As the seasons change and the mercury rises, your hot morning cup of coffee becomes less and less appealing when compared to something cooler and more refreshing.
Iced coffee is a great alternative – but let’s face it – you’ve had plenty of it in your time. What about something a little more exciting? A little more exotic?
How about a Vietnamese style iced coffee?
Let’s take a look at a simple Vietnamese iced coffee recipe that is extremely easy to make and an excellent way to cool yourself down, satisfy your sweet tooth and get your caffeine fix all at the same time.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Also known as Ca Phe Phin or Cafe Da, this beverage is made with a very dark roasted coffee and equal parts sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice.
Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam by Catholic missionaries, and due to the lack of fresh milk in the region, sweetened condensed milk was used as the go to alternative.
Since then, iced coffee has become extremely popular in Vietnam and each region in the country has their variation on the basic recipe.
The Vietnamese use a specialized metal filter to brew their coffee – called the Vietnamese Dripper, or the ‘Phin’. This small stainless steel brewer looks like a cup sitting atop a saucer, with a small flat lid.
I love the ‘Phin’ for many reasons, however its biggest advantage is that it’s designed to extract the full flavor of your coffee grinds, meaning additions to your brew (such as sweetened condensed milk) will never mask the true flavor of your coffee.
What You’ll Need
- Vietnamese Coffee Metal Filter Brewer
- Coarsely Ground Dark Roasted Coffee
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 8oz or Larger Glass
- Heat-Proof Coffee Cup
- Ice Cubes
How To Make A Quick Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Step 1: Boil Your Water
Pour about 8-12 oz of water into a pot or kettle and bring to a boil.
Once boiled, you’ll want to let your water sit for 30 seconds to allow it to cool to a temperature that doesn’t scold your coffee (thereby affecting its taste).
Step 2: Set Up Your Dripper
Place metal filter above the coffee cup and remove the top filter.
Step 3: Grind Your Coffee Beans
Grind your dark roasted coffee coarsely, to roughly the size of playground sand.
To ensure grind consistency, I strongly recommended you use a burr grinder that will evenly crush the beans instead of chopping them inconsistently – you can invest in a mechanical grinder, or, pick up an inexpensive and portable hand burr grinder.
Step 4: Add Ground Coffee And Replace Top Filter
Add 1-2 heaped tablespoons of coffee grounds into the brewer and replace the top filter.
Step 5: Bloom
Slowly pour enough water over your grounds to submerge them completely. This will allow the coffee to bloom and release flavor and pleasant aromas. Let the grounds bloom for about 30 seconds, or when air bubbles stop rising to the surface.
Step 6: Fill With Water
Once the bloom is over, continue to pour boiling water in until it reaches the top of the filter.
Now we wait. The water should drip through to your cup over the course of 4-5 minutes.
You’ll know that your grinds are too fine if it takes longer than 5 minutes to brew. Your resulting brew will be over-extracted, and hence, bitter. Make a note of this for next time.
On the flip side, if your grinds are to coarse, the water will run through too fast and under extract the coffee – leaving you with a weak, bland brew.
Step 7: Add Condensed Milk
Add 1-2 teaspoons* of sweetened condensed milk and stir until blended.
*Most Vietnamese recipes suggest equal parts of milk to coffee but some might find that too sweet. Experiment to find your personal taste preference.
Step 8: Add Ice
Step 9: Enjoy
This Vietnamese iced coffee recipe is very straightforward and easy to follow. Enjoy it as is or add things like cinnamon or vanilla to create a personalized signature drink.
About Alex Mastin:
Alex appreciates the finer things in life — great food, great coffee, and great experiences. If he’s not in his kitchen experimenting with the newest coffee gadget, he can be found travelling the world in search of a new and exciting cuisine in which he can be immersed. Catch up on his ramblings at homegrounds.co.