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

Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Cà Phê Sữa Đá

08/09/2022

Learn how to make Vietnamese iced coffee at home and enjoy this delicious, chocolatey smooth pick-me-up in just 5 minutes. If you love sweet strong coffee, you’ll love cà phê sữa đá!

Glass of ca phe sua dua with phin filter in background.

Why We Love This

This Vietnamese iced coffee recipe is strong and sweet, perfect to sip alongside Vietnamese dishes like spring roll noodle salad or pandan waffles

We love the rich, chocolatey flavour from the Vietnamese style robusta coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. Poured over ice, it’s so refreshing on a hot summer day.

You can make this easy drip style coffee in a Vietnamese metal filter if you have one – no paper coffee filters required! But if you don’t, just use your favourite coffee brewing method to keep it simple.

P.S. Since it’s quick, easy and cheaper to make at home, why not save some money and turn your daily brew into a delicious at-home coffee ritual. 

Related: Vietnamese Avocado Smoothie / Vietnamese Three Bean Drink

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

What is Vietnamese Iced Coffee?

Just like the baguettes in banh mi bread rolls, or the crepes in banh xeo, coffee (written as cà phê in Vietnamese) was introduced to Vietnam by way of French colonisation

Vietnamese iced coffee is said to get its unique, chocolate-like flavour from robusta coffee beans that have been roasted in a mix of fish sauce and butter

This style of coffee is prepared using a traditional Vietnamese coffee filter known as a phin. Traditionally, this style of coffee is served over ice, either with condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá) to sweeten the bitter robusta coffee flavour, or black without milk (cà phê đá).

Pouring boiling water into a Vietnamese phin.

What You’ll Need

  • Coffee – We use Trung Nguyen Gourmet Blend. Look for it at your nearest Asian grocery store or online. Sub with any kind of ground robusta beans if you can, otherwise, just use your regular coffee grounds.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This is what gives Vietnamese iced coffee its classic creamy sweetness. Sub with coconut condensed milk for a vegan friendly version (though this will obviously add a creamy coconut flavour to the mix).
  • Ice – You can skip the ice cubes and drink it warm if you like, but we think the flavour is much better when iced.
  • Phin Coffee Maker – They’re cheap and they make a very good brew! Look for them at Asian groceries, second-hand stores, or buy them online. If buying your own, try and find the style where the top section is separate from the bottom plate, as these tend to work better and give you more control when filtering the coffee. If you don’t have one, use a regular drip filter, French press or moka pot.
Ingredients laid out to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

How to make Cà Phê Sữa Đá:

  1. Pour the condensed milk into a tall glass.
  2. Add the Vietnamese coffee grounds into your phin and place it on top of the glass. (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 skip to the final step.)
  3. Pour a little boiling water (20 ml / 0.5 fl oz) over the coffee grounds until covered, then top with the gravity insert and press down lightly.
  1. 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 slowly drip through onto the condensed milk (around 5 minutes).
  2. Stir well to blend the coffee into the condensed milk, then pour over a glass of ice. Or just add ice to your existing glass and give it a good stir.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Sweetness – You can adjust the amount of condensed milk to suit your tastes.

FAQs

Why has the coffee stopped dripping through my phin?

Sometimes the filter can become blocked and starved of oxygen, creating a suction that prevents the coffee from dripping through. To fix this, carefully pick up the top section of the filter 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 normally happens towards the end of the filtering process.

Is Vietnamese coffee stronger than regular coffee

Yes it is. Robusta coffee beans are known to be stronger than arabica style beans. It also has a more bitter taste, which is where the condensed milk helps to balance out the flavour.

Can I still make Vietnamese iced coffee if I don’t have a phin?

Yes you can, just brew the coffee in a moka pot or French coffee press and pour it over the condensed milk, mix well, then pour over ice.

Variations

  • Ca Phe Da – Leave out the condensed milk for a strong black brew. You can add a teaspoon or two of sugar to sweeten instead if you want. 
  • Turn it Into A Dessert – Use the freshly brewed coffee to make Vietnamese coffee tiramisu or coffee jelly!
Glass of Vietnamese iced coffee filled with ice.

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

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

Swirling Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk in a glass.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Ca Phe Sua Da

Learn how to make Vietnamese iced coffee at home and enjoy this delicious, chocolatey smooth pick-me-up in just 5 minutes. If you love sweet strong coffee, you’ll love cà phê sữa đá!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 1 serve
Calories: 193kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $3

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour the condensed milk into a tall glass.
    3 tbsp condensed milk
  • Add the Vietnamese coffee grounds into your phin and place it on top of the glass. (Alternatively, add the coffee grounds into your moka pot or French press and prepare the coffee as you normally would. Once prepared, pour over the condensed milk and skip to the final step.)
    2 tsp Vietnamese coffee grounds
  • If using the Vietnamese phin coffee filter, pour a little boiling water (20 ml / 0.5 fl oz) over the coffee grounds until covered, then top 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 slowly drip through onto the condensed milk (around 5 minutes).
    100 ml boiling water
  • Stir well to blend the coffee into the condensed milk, then pour over a glass of ice. Or just add ice to your existing glass and give it a good stir.
    ice cubes

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Coffee – We use Trung Nguyen Gourmet Blend. Look for it at your nearest Asian grocery store or online. Sub with any kind of ground robusta beans if you can, otherwise, just use your regular coffee grounds.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – This is what gives Vietnamese iced coffee its classic creamy sweetness. Sub with coconut condensed milk for a vegan friendly version (though this will obviously add a creamy coconut flavour to the mix). You can adjust the amount of condensed milk to suit your preferred level of sweetness.
  • Ice – You can skip the ice cubes and drink it warm if you like, but we think the flavour is much better when iced.
  • Phin Coffee Maker – They’re cheap and they make a very good brew! Look for them at Asian groceries, second-hand stores, or buy them online. If buying your own, try and find the style where the top section is separate from the bottom plate, as these tend to work better and give you more control when filtering the coffee. If you don’t have one, use a regular drip filter, French press or moka pot.
  • Ca Phe Da – Leave out the condensed milk for a strong black brew. You can add a teaspoon or two of sugar to sweeten instead if you want. 
  • Turn it Into A Dessert – Use the freshly brewed coffee to make Vietnamese coffee tiramisu or coffee jelly!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Ca Phe Sua Da
Amount per Serving
Calories
193
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
20
mg
7
%
Sodium
 
81
mg
4
%
Potassium
 
223
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
33
g
11
%
Sugar
 
33
g
37
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
160
IU
3
%
Vitamin C
 
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
 
170
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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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