What is a Vietnamese Coffee Phin

by | Jul 25, 2021 | coffee | 0 comments

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I still remember the first time I had Vietnamese coffee. It was a beautiful day after my piano lessons in Flushing, New York. We went and ate with the family at a local Pho store. I was tired at the time, so I asked my mom if I could try a Vietnamese coffee. That’s how I was introduced to the heavenly drink called Vietnamese coffee or (cà phê sữa nóng).

The coffee was flavorful, sweet and vicious, like nectar from the gods. It is made with condensed milk topped with dark drip coffee. You can make it with ice cream or just condensed milk. Just stir the mixture up and you are ready to enjoy this delicious drink. To make the iced version, just pour the mixed coffee into a glass filled with ice.

A Vietnamese coffee-phin is a metal coffee dripper that is put on top of a cup to brew coffee. It’s like a combination of a French press and a dripping coffee brewer. Phins is a traditional Vietnamese brewing method and makes a great cup of coffee without complex steps.

Today I want to show you how to make the perfect Vietnamese coffee using a Vietnamese phin filter at home with just a few simple tools and materials.

Table of Contents

Traditional Vietnamese coffee Phin

Phins is traditionally a metal coffee dripper with a filter that sits on top of a cup.

This method was used in Vietnam to make a deep and complex coffee. This coffee is usually served with condensed milk to even out the deep coffee flavors.

This is because it is traditional Vietnamese coffee that uses robusta beans that are darker and more bitter than arabica beans. Because of this, it makes it a perfect combination with condensed milk.

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What constitutes a Phin

Phins is a combination of French press and drip coffee. It has a round perforated sheet of metal used to hold the dripper on top of a cup.

Then there is the brewing chamber, which is a small cup with perforations at the bottom. This holds the coffee base and corresponds to the brewing chamber of a drip coffee machine.

Next, there is the metal insert that traps the coffee grounds and is also perforated. You pour water on this and it prevents the ground from floating up and lets the water flow down into the beans and drip into your cup.

Finally, there is the cap that saves the head on the water as it drips through the Vietnamese phin.

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The process of brewing Vietnamese coffee can take several minutes to make a single cup. You need a cup with good thermal insulation to prevent your coffee from getting too cold. A double-walled mug or a cup is highly recommended. This also prevents you from burning yourself on the cup because the fin can get hot to the touch while brewing.

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How To Make Vietnamese Coffee At Home With A Phin

You need to start with the right grinding for the coffee. Try grinding your coffee beans into a medium sized ground coffee. Something you want to use for a French press coffee.

If it’s too fine, the painters will fall through the stainless steel filter and get into your coffee.

As for the type of coffee beans, any robusta coffee works and it would be best to avoid arabica beans. This is because what we are looking for is the deep bitterness and nuttiness that works well with the condensed milk. However, enjoy your coffee no matter what you want. You actually prefer it with Arabica beans and you do not know it until you try!

What you need to make Vietnamese coffee

To make this delicious recipe at home, you just need to get a few things.

  • Stainless steel coffee filter (Phin filter)
  • Condensed milk (Longevity brand is our favorite)
  • Any kind of ground Vietnamese coffee
  • Gooseneck boiler is preferred (any boiler will do)

For the coffee you can use any coffee beans, but there is a basic Vietnamese coffee that we would recommend you. Every American-born Vietnamese swears by Café du Monde coffee from New Orleans. It is very good and makes a smooth, rich and bold coffee.

Vietnamese coffee drippers are not expensive. If you are near an Asian supermarket, you can find these drips in the times of the appliance and they should not cost more than $ 10 – $ 15.

You can buy this Phin from Amazon for only $ 10.99 with free shipping.

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Why pay $ 5 to get Vietnamese coffee at your local Pho store when you can make it at home as many times as you want with this one purchase?

It has a 4.5 star rating with over 700 reviews on Amazon. Most of the reviews praise the ease of use and the great coffees you can make with this little dripper.

Step 1 – Start with the condensed milk

Add 2 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk in a cup or glass.

You can change this to suit your tastes and preferences. We suggest adding a maximum of 3 tablespoons.

Step 2 – Boil some water in a kettle

If you make a lot of v60 coffee, you may have a gooseneck. This may make it easier to pour, but any kettle does. Electric kettles also work.

Step 3 – Preheat the Vietnamese phin and the cup

You can preheat the cup and phin by pouring some hot water through the phin and into the cup. This helps with extraction and helps give you the flavors you want out of your coffee beans.

Step 4 – Fill the brewing chamber with coffee

I usually use 1 tablespoon of ground coffee when making my Vietnamese coffee. You can experiment with the basics, but that’s what I think works best when I brew. This is about 4 teaspoons for those who do not have tablespoons.

Step 5 – Place the metal insert on top of the coffee grounds

If you have phin with a twist-on insert, gently rotate the metal insert until it becomes slightly tight. Otherwise, just place the bet on top of the coffee.

Step 6 – Place the brewing chamber and the metal plate on a cup

Step 7 – Bloom the coffee by pouring a small amount of warm water over the ground

If you do not know what blooms, you can read this article I wrote about what coffee blooms are. A quick overview is that there is CO2 trapped inside fresh coffee grounds, and some hot water releases it and allows for better extraction of the coffee taste.

Step 8 – Fill the brewing chamber

This is the last step in brewing your Vietnamese coffee. Fill the phine with warm water and it should start dripping. It should drip for 3-5 minutes and if it ever runs out of water and you need to brew more coffee, add more water. You can adjust the strength of the coffee according to how close your metal insert is, so if it looks like it is brewing light, you can tighten your coffee grounds. If it does not drip through, you may need to loosen them.

Step 9 – Mix with your condensed milk and enjoy

You have earned it! Vietnamese coffee is a unique and tasty way to enjoy a cup of coffee. Enjoy this taste because Vietnamese coffee is amazing!

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A Vietnamese Phin is a metal coffee dripper that combines the power of both the French press and a V60 brewer. It brews strong delicious coffee simply with tools that everyone has at home.

There are many ways to enjoy coffee, and Vietnamese coffee is just one of them. If you want to learn more ways to brew your coffee, click here to read the article.


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