5 Minute Recipes/ Asian Recipes/ Drinks/ Recipes/ Super Simple/ Vietnamese

Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Cà Phê Sữa Đá

19/06/2020 (Last Updated: 11/08/2020)

Learn how to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee (ca phe sua da) at home and enjoy this delicious chocolatey, smooth and super addictive pick-me-up. Ready to drink in 5 minutes!

Glass of Vietnamese iced coffee filled with ice.

Why We Love This

Vietnamese iced coffee is like the strong coffee you’ve always craved. Complete with a chocolatey flavour, it’s even converted some non-coffee drinkers with the unique, sweet flavour.

Save yourself some money, and turn your daily spending habit into a delicious at-home-coffee-extravaganza!

Glass of coffee with condensed milk and Vietnamese phin on top.

What is Vietnamese Iced Coffee? 

So what makes Vietnamese Iced Coffee so good? What gives it that magic chocolatey flavour and thick, velvet-like texture?

According to some sources, Vietnamese robusta coffee beans are roasted in a mix of fish sauce and butter to bring out the chocolate-like flavour. Even better, the end result tastes nothing like fish sauce at all. Phew. 😛

All through our South East Asian adventures we were addicted to our daily dose of drinks like teh tarik and pink milk. These drinks usually came in a little plastic bag cinched up with a rubber band and a handy straw poked through the side.

Then we headed into Vietnam, and BAM! We’d suddenly crossed the border into the holy land of thick, luscious and super strong coffee, brewed in perfect Vietnamese style.

One sip of Vietnamese Iced Coffee and we were converted.

What You’ll Need to Make This at Home

Once you’ve learnt how to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee at home it’ll always be within reach, whenever you need it. All you need is a bag of Trung Nguyen Gourmet Blend coffee,  condensed milk and ice cubes and you’re set.

We scored a packet of Trung Nguyen coffee at our local Asian grocery store. They’re the closest brand of coffee we’ve found to the taste we had back in Vietnam.

If you can’t track down Vietnamese coffee, try sourcing some ground robusta beans to use in it’s place.

Ingredients laid out to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

What is a Phin?

The Vietnamese drip coffee filter is called a Phin. While you can use it to brew regular coffee, it’s usually used to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

We found ours at the Asian supermarket for $5AU. They’re cheap and they make a very good brew! If buying your own, try and find the style where the top section is separate from the bottom plate like this one, as these tend to work better and give you more control when filtering the coffee.

If you’re not equipped with a phin, you can brew the coffee using a moka pot or just use instant coffee, but it might not have that same flavour.

Pouring boiling water into a Vietnamese phin.

How to make Recipe:

First up, add 3 tablespoons of condensed milk in the bottom of a tall glass and set aside.

Adding condensed milk to a glass.

Next, set up your Vietnamese coffee filter on top of the glass, and add in 2 heaped teaspoons of Vietnamese coffee grounds. (Alternatively, add the coffee grounds into your moka pot and prepare the coffee as you normally would – once prepared, pour over the condensed milk and move on to the final step.)

Placing Trung Nguyen coffee into phin.

If using the Vietnamese coffee filter, pour in a little boiling water (20 ml/0.5 fl oz) until the coffee grounds are covered, then cover with the gravity insert and press down lightly.

Pour in more boiling water (80 ml/2.5 fl oz) until it just reaches the top of the gravity insert, then pop on the lid and allow the coffee to filter.

Putting the lid on phin filter to make Vietnamese iced coffee.

That strong black coffee will start to drip down onto the condensed milk. This should take around 5 minutes for all the water to drip through.

Using a phin filter to drip coffee.

Mix everything together, then pour into a glass of ice. Or, add ice to your existing glass and give it one last stir. Now enjoy that coffee buzz!

