The One True Path to Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is a serious addiction for many: dark, syrupy, cut with sweetened condensed milk. Hot or iced, it’s about as satisfying a gulp as you can imagine.

You don’t want pricey beans for Vietnamese coffee. You don’t want an expensive espresso machine. You don’t even want a French press, though that’s better in a pinch than an espresso machine. You want one of those cheap little metal filters that sit on top of the cup and let the coffee drip through. True Vietnamese coffee uses “Viet robusta that is roasted to death, and man, it is good. Steer clear from Viet places that use an espresso machine instead of the metal filters! For Cafe Sua Da, a $15,000 La Marzocco is CRAP next to a $1 filter!” says John Manzo.

The filters are inexpensive, flimsy metal things, with holes punched in the bottom. You scoop in some coffee, then screw in a second layer of punched metal, put the contraption on a cup, and pour hot water over it. “In theory, you add enough grounds so that you’re only able to screw the filter a few turns. Turn it tight but not too tight–yes, I know that was useless but, short of measuring it in terms of pressure, I can’t help further than that; it’s sort of the firm-but-not-hard theory. It should be about 2 spoonfuls. The entire process won’t take that long, no more than 10 minutes at most, but of course, coffee being such a social thing in Vietnamese culture, I’ve never actually had occasion to pay enough attention to know how long the dripping process takes. The amount it holds is perfect for a cup of coffee. The flavour ends up so intense that one is more than enough for most people …,” says Ali.

The most commonly used blend for Vietnamese coffee is Café du Monde. It comes in a bright yellow tin and contains coffee cut with chicory. Chances are pretty good that if you’ve ever had Vietnamese coffee at a restaurant, it was made with Café du Monde. lexnrena prefers Trung Nguyen brand, which is the standard high-end coffee in Vietnam—sort of like Vietnam’s Starbucks, as compared to the Folgers of Café du Monde.

Board Link: Vietnamese Coffee

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