A Beginner’s Guide to Making Vietnamese Coffee

Ready to embark on a delicious journey into the world of Vietnamese coffee? Look no further, because this beginner’s guide is here to lend you a helping hand. In this article, we will explore the art of making Vietnamese coffee, uncovering its delightful flavors and unique brewing techniques. Whether you are a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a curious novice, prepare to savor the rich aroma and bold taste of this beloved beverage. So, grab your coffee beans, find a cozy spot, and let’s dive into the wonderful realm of Vietnamese coffee.

How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

What is Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee is a unique and delicious beverage that has gained popularity all around the world. Originating from Vietnam, this coffee is known for its strong and rich flavor, as well as its distinct brewing method. Unlike other types of coffee, Vietnamese coffee typically uses a small metal filter that sits on top of a cup, allowing the coffee to slowly drip down and infuse with sweetened condensed milk. This combination creates a smooth and sweet flavor profile that is loved by many.

What You Will Need

Before you begin making your own Vietnamese coffee, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and ingredients. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

Traditional Brewing Tools

  1. Vietnamese coffee filter (also known as a phin)
  2. Coffee cup or mug
  3. Small spoon or stirrer
  4. Kettle or source of hot water


  1. Ground Vietnamese coffee
  2. Sweetened condensed milk
  3. Hot water

Optional Additions

If you want to experiment and add a personal touch to your Vietnamese coffee, there are some optional ingredients you can consider. These include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Coconut milk
  • Ice (for iced Vietnamese coffee)

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

The first step in making Vietnamese coffee is to gather all your ingredients. Make sure you have high-quality ground Vietnamese coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and hot water ready. It’s important to use Vietnamese coffee specifically, as it has a distinct flavor and grind size that is ideal for this brewing method. If you’re unable to find Vietnamese coffee at your local stores, you can easily purchase it online from various retailers specializing in coffee.

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Step 2: Prepare the Condensed Milk

Once you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to prepare the condensed milk. Choosing the right brand of condensed milk is essential for achieving the perfect consistency and sweetness in your Vietnamese coffee. Look for a brand that has a thick and creamy texture, as it will create a more indulgent and flavorful cup of coffee. Drizzle a generous amount of condensed milk into the bottom of your coffee cup or mug, adjusting the sweetness to your preference.

Step 3: Brew the Coffee

Brewing Vietnamese coffee involves using a small metal filter, known as a phin. This filter consists of a perforated plate that sits on top of a cup or mug, with a screw-on filter chamber attached. Here’s how you can brew your coffee using a Vietnamese coffee filter:

  1. Place the phin filter chamber on top of your cup or mug.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of ground Vietnamese coffee into the filter chamber.
  3. Gently press down on the coffee grounds using the filter’s presser.
  4. Place the perforated plate on top of the coffee grounds.
  5. Screw the filter chamber tightly onto the perforated plate.
  6. Pour hot water into the filter chamber until it’s about 75% full.
  7. Place the filter’s lid on top and let the coffee drip slowly into the cup or mug.

You can adjust the strength of your coffee by controlling the brewing time and the amount of coffee grounds used. If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, let it steep for a longer duration. It’s important to be patient during this step, as the slow drip process allows the coffee to fully extract its flavors and aromas.

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Step 4: Assemble the Coffee

Once your coffee has finished brewing, it’s time to assemble the final cup. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Carefully remove the phin filter from the cup or mug.
  2. Stir the condensed milk at the bottom of the cup to ensure it’s well blended.
  3. Slowly pour the brewed coffee into the cup, allowing it to combine with the condensed milk.
  4. Use a spoon or stirrer to mix the coffee and condensed milk together, ensuring that they are fully incorporated.
  5. If desired, you can sprinkle some cinnamon or cardamom on top of the coffee for an extra flavor boost.
  6. For an authentic touch, consider serving your Vietnamese coffee with a side of fresh fruit or a traditional Vietnamese dessert.

Presentation is key when it comes to Vietnamese coffee, so take your time to create a visually appealing cup. The contrasting layers of coffee and condensed milk create an enticing gradient effect, making it a treat for both your taste buds and your eyes.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Vietnamese Coffee

Finally, it’s time to sit back, relax, and savor your homemade Vietnamese coffee. Take a moment to enjoy the rich aroma and velvety texture of the coffee, combined with the sweetness of the condensed milk. This beverage is often enjoyed slowly, so be sure to take small sips and appreciate the complex flavors that unfold with each taste.

Vietnamese coffee pairs exceptionally well with Vietnamese cuisine, as its bold flavors can complement the savory and aromatic dishes. Consider enjoying your coffee alongside a traditional Vietnamese breakfast of “Pho” or indulging in a delicious Banh Mi sandwich. The combination of flavors will take your taste buds on a culinary journey through Vietnam.

If you have any leftover coffee, it’s important to store it properly to maintain its freshness. Transfer the coffee into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 2-3 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply reheat the coffee and mix it with condensed milk for a quick and convenient pick-me-up.

Tips for Making the Perfect Vietnamese Coffee

  • Choose high-quality Vietnamese coffee for the best flavor experience. Look for reputable brands that specialize in Vietnamese coffee beans.
  • Pay attention to the water temperature and ratios. Using water that is too hot can result in a bitter taste, while using too little water can make the coffee too strong.
  • Experiment with brewing time to find your preferred strength. Adjust the steeping time to achieve a balance between boldness and smoothness.
  • Explore different bean roasts to discover new flavor profiles. Some prefer a dark roast for a strong and robust flavor, while others enjoy a medium or light roast for a milder and sweeter taste.
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Variations of Vietnamese Coffee

While the traditional way of making Vietnamese coffee is delicious on its own, there are also various variations that you can try to add a twist to your cup of joe. Here are a few popular options:

  • Iced Vietnamese Coffee: Brew your coffee as usual and pour it over a glass filled with ice cubes. Add condensed milk and stir until well combined. This refreshing version is perfect for hot summer days.
  • Coconut Vietnamese Coffee: Instead of using regular condensed milk, substitute it with coconut milk for a tropical twist. The creamy and nutty flavor of the coconut milk pairs wonderfully with the strong coffee.
  • Spiced Vietnamese Coffee: Infuse your coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a pinch of cardamom for a warm and aromatic flavor. These spices add complexity and depth to your coffee, creating a delightful sensory experience.

Where to Buy Vietnamese Coffee Supplies

If you’re ready to embark on your Vietnamese coffee-making journey, you might be wondering where you can find the necessary supplies. Here are a few places where you can purchase Vietnamese coffee filters and other essential items:

  • Local Asian Supermarkets: Many Asian supermarkets carry a variety of Vietnamese coffee filters and beans. Check the coffee section or ask the staff for assistance.
  • Online Retailers: Several online retailers specialize in Vietnamese coffee and coffee-making supplies. They offer a wide range of options and deliver directly to your doorstep for convenience.
  • Specialty Coffee Shops: Some specialty coffee shops may have Vietnamese coffee filters and beans available for purchase. These establishments often have a curated selection of high-quality coffee products.

Now that you have all the knowledge and tools to make your own Vietnamese coffee, it’s time to get started. Gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and enjoy the rich and flavorful experience that Vietnamese coffee has to offer. Cheers to a delicious cup of coffee that brings a taste of Vietnam right to your home!

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Candace McMillan

About the Author: Candace McMillan

With each cup she brews, Candace seeks to spread her love for coffee, inspiring others to appreciate the beauty and depth that this beloved beverage has to offer.