Vietnamese Coffee: How to Make a cup Like a Local

After mastering how to cross the road, to blend with the locals the second task to master in Saigon is how to make Vietnamese coffee. 

Coffee culture is huge in Vietnam. A cup of filtered Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá) is super easy to make.  However, many visitors who travel to Vietnam find it bit intimidating because of the number of "tools" involved.  No need to fear, this tutorial will demonstrate step by step how to make one so you can blend in with the locals in any Saigon cafe.

Vietnamese Coffee Tools:

  1. Vietnamese coffee filter
  2. Ground coffee
  3. Sweetened condensed milk
  4. Spoon
  5. Coffee Glass 
  6. Hot water

#1: Add condensed milk to the coffee glass

There is no official rule on much condensed milk to add. The more you add of course the sweeter it becomes.  I suggest adding a little bit and then top it up if needed.  If you choose to can add a thick layer of condensed milk this is refered to "Băc Xỉu".  "Băc Xỉu" is a coffee that has more milk than coffee.  It is usually very sweet and thick.

#2: Put the filter (without the top cover and the press inside) on top of the glass

#3: Add ground coffee to the filter

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

Normally, Vietnamese people will add about 3 teaspoons, but if you like strong coffee, you can add 4-5 teaspoons. 

#4: Lift the filter and shake it gently until the ground coffee is flat inside.

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

#5: Insert the press inside the coffee cup

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

#6: Press the top filter on to the ground coffee inside the filter

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

#7: Pour some hot water into the filter (Part 1) 

Pour a bit of hot water into the filter. As the ground coffee absorbs water, it will open up and have smoother taste. We will be adding more water shortly. 

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

 

#8: Pour some more hot water into the filter (Part 2)

For the second time, you should pour hot water halfway up the filter followed by covering with top filter.

#9: Patiently wait (about 5 minutes) as the coffee drips into your glass

As you wait for your coffee to brew, enjoy some people watching.  There is always something happening on the chaotic streets of Saigon.

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

#10: Remove the filter from the glass and use a spoon to blend the coffee with the condensed milk

Sit back and enjoy!

Saigon - Vietnamese Coffee - Filtered Coffee

#11 (optional): To combat the Saigon heat, you can add ice to enjoy it cold!

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hi, i'm jake anh!

hi, i'm jake anh!