How to Easily Make Genuine Vietnamese Coffee

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Iced Coffee - How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee www.compassandfork.comLooking for a great coffee, but want to try something different? Why not try Vietnamese coffee? Delicious served either hot or cold it is wickedly strong, sweet, rich and refreshing all at the same time. Try a ca phe sua nong (hot coffee with milk) or If the weather is too hot and/or humid, try ca phe sua da, (ice coffee with milk) Once tasted, you will be coming back for more.

Coffee in Vietnam

Another French legacy for the Vietnamese was the introduction of coffee. I was shocked to find out that Vietnam is the number 2 coffee-producing nation in the world! The coffee industry in Vietnam employs 1 million people, a staggering number. I have never associated Vietnam with coffee and I am guessing I am not alone on that score.

But here’s the rub. Vietnam primarily produces “robusta” coffee. The more premium bean is “Arabica” and this bean naturally attracts all of the marketing. So what is robusta used for besides Vietnamese coffee?

Almost all instant coffee is made from robusta, including the ubiquitous Nescafe. In addition, some premium brands (including Lavazza) offer robusta blends at a lower price point. Robusta contains more caffeine than Arabica and is therefore more bitter. It is also easier to grow and cheaper than Arabica.

 

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The Verdict on Vietnamese Coffee

Okay we are coffee snobs. Many places we travel we don’t drink coffee because we find it hard to find a decent cup. At home we drink hot, black coffee (no sugar) from a French press, or when we are out Italian-style extracted coffee with milk or black (espresso) is usually our preferred  option. So biases confessed, how did we find Vietnamese coffee?

Well it grows on you and after a while you start to look forward to it! But it was not until half way through our trip that I started to absolutely adore it. Let me explain.

Nha Tran - How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee www.compassandfork.comWhen I first arrived in Vietnam I was drinking my Vietnamese coffee black. It was strong and bitter and I didn’t really care for it. I avoided it for a while. But then I realized my hot coffee needed milk in it! Cow’s milk is not always available so the locals use sweetened, condensed milk (ca phe sua nong is hot coffee with milk). Oh wow, this was an improvement! Creamy and sweet, suddenly the coffee was pretty good! And finally in Hoi An, I tried the cold, iced version (ca phe sua da). Very nice indeed! Maybe the best ice coffee ever?! Read on . . .

We cycled each day we were in Hoi An, starting early to beat some of the heat. But by mid-morning we were in need of a coffee despite the heat. We stopped in a little café on the trail (yes very convenient) and against my better judgment, relented and ordered iced Vietnamese coffees.

Hoi An fields - How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee www,www.compassandfork.com

The cup arrives with a generous dollop or two of sweetened, condensed milk in the bottom and ice. The phin filter (containing ground coffee) is placed on top of the cup and a small quantity of boiling water is poured into the phin (filter). The lid is placed on top of the phin and your hot coffee slowly drips over the ice and condensed milk. This takes about four minutes. When the dripping coffee stops it is time to start drinking. Give it a good stir and you are right to go. Well I can tell you it is like drinking something prepared in heaven!

Strong, rich, sweet (this from a person who doesn’t take sugar in his coffee) and refreshingly cold.

Ca phe sua da is just divine, there is no other word for it.

To make your own, you will need sweetened condensed milk, a Vietnamese brand of coffee and a phin (filter), Both of these items are available in our shop. You can also purchase a kit to make Vietnamese style coffee(includes premium coffee, phin, Vietnamese sweetened condensed milk and pictorial instructions).

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 The Ultimate Guide to Vietnamese Coffee including how to make it www.compassandfork.com
How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee
How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee
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You need to use Vietnamese coffee (courser-ground robusta) and a ca phe phin (Vietnamese filter). This ensures the coffee takes the requisite 4 minutes to drip into the cup (ensuring the right strength). If you have one, use a glass cup or mug.
Servings Prep Time Passive Time
1cup 1minute 4minutes
Servings Prep Time
1cup 1minute
Passive Time
4minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cup
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: cup
Units:
Instructions
  1. Place the sweetened condensed milk into your cup. Add 1 rounded tablespoon of coffee into the phin. Tamp down the coffee with the filter, leaving the filter on top of the coffee. Place the phin on top of the cup.Condensed milk - How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee www.compassandfork.com
  2. Pour the boiling water into the phin and place the lid of the phin on top. The coffee should take about 4 minutes to filter through.Then the coffee - How to easily make genuine Vietnamese Coffee www.compassandfork.com
  3. Stir the coffee and condensed milk until combined and then if you would like it cold, add small ice blocks.How to Make the Perfect Vietnamese Dinner Party Vietnamese Coffee www.compassandfork.com

28 Responses

  1. Nikki
    | Reply

    I loved Vietnamese coffee….it was like a sugary heaven in a cup for me (I have a sweet tooth) So glad to have stumbled across this recipe so I can attempt to recreate it in my own home.

