How to Make Vietnamese Coffee the Traditional Way


So much has been happening with Vietnam over the last few decades and producing coffee is one of them.

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee and even with the rise and surpassing Columbia, the way coffee is brewed there, still remains the same.

The traditional way of making Vietnamese coffee after roasting and grinding the beans begins with the use of an aluminum filter called a phin. The photo above shows what a typical phin looks like placed on top of a glass.

There are fancier versions of this filter made from stainless steel but in the streets of Vietnam and many Vietnamese households you’ll see plenty of these resting on top of coffee glasses. This is how the filtering process is done.

A vessel (glass mug) is filled with sweetened condensed milk and placed on top is where you’ll pour your water into the phin where it will drip hot Vietnamese coffee grounds into your vessel.

The phin is a smart and straightforward little device. It’s basically a slow dripper that’s meant to be placed on top of glass. It will fit on top of most common glasses.

Here’s how to use a phin to make Vietnamese Coffee.

  • Place the phin (filter) on top of a glass with a mouth that’s 2.75″ – 3.85″ wide
  • Preheat your with mug and phin by running hot water through it
  • Discard hot water from glass and remove phin
  • Fill a preheated glass with 1-3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • Add 3 tablespoons of coarsely ground Vietnamese coffee to the phin’s brew chamber.
  • Compress the grinds with the perforated tamper.
  • Set the whole unit on top of a glass
  • Pour in a few cycles of hot water.
  • This should take roughly 4 – 5 minutes to make one cup a coffee.
  • Stiff and enjoy

What Are The Coffee Grounds In Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is often made from Robusta coffee beans.
In the traditional preparation of Vietnamese coffee, Robusta is intentionally dark roasted on a low heat for fifteen minutes, and often mixed with other ingredients, such as chicory or corn, to improve its flavor and increase yield.

Does Vietnamese coffee have more caffeine?

Robusta coffee contains more caffeine and less sugars than Arabica coffee, and some may consider it to taste stronger and this is what adds to the distinctive taste of Vietnamese coffee.

Example: a 6oz cup of Arabica coffee contains around 75-130 mg of caffeine whereas Robusta is roughly at 200 mg. This makes it almost twice as much in caffeine content from the Arabica bean which is typical used in black coffee.

Why Is Vietnamese Coffee So Thick

It’s due to brewing times. The longer the brew times will cause the hot water to extract all the oils and compounds from the grounds. This combined with the sweetened condense milk give it a thick and creamy taste and feel.

Final Thoughts

The use of Robusta coffee beans and sweetened condensed milk and perhaps a tablespoon of sugar will sure charge up your tastes buds. So if you haven’t already tried this, you can easily make this at home or the next time your out and find yourself at a Vietnamese Restaurant, pair this with some Pho.

You can thank me later!


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