How to Make Vietnamese Coffee – Taste of Travel

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and while I have a bunch of posts I wrote just before lockdown, I’ve not felt right publishing them while we’ve staying been at home. I’ve been hearing a lot about virtual travel experiences and I have to say I haven’t been interested, it just makes me want to travel more. To me the real beauty of travel is the food, the smells, the experience of it all. So while we wait to be able to explore the world again, I’ve been recreating some of my favourite recipes at home inspired by the places I’ve been. First up, I’ll show you how to make Vietnamese coffee.

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drinking Vietnamese coffee drinks at the Note Cafe in Hanoi Vietnam
Enjoying Egg coffee and cake at the Note Cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam

What’s so special about Vietnamese coffee?

If you’ve visited Vietnam, you’ll know that coffee is a big deal and how amazing and unique it is. If you haven’t, Vietnam might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think coffee. But it was the thing I missed the most after I left. Every now and again I pick up a Vietnamese style iced coffee from a London spot called Hop. But as that also isn’t an option right now, I’m perfecting the art of making them at home. Many of us are probably missing our favourite coffee spots, and I’m sure a lot of us have experimented making the pretty, Korean dalgona coffee at some point! So here’s a few more adventurous caffine fixes to whip up at home.

While these drinks are best enjoyed tucked away in a cafe in Hanoi, you can recreate them at home quite easily. I’m going to show you how to make four common drinks you’ll find in Vietnam’s cafes: using the traditional Vietnamese drip method. I’ll tell you step-by-step how to make it, or scroll to the bottom of this post for a video version. This shows how bored I’ve gotten in lockdown – I hate speaking on camera!

How to make Vietnamese coffee

What you’ll need:

Vietnamese coffee ingredients
  • Coffee phin – You can find these at almost any street market in Vietnam, as well as a lot of Asian wholefoods stores for quite cheap (ours were about £1 from the night market in Hanoi). But don’t worry, you can also get them easily online.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – Vietnamese coffee is strong and bitter, so they counter it with sweetened condensed milk. You can find it tinned in most baking aisles. You’ll need 1-2 tablespoons depending on how sweet you like it. Store the rest in a jar in your fridge and use it for your next batch.
  • Strong ground coffee – Today I’m using a Moka bean coffee a friend brought back from Hoi An. You can use any strong coffee, I recommend a Robusta bean. The one sold most often in Vietnam is Trung Nguyen Vietnamese Coffee.
  • Ice cubes (for the iced version)


  1. Place the coffee phin over the top of your mug
  2. Remove the press and put two teaspoons of ground coffee into the phin and replace the press
  3. Fill about a quarter with water, allowing the coffee to start to drip through
  4. Fill the rest of the phin with water and allow to drip through
  5. Mix two teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk into your mug
  6. Enjoy

Vietnamese ice coffee (cà phê sữa đá)

Make the drip coffee exactly as above steps 1-4. Fill a glass with ice and add the condensed milk. Pour the freshly prepared coffee over the ice and condensed milk and stir. It’s that easy.

Vietnamese iced coffee, or ca phe sua da, a must-try in Vietnam
One of my many iced coffees while in Vietnam

Coconut coffee

Around the time I visited Vietnam, coconut milk wasn’t the common fixture in UK that it has become in drinks. Now you’ll find it in places like Pret and Cafe Nero. The Vietnamese version tastes similar but usually uses coconut cream which is a bit thicker. Just make the black coffee as above. Stir together equal parts coconut cream and condensed milk. Stir into your hot coffee and enjoy.

How to make Vietnamese egg coffee (Cà phê trứng)

The last drink I’m going to tell you how to make today will probably divide audiences. Egg coffee. If you’ve read my Vietnamese food post, you’ll know about this odd-sounding but oh so delicious coffee drink. The name egg coffee sounds disgusting, but this drink tastes a bit like tirimisu. Think like a custard topping.

What you’ll need (makes 2 cups)

  • Strong Vietnamese coffee (prepared using method above)
  • 1 egg yolks
  • 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • Grated chocolate or coco powder
  • A heatproof glass
  • A pan or bowl of boiling hot water


The trick is to make sure the coffee is quite hot when you put on the topping. This will ensure the mixture cooks a bit when you spoon it on top. Make the topping first. Then make the coffee drink (hot!). Here’s how to do it:

  1. Separate one egg yolk into a mixing bowl
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whip for about 10 mins. The mixture should become airy and frothy
  3. Next, prepare the coffee using a drip phin (or your preferred method) over a heatproof glass or mug
  4. Place the glass or mug into the bowl or pan and fill the bottom of the bowl/pan with boiling water. This will help ensure the coffee in your cup is extra hot
  5. Spoon the egg mixture on top of the hot coffee
  6. After, grate some chocolate over top or a dusting of coco powder
  7. Enjoy!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first in my recipe series and you enjoy making Vietnamese coffee drinks at home. While we are not able to travel, I hope this posts bring a little bit of the adventure you are missing. I know I certainly am enjoying the memories sipping these drinks.

How to make Vietnamese coffee drinks at home

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