There’s a reason why Starbucks has struggled in Vietnam – South East Asia’s major coffee producing nation. Vietnam is the region’s largest exporter of coffee, and the second largest in the world (second only to Brazil).
So what makes the coffee here so special? Robusta’s dark texture is strong which is why it is often paired with condensed milk which offsets the bitterness. This sweet concoction leads to a drink that keeps you sufficiently caffeinated!
Unsurprisingly, the locals proudly drink coffee throughout the day, and by the end of this article, you’ll be able to do so like a local: with a Vietnamese coffee maker (a caphe phin)
Before we get started, we’ll need a quick lesson!
Vietnamese words about coffee:
- Caphe = Coffee
- Sua = Milk
- Den = Black
- Nong = hot
- Da = ice
The base word for coffee in Vietnamese is caphe which when paired with milk and ice becomes Caphe Sua Da. In this article, we’ll be looking at how to make Vietnamese coffee like the locals. For a hot milk coffee, you would request a ‘Caphe Sua Nong,’ and a hot black coffee would be ‘Caphe Den Nong’.
If you want more information on the Vietnamese names of different coffees, take a look at this post on pinterest.
What do you need?
Preparing a traditional Caphe Sua Da requires only a few simple items and ingredients:
- A Caphe Phin (Vietnamese coffee maker)
- Ground coffee
- A Cup/glass
- A Spoon
- Optional – Condensed milk (for caphe sua da)
- Optional – Ice
A caphe phin is a four piece coffee maker made of metal. Think of it as a cross between a french press and a typical paper filter coffee maker. The four pieces are the lid (which keeps your coffee hot during the brewing process), phin (main body), underphin (which rests on top of your coffee cup) and the press which sits in the main body.
Step 1 – Pour your condensed milk into the glass. Make sure that you allow the milk to run all the way down. The amount you put in depends on your sweet tooth, though 25ml is usually the standard.
Step 2 – Assemble your coffee maker over your glass. Remove the lid and the press, and put the coffee into the main body of the phin.
Step 3 – Add a small amount of your boiled water to the coffee, and leave it to breathe for about 30 seconds.
Step 4 – Place the press on top of the coffee and push down lightly to keep the coffee in place. Then pour enough hot water over the coffee to fill the main body of the phin (or to your liking). Wait for about 5 minutes for the coffee to brew.
Step 5 – Once the water has finished dripping, remove the lid of the phin and place it to the side. Then lift the rest of the phin and place it on top.
Step 6 – Give your coffee and condensed milk a stir. Then add your ice.
Step 7 – Enjoy!
Want a traditional Vietnamese coffee the lazy way?
Take a look at our selection of the best Cafes in Saigon.