Vietnamese Coffee vs. Regular Coffee: What’s the Difference?

You may have noticed the buzz around Vietnamese coffee growing. The increase in popularity of this coffee has you wondering: What is the difference between Vietnamese coffee and regular coffee?

Vietnamese coffee is stronger and more heavy-bodied when compared with your typical cup of coffee. It also contains condensed milk and is brewed slightly differently than regular coffee.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into what Vietnamese coffee is and how it compares to your other favorite coffees.

What is Vietnamese Coffee?

You may be surprised to know that Vietnam is a massive producer of coffee beans. It is the second largest coffee producer in the world. Vietnamese coffee beans are primarily grown in the volcanic soil of the central highlands of Vietnam.

They are typically Robusta coffee beans, which gives it its bitter taste and high caffeine content. Becoming more frequent, arabica beans are mixed in with the robusta. You will also find that this coffee is usually a darker roast with added flavors, including vanilla, chicory, mocha, and butter.

How Does Vietnamese Coffee Compare to Regular Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee is different than your regular cup of coffee. Whereas most specialty coffees and coffee shops in America use 100% Arabica beans because they produce a more smooth cup of coffee, most Vietnamese coffees, as mentioned above, are brewed with robusta beans.

Robusta beans will consistently brew a stronger, more bitter cup of coffee when compared to arabica beans. The typical cup of coffee in America will often have sugar, creamers, or syrups added to it for additional flavor.

Vietnamese coffee contains sweetened condensed milk for its flavor. Combined with the strong bitter-tasting coffee, it produces a perfectly balanced cup full of sweet, rich flavors. This ingredient is used in making ice cream and other delicious desserts, so you can imagine how it adds yummy goodness to the coffee.

What’s also great about condensed milk is that it can stay good for years, whereas liquid creamer used in regular coffee can’t last as long. To read how long creamer lasts, click here!

Similar to the coffee we are used to, Vietnamese coffee can be served both hot or cold. Since the coffee is so strong, it is perfect for making iced coffee. As the ice melts, the coffee is still bold and full of flavor.

Chart comparing vietnamese coffee and regular coffee.

vietnamese coffee is stronger, more bitter, more caffeinated, made with robusta beans, contains sweetened condensed milk, and brewed with a metal filter called a phin. 

Regular coffee is weaker and less bitter, does not contain condensed milk, typically made with arabica beans, brewed with paper filters, and cream and sugar are routinely added to it.

Brewing Method for Vietnamese Coffee vs. Regular Coffee

Regular coffee can be brewed in a few different ways, such as a drip system, pour-over, french press, and others, most of which use a paper filter.

Vietnamese coffee has a specific way of being brewed. Generally, this coffee is brewed in a small metal cup or filter that fits nicely over a mug. This is called a phin. This brewing method is native to Vietnam and is a hybrid between a V60 and french press.

Picture of what a Vietnamese metal filter looks like, also called a phin.

Once the phin is placed over the mug, it brews very slowly, producing a strong, thick, and highly caffeinated drink. You could say it’s similar to an espresso but stronger.

As the coffee drips from the phin, it goes into the mug with the sweetened condensed milk often already in it the mug. If the milk is not already in the mug, the sweetened condensed milk is poured in once the coffee is finished brewing.

A phin is versatile, helping you make all types of drinks where you normally use espresso.

Lastly, phin filters are great for the environment! No more throwing away paper filter after paper filter. They are made entirely with recycled stainless steel, making it a great alternative to other brewing devices.

How to Make Vietnamese Coffee at Home

You can easily make your own Vietnamese coffee at home, and it’s more simple than those fancy espresso machines. First, you must gather all your ingredients and purchase a phin filter if you don’t have one. There are many to choose from on Amazon, but this is the one I use and love.

Alright, let’s get to your other ingredients. Of course, you need coffee. I like using Vietnamese coffee, but that is just an option. The most traditional and well-known is the Cafe Du Monde.

Although I always recommend buying coffee beans over coffee grounds, I use Cafe Du Monde ground coffee in this case, but buying whole beans and using a coffee grinder will always prevent staleness. To read more on why grinding your coffee leads to better coffee, click here.

Next, you need your sweetened condensed milk. There are a variety of brands to choose from. I use Copper Cow Coffee California Sweetened Condensed Milk Creamers. The ones I linked are single-serve packets, which make them extremely easy and simple to use.

Lastly, you’ll need six to eight ounces of water heated just¬†below its boiling point. Let’s quickly touch on the water for a moment. Not all water is created equal. We always recommend using water that is filtered for the best-tasting coffee. For further details, read our other article,¬†“What type of water should I use to make coffee?”

Ingredients needed to make vietnamese coffee at home.
3 tbs. of vietnamese coffee
1-3 tbs. sweetened condensed milk
6-8 ounces of near boiling water
phin filter

Steps to Brewing Vietnamese Coffee

  1. Put the 3 tablespoons of ground coffee in the filter. Ensure the grounds are dispersed evenly around the filter. Do not press grounds down.
  2. Place the metal filter on top of the grounds.
  3. Pour 1-3 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk into mug.
  4. Put phin on top of mug.
  5. Pour just a little hot water over grounds and place the lid on the filter.
  6. Wait about 5 minutes to allow for the coffee to bloom.
  7. Remove the lid and pour the remaining hot water into the filter.
  8. Wait until every bit of water has gone through the filter.
  9. Remove phin and stir to mix coffee and condensed milk.
  10. ENJOY!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

Another favorite Vietnamese coffee beverage is the iced coffee or ca phe sua da. As with the recipe previous it is made with strong coffee and a bit of sweetened condensed milk with the addition of ice.

Often, these drinks will be made with espresso, but more traditionally made with the phin filter. Once the coffee is brewed, stir in the condensed milk and stir. Adjust to your liking. Pour over some ice, and viola you have Vietnamese iced coffee.

Final Thoughts

Vietnamese coffee has been growing in popularity for years in the U.S., and it is clear why. Its unique brewing method and the combination of sweetened condensed milk make it quite the cup of coffee.

I highly encourage you to try to make it at home. Not only will you be expanding your coffee expertise, but you are sure to impress your friends and family.

Is AeroPress Better than French Press?

outdoortroop-21 outdoortoop-20