Pouring ca phe sua da over ice.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • You CAN skip the ice cubes and drink it warm, but we think the flavour of the coffee is much better when iced.
  • Feel free to play around with the amount of condensed milk to find your favourite ratios.
  • We love that we can take our phin filter travelling with us so we have a no waste solution for fresh brewed coffee no matter where we are in the world!

FAQs

Why has the water stopped filtering through the filter?

Sometimes the filter can be starved of oxygen, creating a suction that prevents the water from filtering through.

To fix this, carefully pick up the top section by the handles (careful not to burn yourself) and tilt it setting it back down on the base plate at an angle. This will break the seal and allow air back in the filter to continue dripping.

This is especially normal towards the end of the filtering process.

Is Vietnamese coffee stronger than regular coffee?

It sure is. This is from the use of the Robusta variety of coffee beans, rather than the very popular Arabica beans most often used in Western parts of the world. It also has a more bitter taste, which is where the addition of condensed milk helps to mellow that out.

How can I make Vietnamese iced coffee if I don’t have a phin filter?

Feel free to brew the coffee in a moka pot or percolator instead.

Variations & Substitutes

  • If you can’t source Trung Nguyen coffee, try to find ground robusta beans or arabica in a pinch.
  • For a black brew, leave out the condensed milk. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar to sweeten instead if you want.
  • If you want to get really creative, go one step further and use the coffee to make a Vietnamese Coffee Tiramisu fusion dessert!
Glass of ca phe sua dua with phin filter in background.

For more South East Asian treats, check these out next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Glass filled with condensed milk and coffee, topped with Vietnamese phin filter.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Ca Phe Sua Da

Learn how to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee at home and enjoy this delicious chocolatey, smooth and super addictive pick-me-up. Ready to drink in 5 minutes!
Prep Time: 1 minute
Brewing Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 1 serve
Calories: 193kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $3

Ingredients

Instructions

  • First up, add 3 tablespoons of condensed milk in the bottom of a tall glass and set aside.
  • Next, set up your Vietnamese coffee filter on top of the glass, and add in 2 heaped teaspoons of Vietnamese coffee grounds. (Alternatively, add the coffee grounds into your moka pot and prepare the coffee as you normally would – once prepared, pour over the condensed milk and move on to the final step.)
  • If using the Vietnamese phin coffee filter, pour in a little boiling water (20 ml/0.5 fl oz) until the coffee grounds are covered, then cover with the gravity insert and press down lightly.
  • Pour in more boiling water (80 ml/2.5 fl oz) until it just reaches the top of the gravity insert, then pop on the lid and allow the coffee to filter.
  • That strong black coffee will start to drip down onto the condensed milk. This should take around 5 minutes for all the water to drip through.
  • Mix everything together, then pour into a glass of ice. Or, add ice to your existing glass and give it one last stir. Now enjoy that coffee buzz!

Video

Recipe Notes

Wandercook’s Tips
  • You CAN skip the ice cubes and drink it warm, but we think the flavour of the coffee is much better when iced.
  • Feel free to play around with the amount of condensed milk to find your favourite ratios.
  • We love that we can take our phin filter travelling with us so we have a no waste solution for fresh brewed coffee no matter where we are in the world!
FAQs
  • Why has the water stopped filtering through the filter? Sometimes the filter can be starved of oxygen, creating a suction that prevents the water from filtering through. To fix this, carefully pick up the top section by the handles (careful not to burn yourself) and tilt it setting it back down on the base plate at an angle. This will break the seal and allow air back in the filter to continue dripping. This is especially normal towards the end of the filtering process.
  • Is Vietnamese coffee stronger than regular coffee? It sure is. This is from the use of the Robusta variety of coffee beans, rather than the very popular Arabica beans most often used in Western parts of the world. It also has a more bitter taste, which is where the addition of condensed milk helps to mellow that out.
  • How can I make Vietnamese iced coffee if I don’t have a phin filter? Feel free to brew the coffee in a moka pot or percolator instead.
Variations & Substitutes
  • If you can’t source Trung Nguyen coffee, try to find ground robusta beans or arabica in a pinch.
  • For a black brew, leave out the condensed milk. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar to sweeten instead if you want.
  • If you want to get really creative, go one step further and use the coffee to make a Vietnamese Coffee Tiramisu fusion dessert!

