This article is focused on how to make Vietnamese coffee using the same equipment, the same technique and method for a truly authentic Vietnamese coffee experience.
The recipe and instructions below are for the most popular coffee beverage in Vietnam, the cà phê sua dá.
Cà phê – Coffee, sua – milk, dá -milk, Vietnamese iced coffee with milk.
Keep reading for a great Vietnamese coffee recipe.
How To Make Vietnamese Coffee With Phin Filter
Making Vietnamese coffee is a cultural experience, particularly if you are in the huge hustling and bustling sprawling Chaotic Asian mega city of Ho Chi Ming City or Hanoi.
As life is buzzing past at what seems like 100 miles per hour, you’ll see Vietnamese men and women gathered around a table, chilling out, relaxing watching life go past as their coffee phin drips slowly into the cup below.
Vietnamese coffee culture is cool, laid back and above all a very artisan coffee culture. The coffee is rich, sweet and full of flavor and the little rest, a little sit down to relax is perfect on busy day.
In a coffee shop it is common for your iced milk coffee (cà phê sua dá) to arrive at your table with a tall glass with condensed milk in the bottom and a stainless steel metal coffee filter sitting on top and a separate glass of ice.
Iced coffee with milk is always made with condensed milk. It’s like the Spanish café bombon with ice, except it is not made with a shot of espresso but with Vietnam’s own classic coffee filter method that combines two brewing methods, the steeping of a French press and drip coffee.
If you don’t have one, you can find Vietnamese coffee filters, the iconic ca phe phin online or your local Asian supermarket.
Let’s get making Vietnamese coffee.
Read: Vietnamese coffee phin
Vietnamese Coffee Ingredients
There are very few ingredients needed to make a Vietnamese iced coffee with milk. To get an authentic Vietnamese coffee experience, use Vietnamese coffee beans. You can easily buy them on Amazon, your local Asian supermarket or Starbucks.
Starbucks has great Vietnamese beans from Da Lat, the capital of the central highlands, the heart of the coffee growing Region in Vietnam.
As a side note, the beans sold at Starbucks are Arabica; the majority of Vietnamese coffee is Robusta.
- Vietnamese Coffee Beans.
- Sweetened condensed milk.
- Fresh filtered or mineral water.
How To Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee With Milk (Cà Phê Sữa Đá)
This very popular coffee is very easy to make. Start by heating your water to 92C-96C (195F to 205F) the perfect temperature range for coffee brewing. I suggest you heat your water more towards the higher end of this temperature scale.
Preheat your brewing equipment and coffee cup by pouring in some hot water and swishing it around and then throwing it away.
For a 4 ounce serving (120 ml) measure and weigh 15 grams of coffee beans.
Weighing your coffee while they are whole helps you to get a fresher and slightly better tasting coffee. Grinding your beans increases the surface area and a greater amount of oxygen gets in contact with the coffee and accelerates their degradation.
This is why whole bean coffee is always better and weighing your beans before grinding is better. The mass of whole beans is the same as they are when ground.
When your water is ready and at the perfect temperature for brewing, start grinding your coffee beans to a medium-coarse grind size.
If you own a Baratza Encore coffee grinder use numbers 14 to 16.
Put the coffee grounds in the brewing chamber. With your phin coffee filter on a flat surface, give your Vietnamese coffee maker a gentle shake to make sure that they are evenly distributed.
Put one or two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk in your coffee cup. Place your Phin coffee filter on top of your coffee cup.
Put the strainer in place on top of the coffee grounds and pour a little of your hot water. Pour just enough until your coffee grounds are wet.
Wait and observe the blooming, the de-gassing of your coffee grounds. This should take 20 to 25 seconds.
Pour the rest of your 4 ounces (120 ml) of water into the brewing chamber and put the lid on top and let your coffee drip into your cup and over the condensed milk.
When your coffee is ready, stir well to mix the condensed milk with your coffee and add ice.
Read: What is Vietnamese coffee
Vietnamese Coffee Ratio
The best coffee to water ratio for Vietnamese phin coffee is 1:8. 1 part coffee with 8 parts water. If you are brewing a 4 oz (120 ml) cup of coffee, use 15 grams (half an ounce) of coffee and 120 ml of water.
For an 8 ounce (240 ml) cup of coffee, use one ounce (30 grams) of coffee and 8 ounces (240 ml) of water.
This is the ratio that is used in Vietnam for all Phin filter coffee, including iced coffee. Unlike Americans and Europeans, the Vietnamese don’t make the coffee to water ratio stronger for their iced coffee to compensate for the melting ice.
If you find your coffee getting weaker or too water try a 1:6 ratio of coffee to water the next time you make or use the Italian Shakerato technique and put your coffee into a cocktail shaker and shake for 20 to 30 seconds to instantly cool it down and then serve into your glass.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Vietnamese Coffee
What Makes Vietnamese Coffee Different?
Vietnamese coffee is different due to the roasting process often adding flavors like vanilla, mocha, butter and chicory. They are also different as it is more common to be served a coffee made with Robusta beans.
The roast is commonly a Vienna, French or Italian roast. They like dark roasts, the Vietnamese use a European style of roasting and not an American one.
Also, if you take milk in your coffee, it is always sweetened condensed milk that is used. The Vietnamese use a European style of roasting and not an American one.
What Kind Of Coffee Is Used For Vietnamese Coffee?
Dark roasted robusta beans are the preferred coffee beans in Vietnam. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of Robusta coffee beans.
How Is Vietnamese Coffee Beans Made?
Vietnamese coffee beans are roasted at a reduced temperature and for 15 minutes. It is common for chicory root to be added while roasting.
The coffee is brewed using a phin coffee filter which is a small metal filter that is somewhat a mix between the full immersion steeping of a French press and drip coffee.
Read: Cafe phin
Is Vietnamese Coffee Good For Weight Loss?
There are studies that indicate that the additional caffeine in the robusta coffee beans used to make Vietnamese coffee may increase metabolic rate by up to 11% which aids in your ability to burn fat.
Is Vietnamese Coffee Sweet Or Bitter?
Vietnamese coffee is bitter and strong. The reason sweetened condensed milk is used is due to the bitterness. Fresh milk is not often used. Generally speaking, Asians are lactose intolerant and don’t consume dairy products at all that often – or at all, is perhaps a contributing factor.
Why Does Vietnamese Coffee Use Condensed Milk?
The predominant reason why condensed milk is used in Vietnamese coffee is because their coffee is very strong and bitter. The condensed milk helps to counter the bitter taste and adds a better mouthfeel and texture.
Final Thoughts – How To Make Vietnamese Coffee
Now you know how to make Vietnamese coffee and are able to make perfectly brew it every bit as good as a Vietnamese barista.
Make and enjoy an authentic Vietnamese coffee experience from the heart of what is one of the world’s stand-out coffee cultures.
Join our active online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your Vietnamese coffee phin images, creations and if you are the fun type, share your best memes and coffee jokes.