How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

Coffee is a drink enjoyed by many people the world over. Where do you find yourself thinking of when someone mentions coffee? Brazil? Colombia? You might be surprised to learn that one of the largest exporters of coffee is actually that little Southeast Asian country Vietnam. Today we’ll be looking at how to make Vietnamese Coffee.

vietnamese coffees on table

What is Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnam was introduced to coffee in the 19th century by the French. Vietnam has always been an agricultural country with a rich culture for food and drink, so it was only natural that the Vietnamese would come up with their own takes on coffee.


  • Vietnamese coffee is medium to course ground
  • The Vietnamese came up with plenty of unique recipes and ways to brew coffee
  • Vietnamese coffee tends to be strong, dark, and bitter, while still having some sweetness to it.

Which Coffee Plant is Vietnamese Coffee Made From?

Anyone who knows coffee knows that Robusta and Arabica are the main kinds of coffee plants.

It’s easier to grow Robusta over Arabica. These beans produce great coffee even in harsh conditions. What Robusta offers is a deep and rich coffee with high levels of caffeine. They grow best in a tropical climate, which is why the majority of Vietnamese coffee comes from Robusta. Not only does Robusta thrive in Vietnam, but the taste is suited to the Vietnamese palette. Many of the Robusta plantations in Vietnam can be found in the central highland areas such as Gia Lai and Dac Lak.


Arabica beans can be harder to grow, so they tend to cost more. Because Vietnam focuses on Robusta beans, only a small amount of the coffee in Vietnam is made from Arabica beans. However, Arabica is grown in the north to provide more coffee varieties to the country.


These days, many of the coffee ground exported from Vietnam is a mixture of different coffee beans including Arabica, Robusta, Chari and Catimor. The blend creates a unique, exotic flavor that is still uniquely Vietnamese, while appealing to the tastes of other countries. An example of this is Premium Culi by Trung Nguyen. This blend contains Robusta, Culi Arabica, Chari, and Catimor.

Heard of culi beans before?

You can’t be blamed if you’ve never heard of culi beans before. Rather than being a special kind of plant that produces beans, culi beans are in fact a special type of bean. Normally the fruit of a coffee plant will contain two seeds with flat sides. However, every so often, the cherry mutates and produces just one seed that a full shape. This single seed is known as culi or peaberry. There is a 5% chance for this mutation to occur. Because there is only one seed there’s less competition between the seeds and culi beans have an intense flavor because of this.


Now you know what someone is talking about when they talk about culi Arabica or culi Robusta. It’s not a variety of the coffee plant; rather it’s a mutation of the coffee bean used to make incredible coffee.


How to Brew Vietnamese Coffee

It’s highly unlikely that your will have a “Vietnamese Coffee” setting. You need a “Phin” to produce Vietnamese coffee. This is a kind of coffee brewer with 4 parts; a filter, a cup, a lid, and a compressed filter. Here’s how to brew Vietnamese coffee.


What you Need:

Phin (a Vietnamese coffee filter set), ground coffee, a coffee glass, and hot water.




  1. Wash the Phin using hot water to make the coffee taste better, then put the filter in front of the coffee glass
  2. Place the coffee in the Phin (1/2 Phin). Place the filter on top of the coffee lightly and push the coffee down a few times, without pushing too hard.
  3. Pour about 20% of the hot water into the Phin and wait around 20 seconds for the coffee powder to swell. Then put the rest of the hot water in. The water should be about 2/3rds of the Phin.
  4. Wait for the coffee to drip down. You’ve successfully brewed Vietnamese coffee when the coffee drips down at a rate of one drop per second.

Make Vietnamese Coffee

vetnamese coffee

Making great Vietnamese coffee is all about choosing the right coffee. The next time you purchase coffee beans you should purchase organic coffee. It should also have a clear origin. There are too many poor quality coffee brands out there. It’s best to buy coffee from a famous brand to ensure you’re getting a good quality coffee.


Many Vietnamese coffee recipes involve brewing coffee using a “Phin”. Here are two more simple recipes.


Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe


Brewed coffee, ice, sugar, a coffee cup, a glass, and a spoon.




  1. Put the brewed coffee into the glass
  2. Put 3 teaspoons of sugar and stir
  3. Put ice into the coffee cup and then pour the coffee over it
  4. Enjoy your Vietnamese iced coffee

If you want your iced coffee to be stronger then use less sugar.


Sweet Condensed Milk Coffee


Brewed coffee, sweet condensed milk, ice, a coffee cup, a glass, and a spoon.




  1. Put the sweet condensed milk into the glass
  2. Pour the brewed coffee into the glass and mix the milk and coffee
  3. Put the ice into the coffee cup and pour the milk coffee over it
  4. Enjoy your sweet condensed milk coffee

Hot sweet condensed coffee is great for when you’re feeling under the weather. Feel free to swap the ice for hot water and make some hot milk coffee.


These recipes are simple but the coffee they produce is very flavorful. The amount of each ingredient you need depends on your own personal preferences. My personal favorite mix is to add super sweet dense milk to dense dark coffee.


Best Vietnamese Coffee Brands

The best Vietnamese coffee brands on the market are Trung Nguyen, Vinacafe, and Highlands. Your friends can still recommend others so feel free to try others until you find your own personal favorite. Now that you know more about Vietnamese coffee it’s up to you to go out there and enjoy it!


How Should I Drink Vietnamese Coffee?

To really enjoy the delicious taste of Vietnamese coffee it’s best to drink it slowly. Take some sips and let it wash over you and leave you feeling special. The best time to drink coffee is half an hour after eating breakfast, before exercising, or when you feel particularly stressed or tired. Just take the time to enjoy it to the fullest.


Where can I Buy Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee is very famous, but there aren’t many brands selling it around the world. It’s a good idea to purchase it online. Of course, perhaps the best place to buy Vietnamese coffee is Vietnam itself! If you ever find yourself in Ho Chi Minh City then take a trip to the Ben Thanh Market.

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