Is Vietnamese iced coffee vegan? A traditional cà phê sữa đá is certainly not dairy free. The drink is made by combining strong robusta coffee with sweetened condensed milk and is sometimes even topped with a splash of milk to dilute the coffee further – definitely not great if you’re vegan or dairy-free.
So, does that mean non-dairy drinkers can’t enjoy this delicious drink? Absolutely not! Read on to find out how you enjoy a vegan Vietnamese iced coffee that still tastes authentic, from the comforts of your own home.
What is Cà Phê Sữa Đá?
Vietnam is overflowing with different types of traditional coffees, but the Beyoncé of the group is definitely Vietnamese iced coffee, better known as cà phê sữa đá. Enjoyed by many all over the country (and the world) this drink is delicious and has a long cultural history behind it.
An authentic cà phê sữa đá is the perfect balance of flavors. Vietnamese robusta coffee has a slightly bitter and strong flavor that carries notes of smoked wood. This bold flavor complements the creamy sweetened condensed milk, making it the perfect drink to have if you’re in need of a caffeine boost or just a delicious treat.
Modernizing a Longstanding Tradition
In Vietnam, preparing and drinking a cup of coffee is not just a daily task; it is an experience. Coffee, especially cà phê sữa đá, is both significant not only on a national level but also on a personal level.
Growing up, Lan would watch in awe as her má prepared Vietnamese iced coffee at home, and for a kid, it looked like she was brewing a magical potion. However, Lan and her siblings weren’t allowed to have this delicious brew until they turned thirteen. So, drinking a cà phê sữa đá on your 13th birthday soon became a tradition in the Pham household.
For Lan, it was love at first sip. She had never tasted anything like it before, and through the years, her love for this drink and Vietnamese cuisine only grew deeper, which ultimately led to SANG! Lan dreamed of making this iconic drink more accessible so that more people could enjoy this ngon (tasty) tradition.
Bridging Two Cultures
SANG is a brand that is uniquely Vietnamese-American and Lan aims to bridge the two cultures through her experiences, and our SANG with Oatmilk is the culmination of her two worlds.
Growing up in America, Lan grew a taste for non-dairy milk, and oat milk was by far her favorite option. She loved its rich and creamy texture and knew it’d be perfect in a cà phê sữa đá. Its neutral flavor meant that it wouldn't overshadow or change the taste of the coffee, unlike coconut milk or soy milk.
Introducing SANG with Oatmilk
When launching SANG, Lan was adamant to find a way to make cà phê sữa đá slightly healthier and dairy free, while still keeping the flavor authentic. We ultimately settled on using a proprietary oat milk blend that we make in-house, which tastes just like real condensed milk!
SANG with Oatmilk is the first of its kind in the world. The oat milk means it tastes exactly like a cà phê sữa đá that’s been made in Saigon but doesn’t have a single drop of dairy. We also use monk fruit extract as our sweetener, to make our ready-to-drink iced coffees healthier without compromising on flavor.
How Can I Have Vegan Vietnamese Iced Coffee at Home?
If you want to enjoy this traditional drink at home, you have two options. The first option is brewing it yourself, but it requires more work. Here’s a recipe for making dairy-free cà phê sữa đá at home.
2 tablespoons of medium-ground robusta coffee
2 tablespoons of vegan condensed milk (or combine milk of choice & sugar)
1 cup of water
Brew the coffee using a phin, pour the brewed coffee into a glass, add your vegan condensed milk, top with ice, stir and enjoy.
Or the second option, which is faaar is easier – buy a case of SANG with Oatmilk! Just crack open one of our vegan Vietnamese iced coffees and take a sip of Saigon.