How To Make Ca Phe Phin - Making Authentic Vietnamese Cà Phê Phin

How To Make Ca Phe Phin – Making Authentic Vietnamese Cà Phê Phin

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:35

Learning how to make ca phe phin is easy and brings to your coffee repertoire a coffee from a country with the most unique coffee culture that you find on this beautiful planet.

Vietnamese men and women love the slow placed life as they sit back, relax and enjoy life as their cà phê phin drips away, slowly filling their cup.

Keep reading to learn how to make coffee the traditional Vietnamese way.

How To Make Ca Phe Phin – Making A Delicious Vietnamese Cà Phê Phin

To make an amazing and perfect tasting Vietnamese ca phe phin, the uber cool, traditional Vietnamese drip coffee you will need some key ingredients.

  • 30 grams (1 Oz) of medium-coarse coffee grounds.
  • 240 ml (8 Oz) of fresh filtered water, mineral water is best.

It is not 100% necessary for you to use Vietnamese coffee beans or Robusta coffee, however if you want that authentic experience you can do so if you so wish.

The addition of condensed milk is entirely optional; I’ve omitted that from the ingredient list as it is a recipe for another Vietnamese coffee beverage – Cà Phê Sữa 

How To Make Ca Phe Phin
How To Make Ca Phe Phin

Read: Vietnamese phin coffee maker

The Method

Start by heating your water to the perfect temperature range of 92C To 96C (195F to 205F). Preheat your phin filter and coffee cup by pouring some of your hot water through them.

Weigh your coffee beans: 30 grams (1 oz) is perfect for 240 ml (8 oz) cup of coffee. Grind your beans to a medium-coarse grind size and add them to the brewing chamber of your ca phe phin filter.

Put the perforated gravity screen over your coffee grounds and pour a little of your hot water over the perforated gravity screen and wait 20-25 seconds for your grounds to bloom.

Continue to pour your hot water slowly and evenly until your brewing chamber is full. Put the lid in place to keep it war and let it drip into your cup below. Brewing time takes 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy your tasty coffee.

What Is Ca Phe Phin?

Ca Phe Phin, from Vietnamese cà phê meaning coffee, and phin meaning filter and thus cà phê phin translates to filter coffee.

The phin, the filter is an iconic coffee brewing tool that is available everywhere in South East Asian nation and will cost, depending on the size, a dollar or two, depending on the seller, it is even cheaper and may even come with some coffee grounds!

It’s a metal coffee filter that uses the slow dripping method of coffee brewing and functions in a similar way to a Hario V60 or a Chemex.

There are four main parts to a Vietnamese phin filter.

What Is Ca Phe Phin
Ca Phe Phin With Condensed Milk

Read: Cafe phin

Phin Filter Parts

Let’s detail the 4 main parts of a Phin Filter.

The Lid

The lid is to keep your coffee hot as the hot water is poured over the coffee grounds. The lid is also used to bloom the coffee by placing it below the chamber.

The Brewing Chamber

This is where your coffee grounds and your hot water are added. The tiny holes allow the hot water to slowly drip through and prevent the coffee grinds from getting into your cup of coffee.

The Perforated Filter At The Bottom

The tiny holes at the bottom are designed to be large enough for your brewed coffee to pass through yet small enough to prevent your coffee grinds from getting into your beverage.

The Perforated Gravity Screen

This is placed on top of your coffee grounds in the brewing chamber.

When you add hot water, due to gravity, the screen pushes down on the coffee grounds and aids your coffee to degas, the carbon dioxide escapes and passes through the small holes. It creates the perfect brewing pressure for your coffee.

There is a screw in variations of the gravity screen but the regular version that uses water pressure is best as it has the perfect pressure and is easier to use.

Coffee Fact: While Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee producer behind Brazil, they are by far the leading producer of Robusta coffee. Being a leading producer of coffee is an achievement as coffee is not native to Vietnam, it was imported by the French colonialists in the 1800s.

