Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee 

 October 6, 2019

By  Enda McLarnon

Thanks for taking your time to read our informational article on how to make Vietnamese iced coffee. This is a drink that many people seem to like.

It can actually be made in an number of slightly different ways, and as always it can be a lot of fun simply finding out which recipe and method you prefer to use.

We will show you a few options and then you can try those and see which you like best. Even better, you can adapt any of these to suit your own needs.

Traditionally most Vietnamese coffees taste very sweet. There is however a very good reason for that.

Most of the coffee in the world is made from the Arabica bean, however most coffee used for Vietnamese coffee is largely produced using the Robusta bean. The most popular used is the Trung Nguyen which you can find in most Asian supermarkets.

This type of Robusta bean is actually quite bitter and higher in caffeine content. As a result of that, they then use sweetened condensed milk to sweeten the drink.

how to make Vietnamese iced coffee

Recipe 1 - Ca phe sua da

As you can see the ingredients are:

  • A roast medium coarse ground coffee
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Crushed ice

In the video they then use a Vietnamese coffee press to make the coffee. This is known as a "Phin." This is just a small slow brewer, where coarse ground coffee is filtered through.

Understanding the Phin - Vietnamese Brewing Coffee Set

There are two types of these available:

  1. The gravity fed type - the filter floats on top
  2. The screw type - the filter gets screwed in

Either type works really well and as you can see, these are not that expensive to buy.

These are also good if you like filter type coffees that are slowly brewed

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Recipe 2 - Hot Vietnamese Coffee

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to a glass
  2. Put the Phin on top of the glass and remove the filter
  3. Add a tablespoon of your favourite ground coffee and tap to level out the grounds
  4. Replace the filter press and press down firmly (gravity) or screw down firmly (screw type) Don't over push or press and firmly is the best way to do this
  5. Pour in a splash of hot water and leave for 30 seconds so as the water moistens the grains
  6. After that fill up the Phin and cover it
  7. The coffee will slowly drip down (may take 5-6 minutes)
  8. When finished remove the phin from the glass and stir until blended.

Recipe 3 - Iced Vietnamese Coffee

  1. Fill a glass with ice cubes
  2. Using the recipe 2 from above make your coffee
  3. Pour the coffee into the glass and stir and serve

Recipe 4 - Shaken Iced Vietnamese Coffee

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or a blender with ice cubes
  2. Using the recipe 2 from above make your coffee and then add to the shaker or blender
  3. Shake well or blend gently
  4. Serve in a glass with a couple of ice cubes

Recipe 5 - Cafe Sua Da

Vietnamese Coffee Making Tips

The basics of making this type of coffee are simple enough. However as we have heard, the devil is always in the detail.

Picking the Right Coffee

There is always a strong temptation to go with whatever ground coffee you may have around the house. That will work for sure, but if you use sweetened condensed milk and an Arabica ground coffee, it can be really sweet.

You are also losing out we believe on the authentic flavour and taste.

We think it is worth investing in the beans used to make this coffee. You can get these at Asian supermarkets, but it may be easier to but them online.

There are a few choices of these available, but we did like the Trung Nguyen blend, when we tried this brewing method.

There are little hints of chocolate, fruit and nuts in this blend and a very enjoyable taste.

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Using Condensed Milk

In a busy world it is always tempting to take short cuts. Vietnamese coffee relies on condensed milk. Sure you can use ordinary milk or even cream, however it will never taste the same.

The condensed milk not only forms the taste, but it is also what makes this particular coffee drink thick and creamy. You can easily find condensed milk in any supermarket, so make sure to use this.

Using a Phin

You could use a Moka pot or even a French Press to do the brewing and that will work well enough. Tradition though would state that you use a Phin. These are not expensive, and they add another interesting brewing method to your coffee collection.

They are also interesting enough to watch as the coffee slowly drips through them.

Patience my Friend

In our crazy busy world, there is always a temptation to rush this process. Don't make this coffee first thing in the morning if you are rushing out to work. Have it in on a lazy afternoon or evening, when you have the time to enjoy it.

Vietnamese coffee uses a slow brewing method, and it is all about relaxation and being patient so as you enjoy the process and the taste when properly brewed.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon has a Business Management Honour's Degree and applies his professional insight, to analyse and write helpful product reviews with tips and useful advice. I am also a coffee lover and enjoy tasting all of the coffee types the world has to offer.

Enda McLarnon

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