The first time we had a Vietnamese coffee we were living in Dublin. We’ve always liked to try new things and the combination of condensed milk and coffee sounded good to us. So when we went to Vietnam, we got to experience it in a very traditional setting. We planned a lovely day walking around Saigon and that’s where we found a coffee shop called Talk Barista Saigon. The owner was so passionate about his coffee. He was a joy to talk to and if you are ever in the area I’d highly recommend popping in for a visit.
Vietnamese coffee is one of the best coffees in the world, with a rich taste. It is often overlooked for the more famous Columbian and Ethiopian varieties. In general it is served with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom of a clear heatproof glass with a filter, called a phin, sitting on top.
The coffee slowly drips into the glass and then you can mix it with the condensed milk. It can be enjoyed hot or iced.
If you can, get Trung Nguyen Vietnamese brand coffee. But you can also use French roast coffee as well.
- 3 tbsp ground coffee
- 1-3 tbsp of condensed milk
- Boiling water
- Evenly spread 3 tablespoons of ground coffee in the filter.
- Don’t shake or compress the coffee or it could block the filter holes.
- Pour some condensed milk in the glass.
- Place the metal filter gently on top.
- Pour 2 tbsp of water into the filter & wait for 20 seconds to bloom the coffee.
- The bloom is important for the coffee brewing process as it lets the sour-tasting carbon dioxide escape, meaning it allows more water to interact with the coffee to extract the flavour.
- Next press on the filter gently to compress the bloomed coffee. This will slow the drip rate and improve your coffee.
- Now pour the rest of the water and wait 5 minutes to finish brewing.
- Remove the filter and stir to mix in the condensed milk.
In Vietnam, they will ask you ‘sweet’ ‘less sweet’ or ‘more sweet’.
Which, roughly translates as:
- 1 tbsp – less sweet coffee
- 2 tbsp- sweet coffee
- 3 tbsp- more sweet (enjoy!)
Alternatively pour your freshly dripped coffee over a full glass of ice and condensed milk and stir. Enjoy your first of many Vietnamese coffees.