You know you are in Vietnam when your nose fills up with the strong intoxicating aroma of coffee, and your sights fills with the trendy, retro, and traditional cafes on the sidewalks.
Coffee or Cà Phê, as they call it, is not just a drink, but a way of life in Vietnam. The country is the second largest producer of coffee, mostly “robusta” beans, which is twice as stronger than the globally popular arabica beans.
Enjoy it black or with the condensed milk, or sip in the innovative variants – with the egg or coconut milk or even fruits, and you get into the rich depth of Vietnamese coffee.
Here I am, writing about my favourite coffee, while sipping a delightful cup filtered through the traditional Phin !
What’s the Phin all about?
This is where all the magic happens. It is a 4 piece steel coffee filter which sits over your cup, and gives a strong brew, each drop dropping slowly from it. The moments spent waiting for your coffee to brew, in front of you, is what makes Vietnamese coffee a unique experience.
Have it black or add sweetened condensed milk to make it sweet – don’t worry the sweetness will not take away the flavour of the coffee as it is very strong – hot or cold, it is the perfect coffee that hits the right notes, and a must try for all coffee lovers.
Classic Vietnamese Coffees: A Must Try
Cà Phê Den, Vietnamese Black Coffee:
It is the traditional black coffee that pours into your cup, brewed through the phin. You want it sweet, then go for Ca Phe Den Nong – hot black and sweet. You like your black coffee cold? Just ask for Ca Phe Den Da – black, iced and sweet.
Don’t want it sweet? Just say “Khong Duong” at the end.
Cà Phê Sua Da:
The classic Vietnamese Cold Coffee! It is the perfect combination of strong black coffee, sweetened condensed milk and ice. You have the condensed milk at the bottom, pour (or brew through Phin) black coffee over it, mix it well, take glass with ice cubes, slowly pour the coffee over the ice, stir, and you have the best, sweet cold coffee! The sweetness of the condensed milk just adds to the strong rich flavour of the coffee and you have the perfect refreshing drink for a hot, sultry day!
Cà Phê Trung:
Egg + Coffee? Yes! And that’s a must-try drink in Hanoi !
When I heard about it, I was thinking the same as you are now. Once I had a sip of it, I tell you – it was a match made in heaven! It’s a creamy, frothy mix of egg yolk, with sugar or honey with a bit of vanilla essence, over hot dark coffee, while the cup is placed over hot water to keep the temperature. It’s a perfect after-meal dessert or to have it in a cold winter evening. Ca Phe Trung or Vietnamese Egg Coffee – it’s quite delicious and a piece of art.
Cà Phê Dua:
Vietnamese are very innovative in coffee making and this exclusive style of coffee is a favourite of mine. Whether it’s icy cold or piping hot, you will just love this Vietnamese speciality. Take equal quantities of sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk in a cup, pour Vietnamese black coffee over it, mix it well (if you like it cold, take a glass half filled with ice and pour the coffee mix over it) and thus you get an aromatic, flavoursome, rich Ca Phe Dua – the Vietnamese Coconut Coffee. It is as refreshing as the beauty of Vietnam!
Cà Phê Sữa Chua:
You drink coffee and eat yoghurt. Right? Now blend the two, add in sweetened condensed milk and ice, and behold – you have a mouth-watering drink. This delicious concoction of sour, bitter and sweet makes Cà Phê Sữa Chua – Vietnamese Yoghurt Coffee – a nutritious and energetic drink.
Cool cafes to sip the best coffee:
Here’s a list of coolest cafes you should try in Vietnam.
Café Giang cafegiang.vn
The Note Coffee thenotecoffee.com
Cong Caphe congcaphe.com/
The Railway Hanoi (Choo Choo Café) www.therailwayhanoi.com
Loading T Café
Hanoi House Café https://www.facebook.com/thehanoihouse/
Café Duy Tri https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-Duy-Tri
Hidden Gem Café and Pub
Tranquil Books and Coffee www.tranquilbookscoffee.com
The Workshop Coffee #theworkshopcoffee
L’Usine Cafe https://lusinespace.com/
La Viet Coffee laviet.coffee/en/
Trung Nguyen Legend Café trungnguyenlegend.com
Highland Coffee www.highlandscoffee.com.vn
And The Café Apartment at 42 Nguyen Hue, Saigon.