Using a phin filter to brew Vietnamese coffee is one of the best methods for creating the perfect cup. Unfortunately, it’s often wildly underexposed and underrated in American coffee culture. We at Nguyen Coffee Supply are here to change that. While we love French presses, sophisticated siphon brewers, and other delicious coffee brewing techniques, there are a few aspects about the phin filter brew tool that set it apart from the rest of the pack.
It’s Easy to Use
The phin filter is one of the most straightforward, easy-to-use coffee brewing methods out there. In under 10 minutes, you can brew a perfect cup of bold Vietnamese coffee. Simply pop two tablespoons of ground coffee into the chamber, drop the filter press on top, place the assembled phin filter on top of a cup, then add 0.8 ounces of hot water (or cover the filter press by 1/3 inch). After the ground coffee blooms for around 45 seconds, fill water to the top of the phin filter, and voila! A perfect cup. (Tip: the first drip should fall by 2 minutes, and last drip around 5 minutes, so keep dialing it in with the grind size until you hit these marks.)
Using a phin filter to brew coffee has a clear sustainable edge over other coffee brewing methods that use single-use filters or plastics. When you brew with a phin filter, you don’t waste paper filters or large quantities of grounds and water, as it requires merely a few spoonfuls of grounds, a few ounces of water, and a few minutes of time to make the perfect, complex brew. Plus, it's compact and super easy to clean.
Another reason so many people love the phin filter is that it produces extremely strong coffee. Due to the design of the phin filter, coffee drips drop by drop at a leisurely pace from the metal filter into the glass, bringing with it concentrated flavor and serious punches of caffeine. And while you don’t need as much phin filter brewed coffee to get the same effects as a traditional cup, the phin filter method is so versatile that you can do a second pour to yield a higher volume of fluids if you’re a high-volume kind of person.
Most importantly, coffee brewed using the phin filter tastes incredible. The flavor of phin filter brewed coffee is similar to a complex spirit — earthy, savory, and rich notes all shine through. We like to describe the concentration and flavor of phin brewed coffee as something in between an espresso and cup of drip. Some people would even describe it as a “Vietnamese-style espresso,” as the phin filter predominantly imparts smooth and toasty notes. Those who love flavor love phin filter coffee.
It’s Perfect for Vietnamese Coffee
Finally, the phin filter is the best way to make sweet Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk. However, it’s important not to over-sweeten your cup. As Nguyen Coffee Supply founder Sahra Nguyen explains in her Food52 feature, “Vietnamese coffee has a reputation for being ‘too sweet’ in America, which is unfortunate. That’s really just a reflection of the preparation.” Sahra recommends adding just 0.8 ounces of condensed milk to your coffee in order to achieve the perfect balance in your cup.
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