Vietnamese Iced Coffee

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When we went to Vietnam three years ago Mark and I bought a traditional Vietnamese coffee ‘phin’ filter which is what most cafes use to make coffee over there. What makes Phin filters different from other coffee presses is their small size and the fact that they are placed directly over your cup. Through a slow dripping process they produce one single (and usually strong) cup of coffee.

Since I’m a bit of a caffeine addict and drink two cups of coffee everyday (ok maybe three or four – whatever) I only use my small phin filter to make Vietnamese iced coffee. I am huge fan of Vietnamese iced coffee (Ca-phe sua da) because it not only allows me to indulge in my love of caffeine on super hot days like today but making it also brings back lots of happy traveling memories. Plus it includes sweetened condensed milk which we all know is all kinds of naughty and delicious.

I included steps on how to use a phin filter in my recipe below but feel free to brew your coffee however you want. As long as it’s strong, it will work just as well. You could also reduce the amount of condensed milk or use the low fat kind if you so wish.

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vietname coffee filter

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Ingredients (serves one)

2 tbp coffee grounds*
2 to 3 tbp sweetened condensed milk
Boiling water

* For an extra authentic experience, use a Vietnamese coffee brand.


1. Place the phin filter over a coffee mug (or heatproof glass).

2. Unscrew the filter, add the coffee grounds to the base of the coffee press and then screw the filter back on.

3. Fill the phin filter with boiling water. Close the lid and watch the magic happens (the coffee will slowly  drip into your cup).

4. Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour the freshly brewed coffee over the ice, followed by the condensed milk.

5. Stir and enjoy immediately.

NB. I like to add my condensed milk last for a more dramatic effect but other people prefer to mix it in with the hot coffee first. The choice is yours.


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