How to Make Vietnamese Milk Coffee

· Silky. Bold. Deadlyyyy. ·

August 19, 2017 0 Comments

Two ingredients make a delicious and potent coffee drink.

Vietnam, historically a tea-drinking country, was introduced to coffee under French colonization. This marriage of the two cultures bore a few drinks with some unique twists to the traditional western ways of making coffee. One particularly popular drink is cà phê sữa which can be hot (nóng) or iced (đá).

Instead of hot fresh milk which the French use in café au lait, the Vietnamese use sweetened condensed milk in their cà phê sữa. The Vietnamese often find amazing alternative ingredients to replace those which the country lacked in…and for milk coffee, it was just the case! My parents, who used to roast coffee beans for a living in Saigon, loved to drink their coffee right from the milk can, as pictured, when it was down to its last drops. NO FOOD GOES TO WASTE!!!

The Vietnamese press, or “phin”, is a contraption comprising of three parts. It was inspired by the French press. There’s a “pressing” component which compacts coffee grounds tightly and a “dripping” component where coffee seeps from slowly. The 4 ounce filter is most commonly used. Each person gets a dedicated filter!

How to Make Ca Phe Sua

How to Make Ca Phe Sua

The compactness and slow dripping allows the coffee to come out as a concentrate. I also find that using condensed milk prevents any dilution that regular milk might cause so that you get some strong, silky, and potent cà phê!

I don’t believe that the origin of the coffee is as important as the method of brewing and the addition of condensed milk. My dad actually prefers Kirkland Colombian Supremo Medium Roast as well as a half and half mix of Signature’s Kirkland Starbucks Medium Roast and San Francisco Bay French (Dark) Roast. No need for a Vietnamese brand!

This coffee may get you shook. Enjoy it and drink slowly! 😉


How to Make Vietnamese Milk Coffee
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How to Make Vietnamese Milk Coffee

How to Make Ca Phe Sua



  1. Put condensed milk into a small glass
  2. Pack coffee into the Vietnamese filter chamber
  3. Push the insert onto the coffee with a little pressure (or twist it in) so that the coffee is tight
  4. