Vietnamese coffee, also known as Ca Phe (pronounced Cah-Fay), is quickly becoming a popular exotic coffee to order in many Pho establishments, and people have become so enchanted with the coffee that they are making the drink at home. Vietnamese drip coffee is incredibly strong, bold and rich due the manner in which it is brewed, which is directly into the glass. If you are interested in making a great cup of Vietnamese coffee at home, follow these directions to produce the Ca Phe.
Finding a Coffee Substitute: Vietnamese coffee is somewhat hard to find in the United States, so many people have found that a suitable substitute for Vietnamese coffee is coffee with a rich, full body that has been medium-to-dark-roasted, combined with chicory, which is a root that is dried and ground and sometimes added to coffee.
- Vietnamese Coffee
- Condensed Milk
Step One: Grind the Coffee
Most Vietnamese coffee drinkers will agree that the best grind for use in a Vietnamese coffee filter is a coarser grind so that the grounds do not fall through the holes in the filter as easily. A good grind to use is what is typically referred to as French grind, so named for its use in French presses.
Step Two: Pour the Condensed Milk
First pour the condensed milk into the small glass. Pour about one-third of an inch of condensed milk into the glass, or one to three tablespoons, depending on how sweet you like your coffee. If you plan on making iced Vietnamese coffee, you can chill the condensed milk to cool the coffee as it comes in contact with the condensed milk. The milk will pour more slowly and be thicker when cold, but this is perfectly acceptable.
Step Three: Load the Coffee Filter
To do this, unscrew the top of the coffee filter and load about two to two and a half tablespoons of coffee into the filter and make sure it is spread evenly. Put the top of the filter back on and begin screwing it down until the grounds are packed well. Getting the grounds packed just right will take some trial and error, but they should be well-packed without being so tight that no water can get through properly.
Step Four: Fill the Filter with Water
Place the filter on top of the cup and pour in one cup of water that is just about to boil into the filter. This is when you can learn whether you need to tighten your filter screw. The process of brewing should take no less than five minutes but can take up to ten minutes, so it is important to make Vietnamese coffee with a lot of patience. If all the water has run through the filter before five minutes is up, you need to tighten the screw on the filter.
Step Five: Stir the Coffee and Milk (optional)
Some people like to leave the coffee and condensed milk separate so that the milk is a sweet treat after the bitter coffee drink. Most Vietnamese coffee drinkers prefer to stir the two liquids together so that the strong, bitter coffee is mixed with the sweet, mild milk.
Step Six: Pour the Coffee over Ice (optional)
For the iced version of Vietnamese coffee, fill an iced tea glass with ice and pour the milk and coffee mixture over the ice. This sweet drink is best enjoyed as an after-dinner coffee as the flavors are strong and unique and should not be mixed with the food you are eating during your meal.