Vietnamese Iced Coffee is brewed using a filter called a phin

The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 1850s. Today, the Southeast Asian country is the world’s second largest producer of coffee, after Brazil and ahead of Colombia, according to World Atlas.

I love good coffee, and when I want a strong, but sweet cup of joe, I’ll drink a Vietnamese iced coffee. It’s made with strong, dark roast coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and served with ice. (Or skip the ice and enjoy it hot!)

You can find it at Vietnamese restaurants or you can make it at home.

Since I don’t go to restaurants often and I don’t have a phin, the special metal coffee filter used to brew Vietnamese coffee, I’ve learned to get creative!

When a craving strikes, I’ll either go to a coffee shop and order Vietnamese-style coffee or I’ll try to make it at home.

For example:

  • Peet’s Coffee offers a drink they call a Black Tie, which is a cold brew beverage inspired by Vietnamese and New Orleans coffee
  • The website, Hack the Menu, claims that there’s a “secret menu” drink at Starbucks called Liquid Cocaine, which includes four shots of espresso

PSA: While I appreciate the hyperbole in its provocative name suggesting that a drink with a quad-shot of espresso is akin to cocaine, I want to be clear: I don’t advocate cocaine! (Say nope to dope, kids!)

In fact, I’ve even modified the Starbucks “hack” to cut back on the drug that is caffeine!

When I have a hankering for a Vietnamese-style iced coffee, I order two shots (not four) with three pumps of white chocolate mocha sauce (not four), plus a splash of heavy cream over light ice:

Want this beverage, but not in the mood to leave the house? Here are a few ideas on how to make Vietnamese-style (iced or hot) coffee at home without the special filter (phin):

  • If you have a Nespresso machine at home, try their recipe for iced coffee that they call by its Vietnamese name, Cà Phê Sữa Đá
  • If you have a Keurig brewing system, use a K-Cup with dark roast coffee, like Café du Monde (or fill a reusable K-Cup with your favorite dark roast coffee)
  • You could also use a pre-made cold brew coffee from the grocery store and add it to a glass filled with ice and sweetened condensed milk

OR…you can make a reservation at your favorite Vietnamese restaurant and enjoy one of these with your meal:

Brewed coffee and sweetened condensed milk poured over ice

Got any coffee hacks you’d like to share? Tell me in the comments below! ☕️

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