Coffee is one of the popular social drinks in Vietnam not consumed on the run. The locals prefer to sit in cafes or vendors along the streets and leisurely catch up on life over coffee. With favorable growing regions in the central highlands, to the surprise of most coffee consumers, it is the second-largest coffee-producing nation in the world with an annual production of 1.8 US tons, only second to Brazil. On your trip to Vietnam, whether visiting Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or the country’s capital of Hanoi, you should not miss drinking Vietnamese coffee.
What Makes Vietnamese Coffee Unique?
There are a few ways to drink Vietnamese coffee. You can have it hot or cold, but this signature drink is most distinguishable for its use of sweetened condensed milk, called a Ca Phe Sua Da. If you wish to skip out on the milk, you can also have it black.
Not only is the brewing style low-tech by using an aluminum or metal filter called a Phin, but the brewing technique in the Phin filter also creates a superior coffee brew. This method of brewing is not only popular in Vietnam, but also in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and other regions.
Ingredients to Make a Vietnamese Coffee
-A Vietnamese coffee Phin filter (lid, filter chamber, coffee press, bottom filter)
-Condensed Milk (for ca phe sua da) or Sugar (for traditional iced black coffee)
-Coffee grounds with your preferred blend (robusta, arabica, excelsa, liberica, catimor, and others; authentic Vietnamese coffee will have a dominant bitter taste of robusta coffee, with a hint of arabica taste)
How to Make a Vietnamese Coffee
1. Put ground coffee into the filter chamber. The amount of ground coffee to use is dependent on how strong you want your coffee to be.
2. Slightly shake the filter to even out the grounds. Use the coffee press to press down the coffee grounds inside the filter chamber.
3. Put the bottom filter on top of the cup, followed by the filter chamber.
4. Pure hot water all the way up into the filter chamber and cover it with the lid.
5. Let the coffee brew and slowly drip for about 15 minutes, or until dripping stops.
6. Add condensed milk or sugar to taste. How sweet or how creamer your coffee is dependent on how much sweetened condensed milk you use.
7. Enjoy your Vietnamese coffee hot or with ice.
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Since Vietnamese coffee is incredibly strong, some prefer to enjoy it with some plain iced tea to avoid being over-caffeinated
Some Popular Vietnamese Coffee to Order at a Coffee Shop
The typical black iced coffee
Vietnamese ca phe sua da
Bac xiu – similar to a latte, but has a stronger kick
Vietnamese egg coffee is usually served hot and with a bowl of hot water to keep the warmth
Vietnamese cold-brew coffee has recently gained popularity among coffee lovers
Where to Drink and Buy Vietnamese Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City
Trung Nguyen Legend
7 Nguyen Van Chiem, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (next to Diamonds Plaza)
222 Bui Vien, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (on Bui Vien Walking Street)
219 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
94 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (inside the War Remnant Museum)
7 Cong Truong Lam Son, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (behind Saigon’s Opera House)
92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (in front of the Reunification Palace)
Phuc Long Coffee & Tea Express
Corner Le Loi and Phan Boi Chau (next to Ben Thanh Market)
325 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
235 Nguyen Van Cu, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (in front of Nowzone Plaza)
Ben Thanh Market (one of the famous local markets in Ho Chi Minh City)
South door of Ben Thanh: Le Loi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Read more on Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City.
Have a look at more coffee houses in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ready for a Cup of Vietnamese Coffee?
Gathering to enjoy Vietnamese coffee has always been an essential part of Vietnamese culture and traditions. On your trip to Vietnam, we recommend drinking Vietnamese coffee or even buying some grounds to take home as souvenirs. If you would like to enjoy some Vietnamese coffee that is included in our Ho Chi Minh City tour, check out the Day Adventure Motorbike tour or Saigon’s Other Side off-the-beaten-path tour.