How to Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Using a Traditional Phin Filter)

Vietnam is a hot and humid country: it can easily reach 100° F during the summer. Since it's also a country that produces (and drinks) lots of coffee—the world's second-largest producer, to be exact—it's only natural that we've got one of the world's best iced coffee drinks. 

In Vietnam, the coffee drink of choice is called ca phe sua da, which translates literally to "coffee" (ca phe) with "milk" (sua) and "da" (ice). It's sold ubiquitously on street corners, in coffee shops, and fancy restaurants alike, and is typically made with robusta beans, the darker nuttier cousin to the lighter, fruitier arabica you find in America's fancy cafés. 

Mixed with condensed milk and sometimes evaporated milk, a good ca phe sua at once boldly intense and comfortingly sweet. With the addition ice, it becomes an energy-boosting refresher to help you cool down under the sun's blistering gaze. 

Ready to learn how to make Vietnamese iced coffee the way they do at your favorite Vietnamese restaurant? Sure, you can technically do it with any pot of hot coffee, some condensed milk, and ice, but the most fun—and legit—way to slow-drip it using this traditional metal phin filter. 

What You'll Need:

  • Loyalty robusta-arabica blend
  • A metal "phin" filter
  • Canned condensed milk
  • A glass (or mason jar!)
  • Ice cubes 

How to Make It: 

Once you've got your phin and your coffee, boil some water to 195-200°F and add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee into the phin (for this recipe, we recommend our best-selling robusta-arabica blend, Loyalty). 

In a separate glass, add half an ounce of sweetened condensed milk (these come in cans at the grocery store). Then place the plate and phin filter on top of the glass—it should have a small ridge that allows it to sit on the edge of the glass with a lowered portion where coffee will drip out. 

Pour about 0.8 ounces of water, allowing it to "bloom" for 30 to 40 seconds. (This refers to the blooming motion the coffee grounds make when hot water is added). After that, pour an additional 3.2 ounces of water (total of ~4 ounces hot water).

You should see coffee start to drip into the small puddle of condensed milk after about a minute. And your coffee will be done around five minutes. 

And that's really it! All you have to do now is add ice generously and stir with a long spoon. Of course, you can drink it hot if you want, but you'll often see folks in Vietnam drinking theirs cold because of the hot climate.

Pro tip -- if you're adding ice, cool the hot brew in an ice bath first. Once you've established your preference, feel free to tweak the initial ratios of water and coffee to your liking. 

The best part is that ca phe sua da could easily be your new daily coffee. For black coffee drinkers, you can also enjoy this brew straight black. It takes less than 10 minutes to make right in the glass, and trust us when we say it'll keep you very, very awake. Happy drinking. 

Watch: how to make Vietnamese coffee

Order your phin filter today! 

See the full recipe here