How to Make Vietnamese Coffee at Home, and its Role in Vietnamese Cuisine

Coffee aficionados, this one’s for you! When you think of Vietnamese cuisine, your mind may naturally drift to pho, banh mi, or spring rolls. But wait a minute, what about the rich, sweet, and utterly indulgent Vietnamese coffee? Known as Cà Phê Sữa Đá when iced and Cà Phê Sữa Nóng when hot, this drink is an essential part of the Vietnamese foodie experience. Let’s embark on a journey that will turn your kitchen into the heart of Saigon, all while appreciating the history and role of Vietnamese coffee in the world of culinary arts.

The Origin of Vietnamese Coffee: A Quick History

Vietnamese coffee stands out, not just for its taste but for the culture that surrounds it. It was the French who introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 19th century. But, in typical Vietnamese style, they made it their own! Due to a milk shortage, sweetened condensed milk became the go-to, creating a drink that was as much dessert as it was a caffeinated delight.

Today, in the bustling streets of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find locals sipping this concoction as a daily ritual, pausing the rush of life to enjoy a moment of sweet serenity.

How to Brew the Perfect Vietnamese Coffee at Home


  • Coarse ground Robusta coffee beans
  • Sweetened condensed milk (around 2-3 tablespoons or to taste)
  • Boiling water
  • Ice cubes (for the iced version)


  • Vietnamese drip filter (Phin)
  • Glass or mug


  1. Prep the Condensed Milk: Pour sweetened condensed milk into your glass. For a traditional taste, aim for about 2 tablespoons, but you can adjust this to your sweetness preference.
  2. Coffee Loading: Place the drip filter over your glass and add your coffee grounds. Typically, about 2-3 teaspoons is sufficient. Press down using the filter insert to compact the grounds slightly.
  3. The Initial Pour: Add just enough boiling water to cover the coffee grounds. This is crucial! Allow the coffee to bloom for about 20 seconds. This means letting the coffee expand, ensuring a flavorful brew.
  4. The Main Event: Pour in the rest of the water up to the top of the filter and cover with its lid. Now, the waiting game begins! The coffee will begin to drip slowly into your glass. This should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix & Enjoy: Once the dripping stops, stir the coffee and condensed milk together. For Cà Phê Sữa Nóng, enjoy it as is. For Cà Phê Sữa Đá, add ice cubes, give it a quick stir, and dive into a chilled paradise.

Vietnamese Coffee in the Culinary Scene

Vietnamese coffee plays a dual role in the nation’s cuisine. It serves as both a dessert and a beverage, fitting seamlessly into any meal. Beyond the drink itself, its flavors have inspired various dishes and desserts, like Vietnamese coffee ice cream or cakes.

Moreover, coffee drinking in Vietnam isn’t just about the beverage but the experience. It’s about the slow drip of the Phin, the anticipation of the first sip, and the moments of tranquility in a world that’s always rushing.

Wrapping It Up: Sip, Savor, and Repeat!

Whether you’re reminiscing about your trip to Vietnam or prepping for your first adventure, enjoying a glass of Vietnamese coffee is your ticket to a momentary escape. So the next time you wish to embrace the essence of Vietnamese cuisine without cooking up a storm, remember this delightful brew.

And if this article has got you yearning for more authentic Vietnamese culinary experiences, head on over to and explore a world of flavors that awaits!

Until then, happy brewing and sipping! Cheers to moments of sweetness and serenity in every cup. ☕🍮🌸

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