Having both parents born and raised in Vietnam, Vietnamese food and drinks were very much present all throughout my life. To this day, many Vietnamese dishes and drinks are my all-time favorite foods and go-tos when deciding what to eat. One particular Vietnamese drink that has left its mark on me is Vietnamese coffee. From being a coffee-hater to now a cà phê sữa đá lover, Vietnamese coffee has changed the way I see coffee and I hope it can change yours too!
Reasons why you should be drinking Vietnamese coffee over regular coffee:
It tastes better
Not only is it on the sweeter spectrum of coffee flavors, but it is also still on the stronger side. What makes it so naturally strong (and also turns some coffee drinkers away) is the coffee bean used in Vietnamese coffee. The Robusta bean is much more caffeinated compared to typical coffee beans used here in the U.S. Vietnamese coffee tastes very different from the average cup of joe also because of the way it is brewed. It’s a nice, long process since it’s drip coffee. I remember always waking up in the morning seeing my dad use a small drip filter to make his coffee.
No refrigeration needed
When making Vietnamese coffee, ones uses sweetened condensed milk instead of creamers, milks or sugars. The thick condensed milk may feel a little overpowering, but that’s just how the coffee is. In my opinion, the sweetness of the condensed milk works perfectly to balance out the richness from the coffee bean. Another good thing is that you don’t need to leave the condensed milk in the refrigerator. In my family, we would transfer the coffee from an opened can into a jar or container with a lid to save it for later. This way you don’t need to keep your milk/creamers in check and won’t have to worry about expiration dates since condensed milk has a longer shelf life.
There is no wrong way to drink it
No need to worry about the number of cups of sugar, half-and-half or milk, etc. Drinking Vietnamese coffee hot or cold, the taste will still be amazing. The condensed milk can be added to taste if you’re making it at home. If you’re out and about and decided to order Vietnamese coffee, it is usually already made, so you don’t need to tell them how much condensed milk to add into your coffee because every tea spot or restaurant has already crafted it to perfection. In the streets of Vietnam, if you don’t specify, you’ll get the typical Vietnamese coffee; it’s rare for people to ask for no condensed milk so if you ask, you might get some weird looks. My favorite version is called cà phê sữa đá in Vietnamese, which consists of iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk.
Not your basic add-ins
Even though adding condensed milk is very popular and it is usually what’s associated with Vietnamese coffee at first there are also other pairings with this coffee. Eggs, cheese, butter and yogurts can be seen in coffee in Vietnam. I cannot vouch for the taste for these styles since I have never tasted it, but my parents used to enjoy these styles back when they were in Vietnam.
Try something new
I never used to drink coffee because of its bitter taste, but my dad made me his version of Vietnamese coffee one morning, and I started to fall into the coffee-drinking lifestyle. I would say if you have never tried it before to just give it a taste because you never know if you’ll like it or not!