Drink Coffee the Vietnamese Way: How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

Drink Coffee the Vietnamese Way

By 04/06/2016Coffee cademy, History

Vietnamese coffee is a strong, sweet and milky concoction that’s made with dark-roasted coffee and sweetened condensed milk. Easy to make and delicious, many people love coffee that’s made the Vietnamese way. If you’d like to try it, here’s a little bit about the drink and how to make it at home.

Vietnamese Coffee Has French Influence

The French introduced many things to Vietnam, including coffee. In fact, all three things used to make Vietnamese coffee were first brought to the country by the friend. They are:

  • coffee, which is virtually always robusta (see below)
  • sweetened condensed milk, because the French couldn’t get fresh milk in Vietnam
  • A phin, which is a French drip filter that sits on top of a cup (think of an early version of a pour-over)

The coffee’s strong and somewhat bitter notes come from the robusta beans used to make it. Only coffea robusta is grown in Vietnam.  In fact, the country is one of the world’s largest producers of robusta coffee. Therefore, arabica coffee isn’t used for traditional Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnamese Coffee is Different from Thai Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is similar to Thai coffee, but there are two differences in the way the coffees are prepared. First, Thai coffee is brewed in a pot, rather than a phin.

Second, Thais traditionally use corn, sesame seeds or soybeans as a filler that they mix in with the coffee. Because Vietnam produces so much coffee, they don’t need to mix the grounds with a filler. Vietnamese coffee is brewed with straight coffee grounds.

How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

To make Vietnamese coffee, you will need:

  • a phin
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons dark-roasted coffee
  • sweetened condensed milk (to taste)

Phins are inexpensive and readily available online or at some Vietnamese stores. If you don’t want to purchase one, you can use a French press (another French brew method) instead.

We recommend using arabica beans anytime you’re making coffee. While it’s might not be fully traditional, using dark-roasted arabica beans will produce a less bitter and much tastier beverage.

To brew the beverage, follow these steps:

  1. Place the phin on top of a mug.
  2. Add the coffee to the phin.
  3. Pour the hot water over the grounds (letting them bloom if they’re freshly roasted).
  4. Once the water has filtered through, add as much sweetened condensed milk as you’d like. Some people just add a tablespoon, while others make their Vietnamese coffee half coffee and half sweetened condensed milk.

The brewed coffee can be enjoyed hot as Vietnamese coffee or cooled and poured over ice as Vietnamese iced coffee.

Get Dark-Roasted Coffee

For some dark roasted beans to brew Vietnamese coffee with, sign up for a subscription plan. Let us know you’d like our Bold Profile coffee, and we’ll send you some the next time we roast.


Author Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

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