How To Use A Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker

How To Use A Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:34

If you want an authentic Vietnamese coffee experience, you absolutely must use a Vietnamese phin coffee maker and Vietnamese coffee.

It’s a cute little device, and a very underrated coffee brewing tool that is versatile, portable and zero waste product – no need for a paper filter!

Keep reading to learn how to use a Vietnamese coffee brewer to make ca phe sua (cà phê sữa)

Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker – How To Use It To Make Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua

Using a Vietnamese Phin coffee maker is easy and despite its simplicity it’s a very underrated coffee brewing tool as the coffee produced is good, very, very good.

Let’s get started with a very simple, and very popular Vietnamese phin coffee recipe to show you how to use your phin coffee maker.

Let’s get you making a Vietnamese ca phe sua (cà phê sữa), a Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk.

Ingredients for an 8 oz (240 ml) cup of Vietnamese ca phe sua (cà phê sữa)

  • 1 Oz (30 grams) of Vietnamese coffee. Use a medium coarse grind size.
  • 8 Oz (240 ml) of mineral water or filtered water.
  • 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk.

For a smaller 4 oz (120 ml) serving, use half the amount of coffee, water and condensed milk.

Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker
Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker

Read: How to make ca phe phin

Instructions For Making Vietnamese Ca Phe Sua (cà phê sữa)

To make the perfect ca phe sua (cà phê sữa) start by heating your water to the perfect brewing temperature for coffee which is 92C to 96C (195F to 205F) and preheat your cup and your Vietnamese phin coffee maker by pouring hot water and swirling it around.

Weigh your coffee beans as whole and weigh 1 ounce (30 grams) if you making an 8-ounce (240 ml) serving and half an ounce (15 grams) for a 4-ounce (120 ml) serving.

Grind your coffee beans to a medium coarse grind size, number 14 to 16 on a Baratza Encore coffee grinder.

Put your coffee grounds in the brew chamber of your Vietnamese coffee brewer. Put the strainer on top of your coffee grounds and pour a small amount of your hot water on top of the strainer. Use just enough to wet your coffee grounds and let your coffee bloom.

Once your coffee has bloomed, pour the rest of your water slowly and evenly until the brew chamber is full. Put the lit in place and let your coffee drip into your cup.

Brewing time should be from 3 to 5 minutes.

When your coffee is ready, add your one or two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and stir well. Make good use of your Vietnamese coffee brewer as it is a portable device that can be taken on trips abroad and on camping trips without taking up too much space or weighing anything at all.

What Is A Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker?

The simple but brilliant Vietnamese phin coffee maker was introduced to Vietnam by the French colonialists who brought the cash crop to the Asian nation. Now, 170+ years later, the phin coffee maker is uniquely a Vietnamese coffee brewing tool – and a very underrated coffee brewing tool at that!

One key feature that is making this brewing device from the heart of Vietnamese coffee culture is the simple fact that it is a zero waste tool with no paper filter used or needed.

These stainless steel (or aluminum) filters are uncomplicated and simple to use and come in various sizes from a single cup 120 ml (4 oz) to a larger 240 ml (8 oz) version. There are much larger ones for use in coffee shops for making batches of coffee.

It’s a neat device with 4 main parts, and brews a great cup of coffee.

Vietnamese Coffee Brewer
Vietnamese Coffee Brewer

Read: Vietnamese coffee phin

Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker Parts – The Parts Of The Coffee Maker

Let’s talk more about the 4 parts of the Vietnamese ca phe phin coffee maker.

  • The Brewing Chamber/Filter Cup: This is where you put your medium-coarse coffee grounds and hot water. It’s open and the top and has tiny fine holes that are large enough to let your brewed coffee pass through them and small enough to stop the coffee grinds from getting into your cup of coffee.
  • The Lid: This is placed on top of your coffee while it is brewing and dripping into your cup below, helping it to stay warm and to prevent anything from getting into the coffee.
  • The Base Filter: This base filter aids the devise to sit perfectly on top of your cup.
  • The Strainer: This strainer is placed on top of your coffee before you pour the water, with the weight of the water helping to keep it and your coffee grounds in place. There are two different types of strainer: screw in and gravity. By far the gravity is the most popular and common.

