We’ve all been there, desperately awaiting a cool and creamy iced Vietnamese coffee after slurping down a fiery bowl of exotic, oriental spices.
There is nothing better at cooling the fever-sweats dripping down your reddened cheeks — and saving you from looking like “The Silly Whitey Who Thought He Could” — than that fire-quenching tonic.
Vietnamese iced coffee is nothing like cold brew; it is a unique experience that stands out from many other coffee recipes.
You may have already had the brilliant idea to try making your own Vietnamese iced coffee recipe; after all, it seems so simple you could probably use your French press! However, there is nothing like having an authentic Vietnamese style iced coffee, which is why, today, I am going to show you how to make it the authentic way.
What You Will Need
Before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick look at what you will need:
- A Vietnamese, slow drip coffee infuser (Phin).
- Two glasses, one filled with ice.
- Trung Nguyen’s Premium Blend coffee grounds or Café du Monde coffee with chicory.
- A burr grinder (we are using a hand burr grinder here)
- Sweetened condensed milk.
- A pinch of patience.
- Near-boiling water (between 195-205°F).
I know you are ready to get started, but let me make a quick note about some of the items on this list:
Since authenticity is our goal here, you want to use the Vietnamese style coffee infuser.
These coffee infusers are like a combination of a French press and pour over brewer. Because they produce a rounder bodied coffee that pairs more evenly with the sweetened condensed milk, they are essential to getting that genuine Vietnamese coffee taste.
In terms of coffee choice, the Trung Nguyen Premium Blend will give it that buttery flavor so unique to Vietnamese coffee, but Café du Monde is typically the brand of choice for many Vietnamese-Americans. However, you can use just about any coffee your little heart desires.
The same goes with the Longevity Brand sweetened condensed milk. Longevity is favored by many Vietnamese cafes, but feel free to use whatever brand you find at the local supermarket.
An Easy Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe - Step by Step
Alright - enough with the education. By this point you should be salivating for a cup of vietnamese style iced coffee, so lets get straight into it.
You don’t have to follow these steps in exactly the right order, but it helps:
Step #1 — Prepare Your Water
Bring your water to a boil, and then remove it from heat and let it sit for about a minute to a minute and a half.
This will let it cool to somewhere within the range of 195–205°F, which you want because boiling water will burn your grounds.
Step #2 — Measure Your Milk
While you wait for your water to cool, put two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk into the empty glass.
The amount is really up to you and your own personal tastes, so if you like your coffee a little sweeter, feel free to add a touch more sweetened condensed milk. However, be careful not to add too much, because this stuff is sweet!
Step #3 — Prepare Your Phin
Now pour between 2–3 tablespoons of ground coffee into your Phin (again, the amount is totally up to you), but don’t put the filter press on yet.
We are going for coarsely ground coffee here - too fine and it will fall straight through the filter into your glass. Go as coarse as a french press brew (which is; very coarse)
Once you’ve poured in your grounds, place the Phin on top of the glass with sweetened condensed milk and pour in just a smidgen of hot water to wet the grounds.
Wetting the grounds allows the aromas and trapped oils to bloom, leaving you with a more flavorful cup of coffee.
Step #4 — Assemble the Press
With your grounds slightly wetted, tightly screw on the filter press. You want your coffee to be well packed, but still allow water to seep slowly through. This step may take a little trial and error, but for the perfect brew, water should drip through at one drip per second.
With a traditional Phin, you tighten the press by screwing the top, but some Phins don’t have a screw-on press. If you are using one of these, then just press the filter down tightly and give it a little twist.
Step #5 — Brew Your Coffee
Next (assuming that your water is at the right temperature) fill the Phin nearly up to the brim with hot water, and cover with the little top.
Now wait for three to five minutes for all the water to drip down through the filter and into the glass. A Phin takes a some time to brew, so be careful not to rush this step.
Step #6 — Stir Your Coffee
Once the Phin is done dripping, take it off and set it aside (Protip: you can use the Phin’s top as a tray to set it on).
You’re almost done now, so bend over and take one big sniff of your fresh Vietnamese coffee. Then use a spoon to stir and dissolve the sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the cup.
Side note: If you were wanting hot Vietnamese coffee, this is where you would stop.
Step #7 — Pour and Mix
And finally — the most difficult step — with the grace of a highly skilled mixologist, delicately drizzle your coffee concoction over each individual cube of ice in the other glass.
Alternatively, you can just unceremoniously dump the coffee into the glass with ice, but I leave that choice up to you.
Now you are done — it is as simple as that — so pull up a chair, throw open the windows, and enjoy your tasty creation!
Did you enjoy this walkthrough?
I always enjoy trying (some, but not all) different ways to drink, and this recipe is one of my favorites. Whether as a chaser for an overly spicey dish, or as an accoutrement to a sunny Summer afternoon, authentic Vietnamese iced coffee is a refreshing drink unlike any other.
In the comments below, share your own thoughts. If you tried the recipe, be sure to let me know how it turned out, and any tips or tricks you learned along the way. And don’t forget to share with your friends if you liked the tutorial!