Everything You Need to Know about Vietnamese Coffee
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you might be interested in trying Vietnamese coffee to get a unique flavor. Vietnam is one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world, so it only makes sense to have this coffee in your kitchen as an avid coffee drinker. In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about coffee from Vietnam.
Vietnamese coffee is well known around the world, but few people know how to make it. Even fewer people know the history behind Vietnamese coffee. It’s important to know where your coffee comes from and the culture behind it.
Once you know how to make Vietnamese coffee, it can easily become addictive. Learning how to make it is also fun and easy, making it the perfect go-to coffee drink before work or after a long day.
From the origins of coffee in Vietnam to how to make it home in your own kitchen, we will cover all you need to know about Vietnamese coffee and what makes it so special.
Vietnamese Coffee Origins
Coffee is Vietnam’s second-largest export, with the first one being rice. Vietnam’s coffee also accounts for just over 18% of global coffee exports. Despite these statistics though, some people have never heard of Vietnamese coffee. Other people might have heard of it, but never tried it.
Coffee was introduced by the French during the period they were colonizing Vietnam. Similar to many French coffee brands, Vietnamese coffee is a dark roast and has a very strong and bold flavor.
In 1875, coffee was the first brought to Vietnam and most of the plantations were in the northern part of the country. Coffee in Vietnam nowadays though is mostly grown in the Central Highlands region of the country because that’s where most of the country’s volcanic soil is found. This type of soil is perfect for growing coffee and cacao. The cacao is what gives Vietnamese coffee a distinct mocha note.
The Central Highlands region is mostly the cities of Dalat and Tay Nguyen. They have a mild climate compared to the rest of the country and more hills which makes it easier to plant coffee beans.
Most of the coffee beans in Vietnam are Robusta which means it’s high in caffeine and a little bitter. Most Vietnamese coffees you will find are dark roast and have flavor profiles like mocha, vanilla, or chicory.
How is Vietnamese Coffee Served?
In restaurants and in your home, you can serve Vietnamese coffee hot or cold. It’s also served with sweetened condensed milk rather than the milk you might use in other types of coffee. Fresh milk is harder to find in Vietnam than in other countries, so they began to use sweetened condensed milk in its place.
This makes Vietnamese coffee much sweeter compared to other coffee varieties. It also gives it a stronger and milkier flavor.
If you’re in Vietnam or at a restaurant in the United States, you will have the option of ordering the coffee hot (cà phê sua nóng) or iced (cà phê sua dá).
If you are lucky enough to try Vietnamese coffee in Vietnam though, you are usually given a third choice called cà phê túng. This is a mixture of brewed coffee, chicken egg yolk, and sweetened condensed milk. Some people compare the texture to tiramisu or eggnog. This variation is most commonly found in Hanoi, Vietnam.
How to Make Vietnamese Coffee
Making Vietnamese coffee is easy. To make it easier on yourself though, we recommend buying a Vietnamese coffee filter. They can be found on Amazon or in many Asian supermarkets, especially if you live in a larger city.
They only cost a few dollars and are a great thing to add to your coffee-making collection. Most companies sell them in a few different sizes including 6 ounces, 8 ounces, and 11 ounces. You might also be able to find a large 15-ounce size.
The Vietnamese coffee maker should have three parts including the filter, the chamber, and a lid. The lid is perfect for making sure your coffee stays hot as it drips into the cup below. Since Vietnamese coffee makers are small and lightweight, they are also perfect for traveling and camping.
Once you have your Vietnamese coffee maker, you can follow these simple steps to make the perfect cup of coffee:
- Place the coffee filter on top of your favorite coffee cup.
- Add coffee grounds to around 1/3 of the filter.
- Use the insert to press the filter down into the chamber so it fits tightly.
- Add in the hot water and cover it with the lid.
- The coffee should slowly drip down into the cup.
- Once the coffee is done dripping, you can remove the chamber and filter.
- Feel free to sweeten your coffee with as much sweetened condensed milk as you want.
- Stir the milk and add ice if you want cold coffee.
How Does Vietnamese Coffee Compare to Other Countries?
Vietnamese coffee is often stronger, bolder, and more distinct in flavor than coffee compared to other countries. It also has a higher caffeine content. When using the coffee drip filter, the coffee drips slowly and only a minimal amount of coffee is served. This makes the coffee have more of an expresso flavor.
Some people compare Vietnamese coffee to a Cuban café con leche which is also made with a small amount of coffee and a larger amount of milk. It’s not made with sweetened condensed milk though.
Others compare it to Indian filter coffee since it’s also made in a metal filter drip maker.
Vietnamese coffee has an interesting history and an even more interesting flavor. There is a long history of coffee in Vietnam and the people added their own unique additions to it as the years went on.