Vietnamese Iced Coffee Introduction

Vietnamese-style iced coffee is a form of drip brew. In this form, hot water is allowed to drip though a metal mesh into a cup, and the resulting strong brew is poured into a glass containing sweetened condensed milk which may contain ice. Due to the high volume of coffee grounds required to make strong coffee in this fashion, the brewing process is quite slow. It is also highly popular in Cambodia and Laos.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

2 to 3 teaspoons sweetened condensed milk
2 to 3 teaspoons medium-fine ground French roast coffee
Boiling water, as needed
Ice cubes, as needed

Equipment: Single-cup Vietnamese-style coffee filter  --or--

Coffee filter-- letting it hang down inside a cup

Put the condensed milk into a coffee cup. Place the filter on top of the cup. Unscrew the filter, add the coffee grounds, and screw the filter back on. Pour in enough boiling water to fill the filter. Close the lid and let the coffee slowly drip into the cup. Remove the filter and stir the coffee and milk together. Pour the coffee mixture into a glass of ice and stir to chill. Serve. (will also work if you just use a coffee filter and let it hand down inside a cup).

A Vietnamese coffee press looks like a stainless steel top hat. There's a "brim" that rests on the coffee cup; in the middle of that is a cylinder with tiny perforations in the bottom. Above that rises a threaded rod, to which you screw the top of the press, which is a disc with similar tiny perforations. Water trickles through these, extracts flavor from the coffee, and then trickles through the bottom perforations. It is excruciatingly slow. Loosening the top disc speeds the process, but also weakens the resulting coffee and adds sediment to the brew.

If you can't find a Vietnamese coffee press, regular-strength espresso is an adequate substitute, particularly if made with French-roast beans or with a dark coffee with chicory. The best brand to use is Cafe du Mont.