Friday, April 13, 2012

Coffee, Vietnamese style

Whenever the weather starts to get warm, I always find myself in a bit of a conundrum with my morning coffee. Though the truly hot weather hasn't hit yet (and hopefully won't until June), there are still a few days where I don't want to be drinking a cup of hot coffee. There's nothing less desirable than sweating profusely over your breakfast because you need your caffeine fix.

This is why I'm here to tell you about Vietnamese coffee. Though you can drink it hot, it's meant to be served over ice. And it's so, so good. Sweetened with condensed milk and made as a single serving, it's perfect for a hot summer day. And you won't have to buy expensive iced drinks from Starbucks now.

First, you need some fairly specific equipment. I was lucky enough to receive all of mine for Christmas, but I'm told you can get it all in Chinatown. The Vietnamese filter has been disassembled in the picture below so you can see all it's parts. Then you need some Vietnamese coffee, such Trung Nguyen.

Fill the filter with coffee until it reaches the indented rim that runs along the inside of the filter. I use about 3 rounded teaspoons. Then screw on the removable part of the filter tightening enough that the water doesn't run through too quickly. It should be snug, but not so tight that you can't turn it any further. Pour some condensed milk into the bottom of a glass. Then boil some water (or, you know, have it boiling while you're getting the glass and coffee ready).

Place the filter over the glass with condensed milk. Pour about a centimeter of water into the filter and wait about 20 seconds. If the coffee is dripping through (not pouring through) then fill the filter to the top with water and place the lid on top. If you find that the coffee is not dripping through or is filtering through too quickly, loosen or tighten it accordingly.

Once all the water has filtered through, remove the filter. If you want to drink it hot, top it off with some more hot water. I like to stir it so the condensed milk is evenly distributed. Other people like to save it for the end. If you want it iced, stir it up and pour it into a glass over ice. Again, you don't have to stir it first, but I think it tastes better all mixed in. Not too sweet and kind of rich and chocolatey.
This is by no means the final word on Vietnamese coffee. In fact it was largely trial and error aided by the internet. But it really is very easy. The only problem is if you want another cup you have to go through the whole process again. But I think it's worth it. So happy warm weather! And if anyone has their own tips for Vietnamese coffee, let me know.


  1. YES!
    So good.
    Did you get the can of coffee for Xmas too?? It's so hard to find in Canada - Robin normally orders it.
    I've been skipping the condensed milk and just using the filter to make my morning Americanos lately :)

    1. Yes, I got the coffee for Christmas too. My mom says she got it somewhere in Chinatown. I'll have to investigate further :)