Vietnamese coffee is as diverse as the country itself. Along with having a unique taste, texture, color, and aroma, there are also different ways that locals prepare their cuppa. With variations that combine condensed milk, yogurt, and even eggs (don't yuck our yum!), here are five types of Vietnamese coffee you need to try as you explore this vibrant nation.
What Makes Vietnamese Coffee So Special?
Vietnamese coffee is strong, bold, and flavorful, and much of it is to do with the coffee beans used. Vietnam primarily produces robusta coffee beans, and this is almost exclusively grown in the Đà Lạt region, fondly referred to as ‘the Europe of Vietnam’.
However, what sets this coffee apart from others is its preparation. Many would argue that the secret to the deliciousness of Vietnamese coffee is the use of the phin. A phin is a brewing tool (think French press meets filter drip) that produces an intensely strong and surprisingly sweet coffee brew. Once brewed, this coffee can be used as the base for different Vietnamese coffees.
1. Cà phê sữa đá or Cà phê sữa nóng (Coffee with Milk)
Arguably the crowning glory of Vietnamese coffee, milk coffee is loved both locally and internationally. It’s also our favorite kind, but we could be slightly biased! 😅
Made by combining strong, slow dripped coffee with sweetened condensed milk, this drink is the perfect morning pick-me-up, midday treat, or just a really good cup of coffee for any time of the day. Not a fan of ice? Drink opt for a cà phê sữa nóng (hot milk coffee).
2. Cà phê sữa chua (Yogurt Coffee)
Creamy, sweet, and luscious; yogurt and coffee is the pairing you never knew you needed. For this drink, slightly sweetened homemade yogurt is combined with strong black coffee, blending together different flavors and textures. This specialty Vietnamese coffee has the perfect balance of flavors and is a super refreshing drink to have on a warm day as you wander through the streets of Old Saigon.
3. Cà phê đá (Iced Black Coffee)
A drink that’s certainly not for the faint hearted, cà phê đá is intensely delicious and will keep you pumped up throughout the day. Perhaps the best way to enjoy the unique flavor of Vietnamese coffee, enjoy this ‘phin-dripped’ coffee as is or with a heaping spoon of sugar for some sweetness. Try our SANG Straight Black, our take on iced black coffee which has a touch of vanilla essence for some extra hương vị (flavor).
4. Cà phê trứng (Egg Coffee)
Golden egg yolk, whipped with sweetened condensed milk into creamy froth and poured over black coffee - Vietnamese egg coffee is certainly a must-try while in the country! Egg coffee made its first appearance in Hanoi in the 1940s when there was a scarcity of milk, and egg yolk was used as its substitute. You can actually try the original egg coffee at Cafe Giang, although it's served in coffee shops all over Vietnam. Read our guide to find out the 10 best coffee shops to visit while in Vietnam.
5. Cà phê dừa (Coconut Coffee)
If a milkshake and a classic Vietnamese iced coffee ever had a love child, it’d probably be a cà phê dừa. This creamy, sweet, and ultra refreshing iced coffee is made by combining strong Vietnamese with coconut milk, a touch of condensed milk, coconut milk and served over LOTS of ice. To make it even creamier and more decadent, you could swap the coconut milk with coconut yogurt and blend everything together.
Although coffee may not have originated in Vietnam, it’s safe to say that we Vietnamese people have really made it our own. Get a taste of Vietnam’s coffee culture every time you crack open of SANG.