Vietnamese coffee has kind of a grueling history – traditionally it’s made from some of the worst coffee beans on the planet (Robusto) and the coffee making contraption used to brew it inevitably brews really strong java.
I don’t mean Ellen DeGeneres strong either.
No. I mean Kurt Cobain rises from the dead to punch Kim Kardashian in the stomach strong. If you drank Vietnamese coffee black you’d be worthy of a medal.
But that’s not how we drink this stuff; instead we infuse it with delicious sweetened condensed milk to form the true nirvana of coffee drinks. I almost never combine milk and coffee – and even when I do I never go so far as to sweeten my drink, but Vietnamese Iced Coffee is invariably the exception to that rule.
The final product is strong, heavy, but sweet and delightful at the same time. Oh, and chicks dig this stuff. Seriously.
The Vietnamese Iced Coffee Maker
You need to buy a phin.
A phin is a little metal brewer with a screw cap and a lid. It’s actually like a blend between a French press and a pour over apparatus, because it sits on top of a coffee mug like a pour over but it has a screw top that holds the coffee in place forcing a three or four minute infusion. This gives you a great extraction (and a really strong one).
It takes about ten seconds to set the whole thing up, and about the same to clean it – after use just rinse out the compartment and the screw top and it’s ready for action again.
The best part?
You can buy a phin on the internet for about three dollars. I bought two of them so I could make two cups of it at the same time (much better for dates where you’re showing off your coffee prowess – it’s common knowledge that multitasking is sexy).
How To Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee
You will need the following:
- A phin (see above)
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- A Coffee Mug
Pour sweetened condensed milk into the bottom of the coffee mug. I recommend a couple of ounces – you can adjust to taste, but when in doubt I actually think you are better off overdoing the milk. Remember, the coffee itself is ungodly strong.
Set the bottom half of the phin on top of the coffee mug.
Grind 14 to 16 grams of whole bean coffee (in human terms this equates to about three heaping tablespoons). Obviously you can adjust this ratio according to how badass you are.
Put the coffee in the phin, take the screw top and screw it over the ground coffee. Don’t screw it so tight that there is any resistance, just until it can’t spin of its own accord.
Pour a few milliliters of boiling water into the phin, this allows for the preliminary infusion. Basically, by dripping a little water into the phin before you start pouring it causes the coffee grounds to saturate and expand. Because they expand there is a greater surface area for the water to extract from. This is a good thing.
Now, pour boiling water into the phin until it is about three quarters full.
It should take about three minutes for the water to finish draining through the grounds into the cup. Once every drop has poured through, take the phin off, dump the grounds in the trash, rinse it out and set it out to dry.
Stir up the hot coffee and the sweetened condensed milk. It will turn a milky cream color. Fill the cup with ice and let it sit for a minute until it’s completely cool.
And you’re set.