Mastering Vietnamese Coffee Beans: The Perfect Cup Guide

tl;dr: Vietnamese coffee beans are known for their unique flavor and brewing method.

Vietnamese coffee beans have gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts for their distinct flavor and brewing method. In this article, we will explore what makes Vietnamese coffee beans special, the flavor profile they offer, how to brew them using the traditional phin filter, where to buy them, and even some delicious recipes you can try. So, if you’re curious about Vietnamese coffee beans and want to experience their unique taste, keep reading!

What makes Vietnamese coffee beans special?

Robusta beans

One of the factors that sets Vietnamese coffee beans apart is the type of beans used. Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world, and the majority of their coffee is made from Robusta beans. Unlike Arabica beans, which are commonly used in other coffee blends, Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content and a more robust flavor. This gives Vietnamese coffee its signature boldness and intensity.

Dark roast

Vietnamese coffee beans are typically roasted to a dark level, which further enhances their rich flavor. The dark roast brings out the natural oils in the beans, resulting in a strong and full-bodied cup of coffee. The intense roasting process also contributes to the unique aroma and taste that Vietnamese coffee is known for.

Unique brewing method

Another aspect that makes Vietnamese coffee beans special is the traditional brewing method used. Vietnamese coffee is typically brewed using a small metal filter called a phin. This filter sits on top of a cup or mug, and hot water is poured over the coffee grounds, allowing the coffee to slowly drip into the cup. This method produces a strong and concentrated brew, perfect for those who enjoy a robust cup of coffee.

The flavor profile of Vietnamese coffee

Strong and bold

Vietnamese coffee is known for its strong and bold flavor. The combination of Robusta beans and dark roast creates a coffee that packs a punch. If you prefer a coffee that wakes up your taste buds and provides a jolt of energy, Vietnamese coffee is the perfect choice for you.

Chocolatey and nutty undertones

In addition to its strength, Vietnamese coffee also offers delightful chocolatey and nutty undertones. These flavors add depth and complexity to the cup, making each sip a truly enjoyable experience. The combination of the robust coffee and the subtle hints of chocolate and nuts creates a harmonious balance that is unique to Vietnamese coffee.

Sweetened condensed milk

Another characteristic that sets Vietnamese coffee apart is the use of sweetened condensed milk. Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is served with a generous amount of sweetened condensed milk, which adds a creamy and indulgent touch to the beverage. The sweetness of the milk complements the strong coffee, creating a delightful contrast of flavors.

How to brew Vietnamese coffee

Traditional phin filter

To brew Vietnamese coffee, you will need a phin filter. This small metal filter consists of a perforated plate, a screw-down insert, and a lid. It allows the coffee to steep slowly, resulting in a strong and concentrated brew. The phin filter is readily available at Vietnamese grocery stores or online retailers specializing in coffee equipment.

Step-by-step brewing process

Here is a step-by-step guide to brewing Vietnamese coffee using a phin filter:

1. Start by adding 2-3 tablespoons of coarsely ground Vietnamese coffee into the phin filter.
2. Use the screw-down insert to compress the coffee grounds gently.
3. Place the phin filter on top of a cup or mug.
4. Pour a small amount of hot water (about 1/4 cup) into the filter to wet the coffee grounds. Allow it to bloom for about 20-30 seconds.
5. Slowly pour the remaining hot water (about 3/4 cup) into the filter, filling it to the top.
6. Put the lid on the filter and let the coffee drip into the cup. This process may take a few minutes, so be patient.
7. Once all the coffee has dripped through, remove the phin filter and stir the coffee to ensure the sweetened condensed milk is well mixed.
8. Enjoy your freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee!

Where to buy Vietnamese coffee beans

Local Vietnamese grocery stores

If you’re lucky enough to have a local Vietnamese grocery store in your area, you can find Vietnamese coffee beans there. These stores often carry a variety of coffee brands and blends, allowing you to choose the one that suits your taste preferences. Don’t hesitate to ask the store staff for recommendations or guidance on selecting the best Vietnamese coffee beans.

Online retailers

If you don’t have access to a local Vietnamese grocery store, you can easily find Vietnamese coffee beans online. Many online retailers specialize in coffee and offer a wide selection of Vietnamese coffee brands. Take your time to read reviews and compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best quality beans for your money.

Recipes using Vietnamese coffee beans

Vietnamese iced coffee

One popular way to enjoy Vietnamese coffee is by making Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as ca phe sua da. To make this refreshing beverage, follow these steps:

1. Brew Vietnamese coffee using the phin filter as described earlier.
2. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
3. Pour the freshly brewed coffee over the ice.
4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, or adjust to your desired level of sweetness.
5. Stir well to combine the coffee and milk.
6. Sip and savor the delightful flavors of Vietnamese iced coffee.

Vietnamese coffee cake

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also incorporate Vietnamese coffee into a delicious cake. Here’s a simple recipe to try:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup brewed Vietnamese coffee, cooled
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1/4 cup milk
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a cake pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the brewed Vietnamese coffee, vegetable oil, milk, egg, and vanilla extract.
4. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Allow the cake to cool before serving. You can dust it with powdered sugar or drizzle it with a coffee glaze for added flavor.


Vietnamese coffee beans offer a unique flavor profile and brewing method that sets them apart from other coffee varieties. With their robustness, chocolatey and nutty undertones, and the addition of sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese coffee provides a truly indulgent and satisfying coffee experience. Whether you choose to brew it using a traditional phin filter or explore recipes like Vietnamese iced coffee or coffee cake, Vietnamese coffee beans are sure to delight your taste buds. So, why not give them a try and experience the rich flavors of Vietnamese coffee for yourself?

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