Vietnamese coffee has a unique taste and texture. We will show you how you can prepare traditional Vietnamese coffee, give you background information on coffee culture and growing coffee in Vietnam and introduce you to the growing areas from which we get our coffee from Vietnam. With Vietnamese coffee, authentic enjoyment is so straightforward!
History of Vietnamese coffee
The French brought coffee to Vietnam more than 100 years ago. The Vietnamese made something of their own out of it: Cà Phê Sữa Dà, strong coffee with sweet condensed milk and ice cubes. Hot water is poured on and slowly drips through a metal filter into a glass with sweetened condensed milk, in which a strong coffee similar to espresso now collects. Finally, you add ice cubes and you get a wonderfully aromatic and invigorating drink.
Of course, you need a special coffee for this, using a special blend with a high proportion of Robusta beans, which taste much stronger than the Arabica bean.
Traditional Vietnamese coffee preparation
Regardless of whether you are a fan of a healthy mix of Arabica and Robusta or swear by the pure Arabica coffee: Vietnamese coffee tastes best when it is prepared in Vietnamese.
The traditional Vietnamese way of preparing coffee is unaffected by the type of bean. In contrast to the typical “mass filter coffee production”, Vietnamese coffee is always cooked in individual portions. To do this, the drip filter with a sieve bowl, called Phin, is placed on the glass or cup and filled with coffee powder. The small press is then placed on the coffee powder and boiling water is poured over it. Little by little the coffee drips into its container.
In contrast to colder countries, coffee in Vietnam is usually drunk cold due to the high temperatures. Often it is also cooled with the help of ice cubes or served directly as iced coffee. Adding sweetened condensed milk is also typically Vietnamese. This gives the coffee a pleasantly mild note.
Equipment to make Vietnamese coffee
You can’t do without it: Vietnamese coffee needs a special metal coffee filter. In Vietnam you still have to do a hand for a ca phe. Usually ordered unsuspectingly, the cellar gets astonished looks when it brings it.
Vietnamese coffee is served in cafes as Ca phe sua (Vietnamese Cà phê sūa) in a glass with a metal filter and separate hot water.
The guest has to prepare his coffee himself. It’s simple, but still unfamiliar. The small Vietnamese coffee filters are made of metal and work as a conventional hand filter is placed on a cup.
The coffee powder lies inside on a sieve, the so-called Phin, and is always prepared in portions. Put on the filter, pour hot water into it and be patient. It takes about five minutes for the Ca Phe to drip through. Up to this point, this would be a completely normal hand-infused coffee.
In a Ca phe sua, the coffee filter contains a mixture of ground Arabica and Robusta beans (usually in a 70/30 ratio). The Vietnamese love it a lot. For this reason, they prefer strong roasts.
Vietnamese coffee tastes very strong and is extremely dark. In terms of taste and appearance, it tends towards espresso.
Tourists are therefore sometimes given a thermos with hot water to dilute them.
Vietnamese coffee recipe
- Add one to two teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk to a cup.
- Put about three to four heaping teaspoons of coffee in the Vietnamese coffee filter and distribute the coffee evenly.
- Place the strainer in the coffee filter. Make sure that it is loose.
- First pour just a little hot water into the filter so that the coffee can “swell”.
- After 30 seconds, you can fill the container completely with hot, but not boiling, water. Put the lid on the filter and wait until all of the water has run through the filter.
- Put the lid on and wait. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and enjoy your traditional Vietnamese coffee “Cà phê phin”.
Additional notes on how to make Vietnamese coffee
- For preparation in the Phin, the coffee should be ground medium to coarse (grinding degree 4 of 5). If the coffee is ground too finely, it runs too slowly through the Phin and becomes bitter. If the grind is too coarse, the coffee will be too thin.
- Use enough coffee. The lower area should be filled with coffee to over the edge so that the water cannot run past the side.
- Fill your Phin with coffee powder before adding it to your cup. This is how you avoid powdered coffee in the finished coffee.
- The Phin’s lid can also be used as a coaster. When the coffee has run through, you can turn the lid over and place the Phin on it so that your table doesn’t get coffee stains or get wet.
- The classic Vietnamese coffee preparation: In Vietnam, coffee is also often drunk as iced coffee. Just put a few ice cubes in the glass before you put the Phin on it.
Vietnamese egg coffee recipe
Completed in: 20 minutes
Per serving: Energy: 151 kcal, carbohydrates: 15 g, protein: 4 g, fat: 8 g
Note: A hint of cardamom is not exactly typical for Vietnam, but it tastes great.
Ingredients (for 1 cup):
1 organic egg yolk
15 g condensed milk (sweetened, thick, e.g. from Longevity)
1 tbsp milk
½ tbsp sugar
¾ cardamom pod
100 ml filter coffee (strong Vietnamese e.g. Trung Nguyen, alternatively normal strong filter coffee)
- Mix egg yolks with condensed milk, milk, and sugar in a beater. Beat with the whisk in a hot to boiling water bath until creamy and thick. Beat the cream in a food processor (or with the hand mixer) for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the cardamom seed from the capsule and crush it very finely in a mortar.
- Half fill the cups or glasses with the egg cream. Fill up with the hot coffee, do not stir (the coffee settles at the bottom, the egg foam rises to the top).
- Sprinkle with cardamom to taste and serve immediately.
Vietnamese coffee: what makes it so special among Asian coffees?
Vietnamese coffee is an integral part of the culture of the Southeast Asian country. Introduced by the French in the 19th century during the colonial period, the “staple food coffee” has become an integral part of everyday life for the Vietnamese population. No matter where you go, you can find the small, traditional coffee shops on the street corners. People meet here for a coffee in the morning, the first meal of the day.
The coffee type used in Vietnamese coffee
Most of the coffee growing in Vietnam takes place in the central part of the country, the so-called Trung Bộ. The central highlands of Vietnam (Tây Nguyên) with its fertile volcanic soils and peaks over 3000 meters are located here, bordering Cambodia and Laos. The highlands are strongly characterized by agriculture and despite their size of around 2/3 that of Germany, they are home to just under 6 million people. It is home to most of the coffee, tea, spice, and fruit-growing regions.
The three coffee-growing areas from which VietBeans gets its coffee and tea are also located here: Lâm Đồng, Gia Lai and Đắk Lắk. We want to bring them a little closer to you here.
Coffee of the Robusta bean variety was mainly grown in the past. It contains more caffeine and also more bitter substances than the well-known Arabica bean, which makes coffee naturally stronger. However, the cultivation culture in the country is currently changing. Plantation owners are increasingly opting for the classic Arabica plant.
FAQ about how to make Vietnamese coffee
How should the grind of my Vietnamese coffee be?
Set your coffee grinder to a medium to the fine setting. It should not be too fine, otherwise, the ground coffee will push itself through the openings of the filter, but not too coarse either, otherwise the coffee will lose its taste a little.
How strong is Vietnamese coffee roasted?
In general, Vietnamese coffee has a slightly higher degree of roast than conventional coffee. This is also reflected in the somewhat bitter taste.
Where can I buy a Vietnamese coffee filter?
Basically, you can find good models almost everywhere online, in most department stores, or in specialty coffee shops.