Vietnamese Coffee Phin Coffee Ratio

Using your Vietnamese coffee maker to make great coffee you need to know how much coffee and how much water to use. To get the maximum flavor into the cup of coffee this is expressed as a ratio.

The Vietnamese coffee phin coffee ratio is 1:8, one part coffee and 8 parts water. For small regular sized 4 oz (120 ml) cup of phin filter coffee, 15 grams (0.5 oz) of medium coarse coffee ground is needed.

For a larger 8 oz (240 ml) cup of coffee, 1 oz (30 grams) of coffee grounds must be used.

Vietnamese Phin Grind Size

Vitally important, as it is with all coffee brewing methods and techniques, the coffee grind size is a make or break thing. Get it wrong, and you can end up with a cup of coffee that is sour and under brewed.

If the grind size is too small, you will have no coffee at all as the grinds may block the tiny holes in the phin filter. If the coffee does pass through, and the grind size is too small, and the coffee does drip through to your cup of coffee, the grind brewed coffee will be too bitter and over extracted.

On a Baratza Encore coffee grinder this is number 14 to 16.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker

Is Phin Coffee Stronger?

Phin coffee is a strong tasting coffee. It’s a hybrid mix of full immersion steeping and drip coffee brewing methods. The end result is a strong cup of coffee.

When made with a Vietnamese coffee usually it is higher in caffeine due to the majority of Vietnamese coffee beans being of the robusta variety, which has 2.2x more caffeine than the Arabica variety.

Can You Use A Phin For Regular Coffee?

Yes, it is entirely your choice of which coffee you put in your coffee phin coffee maker. Vietnamese coffee is best for a more authentic experience and make a cup of coffee with it the same way that the Vietnamese would.

Is A Phin The Same As A French Press?

No, not exactly. A Vietnamese phin coffee filter is similar to a French press as it has a metal mesh filter and uses the steeping aspect of full immersion coffee brewing to extract the coffee solubles into your cup.

The Vietnamese phin coffee maker has tiny holes at the bottom that allow the coffee to drip into the cup below. A French press, when brewed, is poured into your cup and does not drip through the filter.

Read: Cafe phin

Is Vietnamese Coffee Good For Health?

Yes, Vietnamese coffee is good for your health.

Coffee in general and not just Vietnamese coffee, is known for their health benefits due to their nutritional profile and being loaded with a variety of antioxidants including chlorogenic acid which is unique to coffee.

Studies indicate that coffee is good for weight loss, blood pressure, liver health, brain health and more. The majority of Vietnamese coffee is robusta coffee, a variety of coffee that is said to have more chlorogenic acid than Arabica coffee beans.

Is Vietnamese Coffee High In Caffeine?

Yes, Vietnamese coffee is high in caffeine as the average cup has approximately 100 mg of caffeine. Vietnam, the world’s second largest exporter of coffee behind Brazil and world largest producer and exporter of robusta coffee commonly use robusta beans to brew their cup of coffee.

Robusta coffee beans have on average 2.2x more coffee than Arabica coffee and thus is high in caffeine.

Is Vietnamese Coffee Drip Or Pour Over?

The Vietnamese phin coffee maker combines parts of a pour over coffee as you pour your hot water over your coffee grounds, but you are not using a constant flow of fresh hot water while you are extracting the coffee.

The main extraction is due to the coffee grounds steeping and dripping into the cup below. There are elements of French press full immersion and obviously drip coffee too.

Final Thoughts – Vietnamese Phin Coffee Maker

Using a Vietnamese phin coffee maker is easy, and you can make all the coffee drinks that the locals love from ca phe phin to a tasty ca phe sua (cà phê sữa) and a lot more.

If you are an outdoors type – getting a couple of Vietnamese phin coffee makers will be handy as all that is required for you to make morning coffee is to heat water and have the Vietnamese coffee brewer sitting on top of your cup and follow the instructions above.

Join our active and vibrant online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your awesome images of your Vietnamese coffee!

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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