Ca Phe Phin Parts
Ca Phe Phin Parts. Only, Regular Gravity, On The Left Screw In

Phin Filter Gravity Vs Screw In

By far the most commonly available phin filter is the gravity version. The screw in version while rare, is rare for reason, and not a good reason!

The screw in version has the problem of compressing the grounds too much, which results in you getting some coffee grinds into your cup. The opposite, you end up with too little pressure which can be a problem too.

In the phin filter gravity vs screw in debate by far the best and most convenient to use is the gravity one.

Phin Filter Ratio

A very important part of brewing a great tasting cup of coffee of any type is to get the coffee to water ratio right.

For a phin coffee the coffee to water ratio is 1:8.

If you are making an 8 oz (240 ml) phin coffee use 30 grams (1 oz) of coffee. Use 45 grams (1.5 Oz) for a 12 oz coffee.

Phin Filter Grind Size

Using the correct grind size for making your Vietnamese phin coffee is important, too fine a grind, and it will block the tiny holes in your phin coffee filter, too large and your coffee will flow through too quickly and be under brewed and sour.

The best grind size for your phin filter is a medium-coarse grind. If you have a Baratza Encore grinder use the 14 to 16 setting.

Where To Buy Phin Filter

If you are in Vietnam, or travelling soon to the beautiful country you will find a ca phe phin filter everywhere. I spent 3 years in the country, in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Da Nang. Trust me – you will have no difficulty in finding one when you are in Vietnam.

If you are not in or travelling to Vietnam, you can find and buy a good quality phin filter of various sizes on Amazon, Etsy, eBay and Alibaba.

You will also find them on the South East Asian site Lazada, which is somewhat ASEAN’s Amazon. The Vietnamese Lazada site (.vn) is available in English, many sellers ship internationally.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Ca Phe Phin

Yes, it is a question that I am often asked and after spending 3 years in Vietnam I have enjoyed many tasty Vietnamese coffee beverages made without the iconic phin filter. Common brewing methods in Vietnam out with the phin filter is the coffee sock and espresso machine.

 If you want to make a traditional Vietnamese coffee without the phin you can replicate the taste and flavor by making a pour over coffee with Vietnamese coffee beans and a metal filter.

Some coffee lovers have suggested the use of a French Press, which is good, but a pour over replicates the technique and flavor more than the steeping method of a French press. The phin does replicate the steeping process and in a sense, it can be viewed as being like French press with a built in drain.

Ca phe Phin is a unique coffee brewing method in its own right.

How Long Should Vietnamese Coffee Drip?

Your Vietnamese phin coffee filter should slowly drip for approximately 4 to 5 minutes for your cup of coffee to be brewed. 

Talk about a hard question!

No, (and yes) a phin is different from a French press as a French press uses a full immersion the steeping process to brew your cup of coffee.

A Vietnamese phin filter is more like a cross between a drip coffee and a French press, while still incorporating the element of steeping the coffee grounds.

Why Does Vietnamese Coffee Use Condensed Milk?

Coffee in Vietnam is very strong and bitter, the locals are not at all fans of adding sugar to their coffee. In fact, they are not really much into adding sugar to anything. They use condensed milk, usually sweetened condensed milk to sweeten their strong bitter coffee

If your Vietnamese coffee is dripping too fast, it is likely that your grind size is too large. The solution is to use a finer grind.


if your phin filter is dripping too slow, adjust your grind size and make it a little larger to aid the flow of the hot water.

Final Thoughts – How To Make Ca Phe Phin

I hope you have learned how to make ca phe phin by reading this far and got a great insight into the coffee brewing method that is set apart from any other technique. The Vietnamese cà phê phin borrows aspects from other brewing methods as it is, in a sense, borrowing from the French press, drip coffee and pour over.

The result is a stand-out enjoyable cup of coffee.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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