    • Editor
      |

      Nikki it is worth a go! The condensed milk is the key. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Sara @ Life's Little Sweets
    | Reply

    I love coffee, pinning this one for later! Thank you for sharing! I always love your pictures!

    • Editor
      |

      Sara, It is a nice way to serve coffee. I am glad you enjoy the pictures. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Shiho
    | Reply

    Wow, I did no know either that Vietnam is the second nation producing coffee. Great post!

    • Editor
      |

      Thank you so much. You don’t hear much about Vietnamese coffee because they grow “robusta” coffee beans. It employs 1 million people so a good industry to have.

  4. Kylee @ Kylee Cooks
    | Reply

    I LOVE vietnamese coffee. I love that you posted this 🙂

    • Editor
      |

      Good on you Kylee, thanks for your comment. We love Vietnamese coffee too. So perfect for the climate there. Cheers….Mark

  5. Vicky @ Avocdo Pesto
    | Reply

    This post brings me back to my one month backpacking through Vietnam in 2012. Loved Hoi An and the Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk!!!

    • Editor
      |

      I know I take coffee black and no sugar but fell in love with the sweetened condensed milk and especially the iced version. Thanks for your comment Vicky. Cheers….Mark

  6. Ange
    | Reply

    I’m really enjoying your posts on Vietnam. I’m going to look out for this kind of coffee kit when I’m at the asian grocer next.

    • Editor
      |

      Ange, thanks for your comment. We found the coffee addicting, do try it. The little kits are cheap and are in our shop if you can’t find them. Cheers….Mark

  7. Laura
    | Reply

    I ADORE Vietnamese coffee–although I had no idea it produced so much! I feel like in the States Vietnamese coffee is often made with a chicory style coffee, like Cafe du Monde from New Orleans. Does the coffee in Vietnam also have that chicory flavor? OK either way now I am craving some. Off to heat up some water….

    • Editor
      |

      Hi Laura, thanks for your thought provoking comment! I think you are spot on with the chicory, it is very close in taste to the Vietnamese coffee and I have heard that chicory is often used as a substitute. Regards….Mark

  8. Jessica {Swanky Recipes}
    | Reply

    I’ve been meaning to try this for the longest time. I have all the ingredients and it looks easy enough to make. Can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Editor
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      Jessica, thanks for your comment. It’s easy ok and if it’s not quite perfect then try again, you will love it. Cheers….Mark

  9. Great post! I love Vietnamese coffee and have made it at home a couple times!! It’s awesome!! Everyone must try!! 🙂

    • Editor
      |

      Good on you Cassandrea. We loved it in Vietnam and we are still enjoying it back home. So easy to make even if it is a little bit naughty with the sweetened condensed milk. Cheers….Mark

  10. Adriana
    | Reply

    We are coffee snobs too! I hope to one day visit Vietnam, thank you for sharing this! I’m definitely going to try it! X

    • Editor
      |

      Adriana, thanks for your post. Nothing wrong with being a coffee snob! It is definitely worth trying. Cheers….Mark

  11. Farida
    | Reply

    Thanks for this informative post! I love coffee, Vietnamese its really strong, but I didn’t thought its just coming form Vietnam!

    • Editor
      |

      Farida, it is strong all right but luckily they put that sweetened condensed milk in it. What a contrast, strong and sweet. Cheers….Mark

  12. Valentina
    | Reply

    I’m thrilled with this post and will definitely be bookmarking it! I adore coffee and have always been super interested in Vietnamese coffee. 🙂

    • Editor
      |

      Valentina, thank you so much. We have another coffee post on Turkish coffee. No condensed milk there though. Cheers….Mark

  13. Sherri @ Watch Learn Eat
    | Reply

    This looks delicious! Love trying new coffees and new ways to make coffee!

    • Editor
      |

      Hi Sherri, thanks for your comment. Here is a post on Turkish coffee (and tea) in case you are interested. Cheers….Mark

  14. Shashi at RunninSrilankan
    | Reply

    Such an interesting post! Like you, I too, have never associated Vietnam with coffee and I hadn’t heard of “robusto” coffee – though ironically enough, I have enjoyed Nescaffe!

    • Editor
      |

      Thanks for your comment Shashi. I grew up on nescafe and did enjoy it. But Vietnamese-style coffee is a much more decadent use of robusta beans.

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