The Difference Between Vietnamese Coffee and Thai Coffee

Glass of iced coffee

Many people visit Southeast Asia for its delicious food, fascinating countries, and unique traditions. However, an area that's often overlooked is the region’s vibrant coffee culture. The region is brewing with different types of coffee, but from this wide variety, there are two which are easily the most popular– Vietnamese iced coffee and Thai iced coffee. 

While many mistake the two for being the same (probably by the same people who tell all Southeast Asians to go back to China 😒) there are certain differences. Here’s everything you need to know about Vietnamese coffee vs Thai coffee. 

What is Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee is renowned for its strong and smooth flavor, which is the result of two things: the coffee beans used and the way it's brewed

Unlike other coffee-producing nations, Vietnam specializes in the cultivation of robusta coffee beans. These beans are stronger and far more potent than arabica coffee beans. This coffee is also brewed using a drip filter called a phin, which produces a concentrated coffee brew that is used as the base for several other drinks. 

Types of Vietnamese Coffee

There are several types of Vietnamese coffee that use this potent brew as a base. Some include cà phê sữa chua (yogurt coffee), cà phê trứng (egg coffee), and the most famous of all – cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee). 

Cà phê sữa đá is made by combining the coffee brew with sweetened condensed milk and lots of ice, making for a strong yet sweet drink.

Pouring coffee into cup
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Glass of coffee
Picture courtesy of Pexels​​

What is Thai Coffee?

Like Vietnam, Thailand is also a coffee-producing country. Traditionally it grew robusta beans for industrial use, but more recently, the country has been gaining traction for being a specialty grower of arabica coffee beans. These beans make for an aromatic, sweet, and flavorful coffee once they’re brewed in a traditional pot called a cafetiere (which is similar to a French press) or a reusable muslin strainer.

Types of Thai Coffee

Although there aren’t as many distinctive types of Thai coffees, there’s one that stands out– Thai iced coffee. This delicious milky drink is made by combining coffee with condensed milk and evaporated milk. Like many traditional drinks, there isn’t one set recipe that everyone follows, instead, you can tweak it to suit your preferences. One way people enjoy their Thai iced coffee is by infusing the coffee with some warming spices for an extra kick. 

Two glasses of iced coffee
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So, What’s Better Vietnamese Iced Coffee or Thai Iced Coffee?

Ultimately, both are unique and delicious in their own way, so you should definitely give both a try. Thai iced coffee tends to be milkier, sweeter, and milder as it uses light-medium roast coffee beans. While Vietnamese iced coffee,  is stronger as it uses dark-roast robusta coffee. So, we’ll let you decide which of the two is better! 

If you’d like to buy Vietnamese coffee online, check out our range of ready-to-drink cà phê sữa đá, which come in five ngon (yummy) flavors. Our SANG Traditional and SANG with Oatmilk, are canned dairy and non-dairy authentic Vietnamese iced coffees that taste like they’re fresh off the streets of Saigon! 

If you're looking for something stronger, try SANG Straight Black with Vanilla, a bold and refreshing drink with a subtle sweetness. But if you want something comforting yet exciting, try our Saigon Cinnamon Latte, as well as an oat milk alternative. These lattes are the cooler cousin Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

All our coffees combine the very best of tradition, flavor, and convenience, order a case today and take a sip of Vietnam.