If you haven’t enjoyed a cup of perfectly prepared Vietnamese coffee, you might associate the drink with the overpowering sweetness of a coffee beverage that has a little too much condensed milk added to it. 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 0.5 ounces of condensed milk to your coffee in order to achieve the perfect balance in your cup.
“We like to have a very inclusive approach and tone to teaching people about coffee,” Sahra explains. “We have guides that offer precision with grams and scales for the science-driven coffee nerds — and for restaurants who need consistency — but we also offer alternative approaches using tablespoons, soup spoons, or eye-balling.” Sahra likes to teach people using tools and techniques, but she always encourages people to experiment and find their preferred brewing method. “Coffee is super subjective,” she says. “So, to each their own cup!”
If you haven’t found your perfect brew yet, don’t worry — Nguyen Coffee Supply is here to help. We’ve compiled a short list of the best Vietnamese coffee tools and techniques to help you brew the perfect cup of coffee from the comfort of your own home.
The Phin - The phin (pronounced “feen”) is a traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing tool. A cross between a French press and pour over, the phin consists of a plate, a brewing chamber, a filter press, and a lid. It comes in several different sizes and materials, but the typical single-serving phin is made from stainless steel and yields about four ounces of coffee when properly used. (Get your very own phin here!) Fun fact: the phin requires no paper, so it’s a waste-free coffee brewing method! To use the phin, position the plate and brewing chamber on top of a coffee glass that contains just .5 ounces of condensed milk, so as not to overpower the flavor of the coffee. Then, add two tablespoons of freshly ground Nguyen Coffee Supply coffee, drop the filter press on top, add 0.8 ounces of hot water (195-200°F), and let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds. After that, fill water to the top of the phin for a total of four ounces of hot water. Voila! You now have a perfectly brewed cup of Vietnamese coffee.
The French Press - Here’s why you should make Vietnamese coffee with a French press: It’s one of the easiest and most delicious coffee brewing methods out there. For this brewing method, it’s all about the ratio. Sahra recommends a ratio of four tablespoons of ground coffee for every two cups of water to extract the perfect balance of nutty, bold flavor from your Courage blend. Simply remove the plunger and filter from the press, evenly distribute four ounces of freshly ground coffee at the bottom of the brewing chamber, cover the grinds in hot water (195-200°F), let bloom for 30 seconds, then fill water to the top of the press for a total of two cups of hot water. Then, after four minutes, gently — but firmly — press down on the plunger to filter out the coffee grinds. Boom — two cups of French pressed Vietnamese coffee, ready to fuel your daily grind.
Purchase your very own phin here.
Try Grit, our 100% robusta beans, here.
Learn more about coffee tools used around the world here.