Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Everything to know about Vietnam most famous drink

Indulging in the distinct richness of Vietnamese iced coffee is an experience not to be missed. This iconic beverage is a staple among Vietnamese refreshments, also known as one of the many attractions of Vietnam, revered for its invigorating qualities and delightful taste. Particularly popular in Vietnam’s tropical climate, it serves as a refreshing respite from the heat.

Embraced by both locals and tourists alike, Vietnamese iced coffee holds a special place in the hearts of many. Its preparation and consumption are steeped in tradition and cultural significance, making it a cherished aspect of Vietnamese culinary heritage.

For those eager to explore the wonders of Vietnamese iced coffee, dive into this guide to uncover everything you need to know about this beloved beverage. From its origins to the culture of enjoying a cup, discover the secrets behind its irresistible allure and join the legions of coffee enthusiasts who have fallen under its spell.

Vietnamese coffee culture – From the traditional Vietnamese iced coffee and hot coffee to the unique variants

Since the early 20th century, coffee production has been a significant contributor to Vietnam’s economy. By the late 1990s, Vietnam had risen to become the second-largest coffee producer globally, trailing only Brazil.

Buon Me Thuot, nestled in the expansive Central Highlands of Vietnam, serves as the epicenter of the country’s coffee production. This region is home to numerous prominent producers, with Trung Nguyen being a standout local brand. Additionally, many smaller farms in the area have shifted their focus to cultivating clean and organic coffees, aiming to enhance quality.

The process of roasting, brewing, and enjoying coffee in Vietnam differs markedly from that in other parts of the world. Here, coffee beans are slow-roasted over low heat for approximately 15 minutes—a departure from the common use of coffee machines for roasting elsewhere. 

Vietnamese iced coffee undergoes a meticulous brewing process with a drip Phin filter. This method allows for a slow drip, ensuring the extraction of robust flavors. The Vietnamese coffee filter, known as the “Phin,” yields a more robust brew compared to American drip machines and French presses due to several distinct factors. Its metal design is a key element that contributes to the unique flavor of Vietnamese coffee. Referred to interchangeably as a Vietnamese press or Vietnamese dripper, the Phin is essential for brewing authentic Vietnamese coffee.

Comprising three or four parts, the Phin consists of:

  1. The lid: This component helps retain heat and prevents excessive evaporation during brewing.
  2. The body: The central cylindrical portion where coffee grounds are placed for brewing.
  3. A filter disk: Positioned inside the body atop the coffee grounds to facilitate filtration.
  4. The rim or lip: The outer edge of the filter, allowing it to rest securely on a glass while brewing.

How Vietnamese enjoy coffee – The variants of coffees  

Vietnamese coffee culture encompasses two traditional brews: Ca Phe Nau (sweetened condensed milk coffee) and Ca Phe Den (black coffee). During winter, locals often opt for Vietnamese hot coffee:

Ca Phe Nau Nong or Ca Phe Den Nong (hot versions) to ward off the chill. However, Vietnamese iced coffee, which are Ca Phe Den Da (iced black coffee) and Ca Phe Nau Da (iced sweetened condensed milk coffee) remain popular year-round. According to a recent survey by TasteAtlas, this delightful beverage shares the top spot with Italian ristretto, scoring an impressive 4.6 out of 5 points. Vietnamese iced coffee holds a special place in the hearts of coffee enthusiasts. CNN recognizes Vietnamese traditional coffee as one of Asia’s top 50 delicacies.

Condensed milk plays a pivotal role in Vietnamese coffee culture due to the widespread popularity of Ca Phe Nau. Introduced by the French in the late 19th century, the use of sweetened condensed milk compensated for the scarcity of fresh milk, becoming a staple in Vietnamese coffee preparation.

Emerging onto the scene are innovative coffee blends like Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee), originating in Hanoi but quickly gaining nationwide acclaim. This unique concoction blends the robust flavor of coffee with the creamy richness of egg yolk. Similarly, Ca Phe Sua Dua (Coconut Coffee) has recently emerged as a beloved choice among coffee enthusiasts, capturing the essence of coconut for a delightful twist on traditional Vietnamese brews.

The art of enjoying a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee – Where to find the best Vietnamese iced coffee

If you’re embarking on your first Vietnamese iced coffee adventure, brace yourself for a robust, almost liquor-like experience. Beginners might opt for Ca Phe Nau Da (iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk) for its smooth, fragrant taste, while Ca Phe Den Da (iced black coffee) is reserved for the bold.

In Vietnam, sidewalk cafes are hubs of local life, where mornings are spent sipping coffee amidst animated conversations and quiet moments of reflection. Joining locals on small plastic chairs, exchanging stories, or catching up on news is a cherished ritual.

While international coffee giants like Starbucks have made inroads, there’s a collective hope that Vietnamese coffee culture will endure. Traditional Vietnamese coffee is more than a beverage; it’s a cultural cornerstone, integral to the immersive experience of any culinary journey through Vietnam.

Where to find the best Vietnamese iced coffee

Hanoi, the beating heart of Vietnam, boasts the nation’s most vibrant coffee culture. Every corner teems with a plethora of coffee shops, each exuding its own unique ambiance.

For a taste of traditional Vietnamese iced coffee, seek out Dinh Cafe on 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Giang Cafe on 39 Nguyen Huu Huan or Nang Cafe at 45 Nguyen Huu Huan Street. These establishments, steeped in the city’s history. They also serve up some of the finest Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee) in Hanoi.

Adventurous travelers seeking hidden gems will delight in exploring tucked-away cafes like Hanoi House Cafe on 47 Ly Quoc Su Street or Hidden Gem Cafe at 3B Hang Tre. Nestled in narrow alleyways, these secret spots offer an authentic experience off the beaten path, known only to the most discerning locals.

Final thoughts

When venturing through Vietnam, savoring a cup of authentic Vietnamese iced coffee is an essential experience for travelers. Renowned for its bold flavors and unique preparation method, this delightful beverage offers a taste of Vietnam’s rich coffee culture. The harmonious blend of strong, aromatic coffee and sweet condensed milk over ice creates a refreshing and indulgent treat, perfect for cooling off in Vietnam’s tropical climate.

Trying Vietnamese iced coffee allows travelers to immerse themselves in the country’s vibrant culinary scene and appreciate its cultural nuances. Each sip tells a story of Vietnam’s history and traditions, from its French colonial influence to its innovative coffee-making techniques.

Viland Travel’s customized tours offer travelers the opportunity to delve deeper into Vietnam’s culinary heritage and discover the secrets behind authentic Vietnamese iced coffee. With expertly crafted itineraries and insider knowledge, Viland Travel ensures that every aspect of your journey is tailored to provide the most authentic and memorable experiences. Whether exploring bustling city streets or serene countryside landscapes, Viland Travel guarantees an unforgettable expedition through Vietnam’s diverse and flavorful culinary landscape.