The Local Adrenaline Booster
Whirr. Hiss. The grinder spins. The boiler steams. The milk gurgles and froths. Is that heaven calling? As that seductive aroma wafts over you, you can imagine that sweet adrenaline boost you’re about to enjoy. Maybe mornings aren’t that bad!
In Vietnam, there’s more than one way to build a bold brew. No fancy espresso machine required. The local coffee’s smooth-but-powerful flavour comes from its dark-roasted beans and a thing called a phin – a stainless steel filter.
Want to be your own barista? Here’s your step-by-step.
Step 1: Pack it, baby
- Put in three teaspoons of ground coffee.
- Pack it tight with the top filter over the coffee.
- Put the filter over your cup, just like a hat.
Step 2: Add hot water
- Slowly pour hot water into the filter.
Step 3: Wait…patiently
- Mmmm it’s starting to smell good, but wait!
- Give your brew 5-10 minutes to steep while you watch that hypnotic drip, drip, drip.
Step 4: Enjoy
- Et voila – your cup of Vietnamese coffee.
- Enjoy at your own pace.
Too bitter? Put some condensed milk in your glass first.
Feeling the heat? Pour it over ice.
Here’s How Locals Take Their Coffee
Egg-Infused Coffee: Cà Phê Trứng
A Hanoi specialty, tantalisingly sweet. The infusion of extra sugar piques your energy levels as a caffeinated wave of adrenaline washes over you. Wheeeeee. The real pleasure of this delightful drink? Its creamy mouthfeel – courtesy of a whisked-in egg.
The ‘OG’ Location: Café Giảng – 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hà Nội.
A Taste of Tradition: Cà Phê Vợt
This one is practically a lost art – only three shops still make it in Saigon. Passed down from the generation to generation, the recipe uses a vợt – a different type of Vietnamese filter. For a taste of this bold and bitter beverage, order a bạc xỉu, a popular milky drink, from any of these traditional shops.
- Café Cheo Leo – 109 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, D3
- Café chú Ba – 330/2 Phan Đình Phùng, D. Phú Nhuận
- Café chú Thanh – Thiếc Market, Saigon
Sweet, Southern Flair: Bạc Xỉu
You’ve got a sweet tooth, so a bitter brew is out of the question. Enter: Bạc Xỉu. This popular drink in Ho Chi Minh city is not as strong as regular Vietnamese coffee. A hefty serving of condensed milk makes it a sweetly stimulating indulgence.
A Tropical Spin: Coconut Coffee
Imagine yourself on a floaty by the beach in Da Nang, drifting away in the deep blue ocean while soaking up all the Vitamin D from the sun. This drink will take you to that sweet place. Served over shaved coconut flavored ice, this is the perfect drink to help cool you down in the HOT summer:
Cà Phê Cộng – any location across Vietnam