Nothing is more refreshing or more energizing than an iced Vietnamese coffee. Smooth and creamy, with a big punch of intense coffee flavor. This is the caffeine kick I want all day, every day.
After Brazil, Vietnam is the world’s largest coffee producer and it’s no surprise that Vietnamese 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 culinary 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 laced with sweetened condensed milk and drunk hot or cold.
Many people today think that Vietnamese coffee is just plain old coffee with sweetened condensed milk. If we want to be purists: real Vietnamese coffee is made from robusta (or a blend of robusta and arabica) coffee beans grown in Vietnam.
Robusta beans are bitter, less acidic, and contain twice the caffeine of the most commonly used arabica beans. Robusta beans produce a very dark, very strong coffee that balances beautifully with 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 truly authentic cup you should use those too ????
How does Vietnamese coffee taste?
In a word: delicious! I am addicted to this sweet flavored latte. It tastes like you imagine coffee to have. Deliciously dark and deep with a hint of toasted caramel, dulce de leche, hazelnut butter, with just a hint of chocolate notes.
how to make vietnamese coffee
- Prepare the coffee equipment. Gather your phin, ground coffee beans, sweetened condensed milk, and a cup or glass. I like to use heat resistant glass for aesthetics.
- Boiled water. To be precise, you want the water to be between 195° and 205°F. Basically bring it to a boil and remove from heat.
- Preheat the phin and mug. Pour some water through the filter. It will pass through and heat the filter and cup. Gently pour in the hot water.
- Add the condensed milk to the cup. Pour the condensed milk (if available) into the cup. Replace the flapper body on top, setting the filter and lid aside.
- Make the coffee bloom. Pour in 1 heaping tablespoon of finely ground coffee and use the filter press to lightly press the coffee. Pour approximately 1 tablespoon of hot water over the filter. Let bloom for about 30 to 40 seconds.
- Prepare the coffee. Slowly pour more hot water into the phin until it reaches the top, then cover with the lid. Allow the coffee to steep, this should take around 3-5 minutes and should flow slowly.
- Enjoy! Once the coffee is infused, remove the phin. Stir and pour over ice or add more hot water if desired.
Hot or iced Vietnamese coffee
In Vietnam, coffee is enjoyed both hot and cold, it really depends on your personal preference.
- Hot – Simply enjoy coffee brewed 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 make iced coffee. You can brew the coffee and then pour it over ice or you can brew the coffee directly over ice.
Vietnamese coffee equipment and ingredients
What is a phin? It is a single stainless steel coffee filter that rests on a glass. A phin is made up of three parts: the body, the press or filter disc, and the lid. The coffee grounds are introduced into the body, the press is placed lightly on it, and finally the lid covers everything. The coffee slowly flows into the waiting cup at the bottom. It’s kind of a mix between the pour-over and the French press.
Some people say it’s the condensed milk or the way it’s prepared that makes Vietnamese coffee Vietnamese coffee, but it’s actually the beans. Many Vietnamese roasters toast with butter to give it more richness.
For true Vietnamese coffee, try to find a bean grown and roasted in Vietnam. Contrary to popular belief, Café du Monde coffees (often used in Vietnamese restaurants) are 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 Vietnamese black coffee (ca phe den) and many other people do too. I’m a big fan of sweetened condensed milk; sometimes I eat it with bread.
My favorite brand of sweetened condensed milk is the Longevity brand. You can find it online or in Asian supermarkets. 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 however I please. Sweetened condensed milk will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.
If you’re just in a regular grocery store, look for Eagle Brand, Carnation, and Nestlé La Lechera sweetened condensed milks. I especially like the tubes they sell now (Eagle Brand, La Lechera) because they are so easy to squeeze that you don’t need a can opener.
Vietnamese Iced Cheat Coffee
When you want Vietnamese iced coffee and you want it fast, here’s a quick and easy way to make it—no phin required! That is how:
- Make a very strong cup of coffee.either an espresso (at least 2 shots) or an extra strong brewed coffee.
- Add 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or to taste then fill the glass with ice.
- Hot coffee will melt the ice. Fill with cold water if desired. Enjoy!
Starbucks Vietnamese Iced Coffee
This is a trick I use when we’re on the road and need a sweet and creamy Vietnamese iced coffee, but I don’t have sweetened condensed milk on hand. You can adjust the espresso shots and white chocolate mocha bombs to suit your caffeine and smoothness needs.
When I want it to taste almost exactly like a Vietnamese iced coffee, I order a Large iced espresso quartet with 3 white chocolate mocha pumps.
Egg coffee or cà phê trứng is a specialty of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Whipped egg yolks, condensed milk, and strong coffee come together in one perfect cup. The egg coffee is beautifully layered with contrasting flavors: the bitterness of the coffee, the sweetness of the condensed milk, and the richness of the whipped egg yolks. It’s like drinking a liquid tiramisu.
How to make egg coffee
Make a cup of Vietnamese coffee, without sweetened condensed milk. The fluffy and creamy egg filling will add all the sweetness you need. While the coffee is infusing, prepare the sweetened flan by whisking together the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk with a milk frother. I like this one because it whips the eggs incredibly fast.
You can also use it to make dalgona coffee! Once you’ve whipped the sweetened egg cream and made the coffee, carefully pour the cream over the coffee. Enjoy as is or use a small spoon to mix it all together.
Where to buy pre-made Vietnamese coffee
If after reading all this you feel like trying a cup of Vietnamese coffee but you don’t want to make it yourself, there is another option. Just go to your local banh mi deli. They will always have Vietnamese coffee on the menu.
- Where does the black fin come from?
This was a limited edition from a friend who has a Vietnamese cafe, unfortunately you can’t get it anymore, but if anyone knows where you can get one, please leave me a comment!
- Vietnamese coffee is too sweet for me.
Pro Tip: When ordering from Vietnamese bakeries or restaurants, you can ask them for less condensed milk if you like your coffee less sweet.
- Can we drink it black?
Yes you can and many people do. It’s called a ca phe den and it’s actually quite common!
- Why use sweetened condensed milk?
When coffee was starting to become very popular in Vietnam, fresh milk was not as widely available as sweetened condensed milk. Fresh milk is much more perishable, and sweetened condensed milk was much easier to store and use. Now the combination of strong and sweet is synonymous with Vietnamese coffee.
what to serve
Smooth and creamy, with a big punch of intense coffee flavor.
- 1 soup vietnamese coffee Sun
- 1-2 soup sweetened condensed milk optional
To make coffee with egg
While the coffee is infusing, prepare an egg mousse by mixing 2 egg yolks and the condensed milk in a glass. Use a milk frother to beat until thick and foamy, 2-3 minutes.
Pour the soft egg over the brewed coffee. Serve the cup of coffee with egg in a bowl of hot water, if desired. Drink the coffee as is or stir it before tasting.
Estimated nutrition for coffee with 1 tablespoon of condensed milk. Black coffee is essentially 0 calories.
Amount per proportion
Calories from fat 15
% Daily value*
saturated fat 1.1g7%
Sodium 25 milligrams1%
Potassium 78 milligrams2%
The carbohydrates 10.5g4%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.