Vietnamese Coffee vs Turkish Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Turkish coffee in a cup

One of the most special things about coffee is the way it connects people. Coffee really is a global beverage and it has the ability to bridge different cultures and continents. From Thailand and Vietnam to France and Italy, countries across the world have thriving coffee cultures, each unique and each with a specialty coffee of its own. 

Today, we’re looking at the differences between Vietnamese coffee and Turkish coffee, what sets them apart from each other, their unique flavors, and how you can experience these traditional coffees at home.

What is Vietnamese Coffee and Turkish Coffee?

Aromatic, flavorful, and powerful, both Vietnamese coffee and Turkish coffee have this in common, which is why they’re two of the most popular and beloved coffee types around the world. 

Generally, when people talk about Vietnamese coffee, they’re referring to Vietnamese iced coffee (cà phê sữa đá). This is a deliciously decadent, and surprisingly strong, drink that combines potent robusta coffee with sweetened condensed milk. It’s a staple in Viet houses and it’s an integral part of the country’s vibrant culinary culture. 

Turkish coffee, on the other hand, is a concentrated black coffee that is served steaming hot and infused with sugar and spices such as cardamon, for an extra depth of flavor. This specialty coffee is also ingrained in the country’s culture, and you can enjoy it as you travel through Turkey.

What’s the Difference Between Vietnamese and Turkish Coffee

If you’re trying to figure out which is better between Vietnamese coffee and Turkish coffee, you’re going to be here for a while. Each coffee is so distinct that it’s almost pointless trying to compare the two. However, there are a few key differences that make each one unique.

Vietnamese phin coffee filter
Picture courtesy of Mikhail Nilov via Pexels​​
Turkish coffee brewing pot
Picture courtesy of Dex Ezekiel via Unsplash​​

1. The Preparation Method

The main difference between Vietnamese and Turkish coffee lies in the way they’re prepared. Vietnamese coffee is made using a phin, a metal filter that sits on top of a cup and is filled with finely ground coffee. Boiling water is poured over the coffee grounds, which then drips through the filter into the cup below. This slow brewing method allows for a full-bodied and rich flavor, as well as a smooth and creamy texture.

Turkish coffee is made using a cezve, a small copper or brass pot with a long handle. Finely ground coffee and sugar are added to the pot along with cold water, and then the mixture is heated over low heat until it boils. This method creates a frothy and creamy coffee with a strong and intense flavor.

2. The Flavor

The flavor profile of Vietnamese and Turkish coffee is also quite different. Vietnamese coffee has a strong, rich, and bold flavor that is characterized by notes of chocolate and caramel, as well as a slight bitterness. If you’re wondering why Vietnamese coffee is so strong, well, that’s all thanks to the mighty robusta coffee bean. These beans are stronger and more full-bodied than arabica beans, which is what’s used when preparing Turkish coffee. Read our guide to find out more about the differences between robusta and arabica beans.

Turkish coffee, on the other hand, is known for its subtly sweet flavor, with notes of spices, chocolate, and nuttiness. It is often brewed with sugar, but the sweetness can be adjusted to individual preferences. The creamy foam that forms on top of the coffee is an integral part of the flavor and texture of Turkish coffee.

Red coffee beans
Picture courtesy of Michael Burrows via Pexels​​

3. The Culture

Finally, both coffees have a strong cultural significance in their respective countries. Turkish coffee has a rich history that dates back centuries. It’s an important part of the culture and social life in Turkey and is often enjoyed during meals, gatherings, and special events.

Vietnamese coffee is also a big part of daily life in Vietnam, and it’s often enjoyed in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up. It’s also become a very popular drink in coffee shops all over the world, but you can also snag a case of SANG ready-to-drink Vietnamese iced coffee and just crack open the tradition. 

So, what’s better, Turkish coffee or Vietnamese coffee? Well, we’ll leave that up to you.