Beverage Knowledge

Vietnamese Coffee – What a strong culture

vietnamese coffee

If you’ve ever been to Vietnam, chances are you’ve come across folks sipping on their coffee while perched on these itty-bitty chairs right there on the sidewalk, early in the morning, clutching a cup of cafe sữa đá. The Vietnamese have this unique way of enjoying their coffee that sets them apart from the rest of the globe. In this article, let’s explore Vietnamese coffee – What a strong culture from the war to the second largest country exporting coffee around the world.

vietnamese coffee


What is Vietnamese coffee

Vietnamese coffee is a special type of coffee with a rich and strong flavor  – I mean stronger than most other types of coffee in the world. You might even get drunk if you try it for the first time and you’re not used to drinking strong coffee.

This strong flavor comes from the type of coffee beans used by Vietnamese people and how they prepare coffee. Coffee beans are coffee beans grown by Vietnamese people in their own country. Coffee grown in Vietnam has a more robust flavor and higher caffeine content than coffee grown in Brazil or Indonesia.

 Traditional Vietnamese coffee is made from Robusta beans, which have a strong, bitter taste. Coffee beans, after roasted and ground, coffee are placed into a brewing device called a “phin”. Like a small cup with many small holes punched in the bottom. When preparing, add ground coffee, followed by a thin blade to compress, drain hot water, and close the lid. Coffee will flow drop by drop into the glass placed below. After the coffee has dripped perfectly, you have Vietnamese drip coffee, as thick and rich as hot chocolate. The sweet fragrance awakens any of your senses that are still sleeping. Then, Vietnamese people will add sugar and ice, we have Vietnamese iced coffee; add condensed milk, and you have Vietnamese iced milk coffee, or blend with other ingredients such as eggs, avocado, or coconut… you have some unique coffee dishes Vietnamese coffee, extremely delicious, which we will discuss in more detail in the next section. 

vietnamese drip coffee

History of Vietnamese coffee

The history of Vietnamese coffee begins with World War II. When the French invaded Indochina, they discovered that Vietnam’s soil and climate were suitable for growing coffee. They are bringing the first coffee trees planted in the Central Highlands and Da Lat areas. Since then, coffee has become a key economic sector of Vietnam. Vietnam’s coffee production and export industry has the second largest output globally, only after Brazil. 

history of viethamese coffee

Please note that Vietnam’s coffee growing area is much smaller than Brazil’s but it produces large yields. Compared to other coffee-producing countries, Vietnam’s coffee area only ranks 6th after countries: Brazil with a total area of nearly 1.9 million hectares, Indonesia with a total area of over 1.2 million hectares, and Colombia with a total area of almost 1.9 million hectares. and Ethiopia has more than 800 thousand hectares, Ivory Coast has nearly 800 thousand hectares.

Although the country has the 6th largest coffee area in the world, Vietnam’s coffee productivity is the highest. Vietnam’s average coffee yield is 1.4 times higher than Brazil’s, 2.8 times higher than Colombia’s, and 4.5 times higher than Indonesia’s. 

Nawon is one of the businesses that produces drinks from Vietnamese coffee for export to the world. If you are an importer, trader or retailer of beverage formulations and products, you may want to check out our coffee beverage product range here.

Best Vietnamese coffee you must try

best vietnamese coffee

Vietnamese people have very creative ways to enjoy coffee. Tourists coming to Vietnam must have been introduced to these unique coffee dishes. 

Vietnamese iced coffee

Vietnamese coffee beans are often roasted in butter and then incubated in a metal filter – called “phin” /feen/. Some filters are small enough to fit on a coffee cup and make great souvenirs. Those moments of waiting for your coffee to brew are part of the fun of this style of coffee. Due to its bitter taste, Vietnamese black iced coffee is a familiar flavor. The other version is cafe sua da or nau – sweetened iced coffee with condensed milk. A fantastic cup of iced milk coffee on a hot day is the quintessential Vietnamese coffee experience. You can go to roadside cafes from big streets to the narrowest corners of Vietnam, an iced milk cafe always appears in the simplest form and has the best flavor.

vietnamese iced coffee

Vietnamese Bac Xiu coffee

The Saigon style coffee – Bac Xiu is made from coffee mixed with milk, but the milk part is more than the coffee. This drink is more popular in southern Vietnam. Bac Xiu combines three cultures: Vietnamese – Chinese – French. When coffee started to become popular in Vietnam, its bitter taste made it difficult for women and children to enjoy it. Chinese people in Saigon, with their agility and creativity, changed coffee with more milk. Gradually the bitter taste of coffee is no longer replaced by the sweetness of milk and the aroma of coffee combined. Bac Xiu is also enjoyed with fried porridge and banh chi for breakfast in Saigon every morning.

