If coffee is your lifeline, then you don’t want to miss out on Vietnamese coffee. This Southeast Asian country has been crafting some of the best coffee in the world for centuries.
Vietnamese coffee is a unique concoction that will awaken your senses and make you feel like you’ve been transported to the bustling streets of Vietnam.
Continue reading to learn about the origin of Vietnamese coffee, the beans, and why Vietnam is the second largest coffee exporter in the world.
1. The Coffee History
Vietnamese coffee has a long and storied history, dating back to the 19th century when French colonists first introduced Arabica beans to Vietnam. The French also brought with them their own roasting and brewing methods, which blended well with the ancient Vietnamese coffee-making traditions.
The French began cultivating it on their vast landholdings. Since then, coffee production has been a major source of income for the Vietnamese people. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that coffee production started booming in Vietnam.
Today, Vietnamese coffee is a blend of French and Southeast Asian influences, making it a unique and delicious experience.
2. The World’s Second Largest Coffee Producer
Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world, following Brazil (as of 2019, Wikipedia). The country produces more than 27.5 million bags of coffee annually. However, Vietnam is the 5th largest exporter of coffee in the world in 2021, according to Statista.com.
This is due to the high demand for Vietnamese coffee - around the world, and in Vietnam, where everyone drinks it. So, if you haven’t tried Vietnamese coffee yet, you’re missing out on one of the best coffee experiences in the world.
3. The Coffee Beans
Vietnamese coffee is usually made from both Arabica beans and Robusta beans. These beans are grown in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where the climate is perfect for coffee cultivation.
Both types of beans have their unique flavors and aromas. Arabica beans are known for their sweet, mellow flavor and fruity aroma, while Robusta beans have a bolder, nuttier flavor and stronger aroma.
The majority of Vietnamese coffee is made using Robusta beans. Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans, which are commonly used in other types of coffee.
This makes Vietnamese coffee strong and bold, perfect for those who need a boost to get their day started.
4. The Taste
When it comes to taste, Vietnamese coffee stands out from other types of coffee. A good cup of Vietnamese coffee is strong, intense, and has a slightly sweet flavor. It also has a distinct aroma that will fill your entire kitchen with its fragrance.
The coffee has a rich, dark flavor and a heavy, syrupy texture. Vietnamese coffee is usually served with sweetened condensed milk that adds an extra layer of sweetness and richness to the flavor.
The combination of boldness and sweetness makes it a unique and delicious experience that you won’t find in any other type of coffee.
5. The Coffee Culture
Vietnamese coffee culture is unlike any other. In Vietnam, coffee isn’t just a drink, it’s a form of socializing. Vietnamese people gather in cafes and spend hours talking, drinking coffee, and socializing.
Vietnamese coffee is an integral part of Vietnamese culture, wherever you go, coffee is never hard to find - it's available in all cafes and restaurants, parks, street stalls, in small alleys, and corner shops. Even motorcyclists have been known to offer their own unique mobile coffee services!
People like to enjoy sipping it slowly in the morning, or afternoon, and savoring the flavor, giving a unique way to Vietnamese coffee culture.
6. The Brewing Process
When it comes to brewing Vietnamese coffee, you’ll need a special filter called a "phin". This small filter is made of metal and has a chamber for the coffee grounds and a small plate to cover the chamber.
The process of making Vietnamese coffee (Ca Phe) is quite simple, but it involves a few steps.
- First, pour in some sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the coffee cup.
- Next, you add the coffee grounds to the "phin" and then place the plate on top.
- Next, you pour hot water over the plate.
- Wait a few minutes for the coffee to drip into the cup below.
- And voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious cup of Vietnamese coffee.
7. Vietnamese Coffee vs. Drip Coffee
When it comes to Vietnamese coffee vs. drip coffee, the main differences lie in the brewing process and ingredients used.
- Vietnamese coffee is usually made with Robusta beans and a special filter, while drip coffee can be made with any type of beans and drip filter or drip coffee machine.
- Vietnamese coffee is also much stronger than drip coffee, as it has higher caffeine content. The taste is also very different, with Vietnamese coffee having a richer and more intense flavor.
- In addition, Vietnamese coffee is usually served with sweetened condensed milk which adds an extra layer of sweetness and richness to the flavor.
8. Various Types Of Vietnamese Coffee
When it comes to Vietnamese coffee, there are a few different types that you can try.
- "Ca phe sua da": This is the most popular drink, which is black coffee added on top of sweetened condensed milk, and ice. The sweetened condensed milk adds a creamy texture and balances out the intense flavor of the coffee.
- "Ca phe den": This is a hot black coffee with no additions.
- "Ca phe den da": This is a hot black coffee with ice added.
- "Ca phe trung": This is a popular variation, which is an egg yolk blended with condensed milk and coffee.
- "Ca phe sua chua": This is a refreshing twist on the classic, which is made with yogurt and coffee.
- "Ca phe dua": This is a unique variation, which is made with the addition of coconut milk, coconut flesh, and coffee.
No matter what type of Vietnamese coffee you try, you’re sure to enjoy the unique aroma and flavor that it brings.
How To Make "Ca Phe Sua Da" - Vietnamese Iced Milked Coffee
- Vietnamese coffee filter "phin"
- 2-3 tablespoons of Vietnamese coffee grounds (strong, dark roast)
- 1-2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
- Hot water
- A small, heat-proof glass or coffee cup
- Add sweetened condensed milk to your cup.
- Scoop coffee grounds into your filter.
- Place the filter on top of your cup.
- Pour a small amount of hot water over the coffee grounds.
- Let it sit for 20-30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom.
- Slowly pour more hot water into the filter, filling it to the top of the filter.
- Allow the coffee to steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you prefer your coffee.
- Once the coffee is done brewing, remove the filter.
- Stir the coffee and condensed milk together, enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- If you like your coffee stronger, try using more coffee grounds.
- For a sweeter taste, add more condensed milk or the sweetener of your choice.
- Experiment with different types of coffee beans to find the one that suits your palate the most.
- For a creamier texture, try using full-fat condensed milk.
- If you don’t have a "phin" filter, you can also use a French press or a coffee dripper to make your coffee.
- Have fun with it and enjoy the unique flavor of Vietnamese coffee!
Need a coffee filter to make an authentic Vietnamese coffee cup? Check out the below picks of best Vietnamese coffee maker and find one for you!
We hope this blog post has inspired you to try Vietnamese coffee and experience the true taste of Southeast Asia. Vietnamese coffee is a delicious and unique coffee experience that is worth trying.
And who knows, it may become your new favorite brew. Get brewing, and enjoy the sweet and rich flavor of Vietnamese coffee.