Vietnamese iced coffee is known to locals as “cà phê đá”. Don’t worry, this isn’t anything magical, it just means “ice coffee,” I’d pronounce it “café da”. In case you were wondering.
Coffee wasn’t introduced to Vietnam until the late 1850s when a French catholic priest brought them a single arabica tree. Now, Vietnam is the largest producer of Robusta coffee and is the second-largest producer of total coffee worldwide. That is an extraordinary figure to read about Vietnam, mainly when you investigate how much money coffee brings the country of Vietnam.
Vietnamese iced coffee traditionally was made using sweetened condensed milk due to the lack of fresh milk available. If you know me well, then you’ll know anything sweetened, and I’m game. Yes, I do have a sweet tooth.
If you’re used to a standard watered-down coffee, this may be a game-changer for you. Vietnamese iced coffee is known for being very rich, sweet, creamy, and it’s bold in flavour, meaning it packs a coffee punch.
Vietnamese iced coffee with filter
- Hot water
- 1 ½ tbsp of dark roast ground coffee beans
- 2 Tbsp of sweetened, condensed milk
- Ice cubes
- Vietnamese coffee filter
- Pour your sweetened, condensed milk into the glass of your choice.
- Remove the top screen from your coffee filter and add the coffee, and screw top back on. Place your filter on your glass which you’ve added the milk too. Pour hot water into the filter and let sit for a minute.
- Loosen and now add hot water to top of filter and let the water drip all the way through. This should take around 5 minutes.
- When all the water has passed through, stir the coffee and milk and don’t forget to add your ice.
Vietnamese iced coffee without a filter (2 servings)
- ½ cup of cold brew coffee
- ½ cup of sweetened, condensed milk
- Ice cubes
- Fill your 2 glasses up with the ice cubes. Make sure each glass is roughly ¾ of the way filled already just from ice.
- Pour in half of the cold brew coffee into each glass of ice and give it a stir.
- Add the milk into each glass, you can do this gradually and have a sip to ensure the right level of sweetness.
- Now, stir your heart out. You need to keep stirring until everything is dissolved together.
- If you have a blender you can add the above mix into your blender to ensure a proper mix and add back into iced glasses for a refreshing touch.
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One of my main concerns with the Vietnamese iced coffee is that even though they’re not too expensive, I don’t have a filter for the first method mentioned here. I have used the technique above without the filter, using my blender, and I can tell you the results are fantastic. What I like about the above method is that with the cold brew, I have more choice with the artesian flavours and tastes, which change the profile of this iced coffee.
Frequently asked questions about Vietnamese iced coffee:
What are the best Vietnamese coffee brands to try?
Great question! I haven’t personally tried each of these brands in the list below. Although, after writing this, I’m on a mission to try them all. I’ve searched the internet far and wide to find out the answer and here are the results:
Trung Nguyen Vietnamese coffee
Trung Nguyen Gourmet blend
Chestbrew Strong Dark Roast Vietnamese coffee
Vinacafe Instant Coffee mix
Dalat Peaberry Robusta coffee
Why is Vietnamese coffee so strong?
The intense flavour is due to a few reasons, the main being the type of popular coffee bean used in Vietnam. The usual coffee bean we all know and love is typically going to be Arabica. However, in Vietnam, the popular bean of choice is Robusta, this is twice as strong as Arabica coffee in terms of caffeine. Robusta also has 60% less fat and sugar, meaning the taste profile becomes very sharp. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyday coffee.
Also, Vietnamese coffee is almost always going to be drip-style coffee. Intentionally this is a slow process that leaves the coffee thicker than usual and over-roasted, which gives you that bitter and sharp taste.
Now you see why Vietnamese iced coffee is so popular as the flavour profiles work so well together in one cup. The sweet flavour complements the strong coffee, which makes it more drinkable for us who live in the west.
As you can see, Vietnamese iced coffee is straightforward to make and will blow your taste buds up (in the right way), but I wouldn’t advise drinking it every day, especially if you’re using the traditional Robusta coffee beans. If I doubled my amount of daily caffeine intake, I’d be buzzing around the walls in my house and be sleep-deprived, very, very quickly.