Bac xiu

Vietnamese egg coffee

If Saigon people have cool coffee dishes to dispel the heat, Hanoi people have hot egg coffee to warm the body in winter. Egg coffee was created by a Vietnamese man named Nguyen Van Giang Sang. Egg coffee is traditional Vietnamese coffee with a layer of egg cream on top. The rich aroma of egg cream and the bitter taste of coffee combined in 1 cup. brings unforgettable flavor to anyone who enjoys it.

To make egg coffee, people use beaten egg yolks with sugar and can add a little honey or cinnamon powder, depending on the recipe of each cafe. It’s now a must-try Hanoi specialty drink, especially during the winter. A dense, frothy head of foam sits atop a rich brew: gently fold it with a spoon and sip slowly. 

See more: Vietnamese Egg Coffee – The Tasty Drink and Dessert All In 1

vietnamese egg coffee

Vietnamese coconut coffee

The popularity of the coconut coffee shop is associated with the famous Vietnamese coffee shop – Cộng Cà Phê. Coconut coffee is a combination of coconut smoothies with black coffee or milk coffee. A traditional cup of coconut coffee includes 2 main parts. Like egg coffee, the coffee and coconut smoothie parts will be prepared separately. The bartender will use crushed ice cubes with coconut milk, condensed milk, sugar syrup, or white sugar to add sweetness. The finished product is put into the cup, and the coffee is placed on top. Coconut-flavored coffee gives the drink a delightful tropical flavor, much like a coffee cocktail.

vietnamese coconut coffee

Vietnamese yogurt coffee

The creativity of Vietnamese people in the culture of enjoying coffee is recognized worldwide. When combining coffee and yogurt, Vietnamese people have a dessert that brings together all the benefits: good for health, maintaining alertness thanks to caffeine from coffee, and a refreshing feeling from this fantastic drink. 

yogurt coffee

How to make Vietnamese coffee

You can make Vietnamese coffee at home with a simple recipe, including coffee powder, filter, and condensed milk. Vietnamese drip coffee can be made with other types of coffee, but if you want the most Vietnamese-flavored coffee, try to buy ground Vietnamese coffee or dark robusta coffee. This is how to make the most popular Vietnamese coffee – cafe sua da.

Here is what you need:

  • Phin (Vietnamese metal coffee filter)
  • Iced
  • Hot water
  • Vietnamese Coffee 

(You can use other available roasted and ground coffee, but for the strongest flavor, Nawon recommends you choose Vietnamese coffee brands. Please refer to the article: Top 5 Best Vietnamese Coffee Brands You Must Try to see some options.)

  • Condensed milk 


1. Prepare the Vietnamese Drip coffee:

Take apart the filter chamber by removing the top screen and the metal filter press.

Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee into the chamber.

Reassemble the filter by placing the metal filter press on top of the coffee grounds.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to your glass or cup.

Place the phin on the glass with condensed milk

2. Brew the Coffee:

Pour hot water (about 200°F or 93°C) into the filter chamber.

Put the lid on top to retain heat and let the coffee drip slowly into the glass. The brewing process may take 4-5 minutes.

4. Mix and Enjoy:

Once the brewing is complete, stir the condensed milk and brewed coffee together.

Add more condensed milk or hot water to adjust the sweetness and strength according to your preference.

5. Serve with Ice (Optional):

If you prefer iced coffee, add ice cubes to your glass before pouring in the coffee and condensed milk mixture.

6. Experiment (Optional):

Vietnamese coffee can be enjoyed in various ways. Some people like trying different coffee bean blends, adjusting the coffee-to-condensed milk ratio, or adding a vanilla splash or other flavorings.

The bottom line

Iced milk coffee or egg coffee, the rich and strong flavor exuding from the Vietnamese people, permeates every sip of coffee. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the vibrant sidewalks of Saigon, immerse yourself in a tapestry of rich, aromatic coffee brewed with a traditional filter. More than just a beverage, Vietnamese coffee offers a cultural journey that invites enthusiasts to savor the essence of tradition, innovation, and the sheer joy of enjoying a cup of authentic coffee. The true essence of Vietnam’s coffee heritage.

See more: 15 Best Instant Coffee Brands around the world – 2023 Update

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