Nutrition

Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 223mg | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 170mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Vietnamese Iced Coffee - Cà Phê Sữa Đá

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Thảo Ly
    19/10/2016 at 9:29 pm

    Well, we do put fish sauce in everything but I didn’t know it was in the iced coffee. Instead, I always add a dash of salt in my coffee 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      20/10/2016 at 2:49 pm

      Oh yeah, we’ve heard of that but haven’t tried it yet! We’ve also heard that adding cinnamon helps to bring out that epic coffee deliciousness. We’ll be trying both ASAP. 😀 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Renz
    30/09/2016 at 3:47 am

    I’m glad I clicked through. I keep seeing this type of coffee in my feed this week. Would have NEVER thought fish sauce was in there. I cringed when I saw it because the smell of it is so pungent. But I am intrigued and definitely want to try it.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/09/2016 at 4:06 pm

      We’re glad you clicked too! Fish Sauce is an interesting ingredient. It’s so horrible to smell alone, yet used in cooking it can add a saltyness and depth that you usually can’t achieve otherwise. We definitely recommend using it! As for the coffee, the beans are roasted with it, which reacts to give a smooth and almost chocolate-like coffee flavour when brewed. No fish smell or taste in sight – we promise! 😀

  • Reply
    Anne Murphy
    27/07/2016 at 4:59 am

    5 stars
    That’s fascinating about the coffee roasting! I always assumed the basic coffee was like any other, and so didn’t know why this was different from any other coffee with condensed milk (which you see in several hot climates…)

    Now I know. Cool! Thank you.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      01/08/2016 at 9:13 am

      There’s so much deliciousness out there but this one is so different. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • Reply
        Nghia Vo
        16/08/2016 at 11:02 am

        I hope that people will known about Vietname’s Coffee much more after this post. It’s so difference , like you said . I have my own small coffee bar in a small town. Of course, I have one Milk Coffee Glass every morning to wake me up.
        Thank you for your support Our Country Coffee.

        • Reply
          Wandercooks
          22/08/2016 at 3:42 pm

          Hi Nghia – we love Vietnam and especially Vietnamese coffee. Such a delicious way to start our day! We’d love to visit your coffee bar next time we go to Vietnam. 🙂

  • Reply
    Neli @ Delicious Meets Healthy
    27/07/2016 at 2:49 am

    5 stars
    This sounds amazing! Fish sauce and butter infused coffee beans!? I would have never thought of that. Love all the detailed and step by step instructions you provided. Wish I could try it soon.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      01/08/2016 at 9:10 am

      We were so surprised too, who would have thought that this strange combo would work so well to make coffee taste so amazing?? Then they made it even better with a good dollop of condensed milk. So delish!

  • Reply
    J@BlessHerHeartYall
    26/07/2016 at 11:27 pm

    5 stars
    Oh yum! this looks so refreshing! Thanks for sharing the technique to the perfect cup! yum!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      01/08/2016 at 9:00 am

      Definitely a good drink to cool off with on a hot day. Good luck and have fun!

  • Reply
    Igor @ Cooking The Globe
    26/07/2016 at 7:19 am

    5 stars
    I am a fan of iced coffee, I always order it in various cafes. I have never heard about this Vietnamese version, though. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/07/2016 at 8:37 am

      You’re welcome Igor, thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    25/07/2016 at 7:53 pm

    5 stars
    I think I need like 5 glasses of this!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/07/2016 at 8:37 am

      Amen to that!

  • Reply
    Alboni
    24/07/2016 at 12:21 pm

    Nice coffee to say good morning !!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/07/2016 at 8:37 am

      Absolutely!

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