heat.
- Preheat the phin and the cup. Pour some water through the filter. It will pass through and heat the filter and the cup. Carefully drain the hot water.
- Add the condensed milk to the cup. Pour condensed milk (if using) into the cup. Put the phin body back on top, leaving the filter and cover to the side.
- Make the coffee bloom. Pour in 1 tablespoon of fine coffee grounds and use the filter press to lightly squeeze the coffee. Pour about 1 tablespoon of hot water over the filter. Leave to flower for about 30-40 seconds.
- Prepare the coffee. Slowly pour more hot water into the phin until it reaches the top, then cover it with the lid. Let the coffee steep, it should take about 3-5 minutes and it should drip slowly.
- Enjoy! When the coffee is finished, remove the phin. Stir and pour over ice or add more hot water if desired.
Hot or iced Vietnamese coffee
In Vietnam, coffee is tasted both iced and hot, it really is up to your personal preferences.
- Hot: Simply enjoy the brewed coffee straight from the phin. If you want your coffee to be slightly diluted, more like an americano, add hot water.
- Iced: There are two ways to brew iced coffee. You can brew the coffee and then pour it over ice or you can brew the coffee directly over ice.
Vietnamese coffee ingredients and equipment
What is a phin? This is an individual stainless steel coffee filter that sits on a glass. A phin is made up of three parts: the body, the press or filter disc and the cover. The coffee grounds enter the body, the press is placed lightly on it and finally, the lid covers everything. The coffee flows slowly into the holding cup at the bottom. It’s a kind of mix between pourover and a French press.
Some people say it is the condensed milk or the way it has been brewed that makes Vietnamese coffee Vietnamese coffee, but in reality it is the beans. Many Vietnamese roasters roast in butter for added richness.
For real Vietnamese coffee, try to find a bean grown and roasted in Vietnam. Contrary to popular belief, Café du Monde coffee (which is often used in Vietnamese restaurants) is not actually Vietnamese beans. There are a variety of Vietnamese beans on the market and many of them are sold online.
Sweetened condensed milk
Contrary to popular belief, Vietnamese coffee does not need sweetened condensed milk. In fact, Mike drinks his black Vietnamese coffee (ca phe den) and many others as well. I’m a big fan of sweetened condensed milk – sometimes I eat it with bread.
My favorite brand of sweetened condensed milk is Longevity Brand. You can find it online or in Asian grocery stores. After opening, use a rubber spatula to put it in a clean container with a lid and place it in the refrigerator. I like to put mine in a squeeze bottle so I can squeeze it any way I want. Sweetened condensed milk can be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Egg coffee or cà phê trứng is a specialty of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is made with beaten egg yolks, condensed milk and strong coffee. Egg coffee is a beautifully layered drink with contrasting flavors: bitterness of coffee, sweetness of condensed milk and richness of whipped egg yolks. It’s almost a dessert and has been compared to liquid tiramisu.
How to make Vietnamese egg coffee
Prepare a cup of Vietnamese coffee, without sweetened condensed milk. The soft and creamy egg filling will add all the sweetness you need. While the coffee is brewing, prepare the sweetened egg custard by whisking together the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk with a milk frother. I love this one because it cooks eggs incredibly quickly.
You can also use it to make dalgona coffee! Once your sweetened egg custard is mounted and your coffee is brewed, gently pour the cream over the coffee. Eat it as is or use a teaspoon to mix everything together.
Where to buy already brewed Vietnamese coffee
If you’ve read all of this and want a cup of Vietnamese coffee but don’t want to make one yourself, there are plenty of places you can brew a cup already. Just meet at your local banh mi deli. They will always have Vietnamese coffee on the menu.
What to serve
Soft and creamy, with a huge dose of intense coffee flavor.
- 1 tablespoon Vietnamese coffee Earth
- 1-2 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk optional
To make egg coffee
While the coffee is brewing, make an egg foam by mixing 2 egg yolks and the condensed milk in a glass. Use a milk frother to whisk until thick and frothy, 2-3 minutes.
Pour the soft egg over the brewed coffee. Serve the cup of egg coffee in a bowl of hot water, if desired. Sip the coffee as is or stir before enjoying!
Estimated nutrition for coffee with 1 tablespoon of condensed milk. Black coffee is essentially 0 calories.
Quantity per serving
Calories from Fat 15
% Daily Value *
Saturated fat 1.1g7%
Carbohydrates 10.5 g4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.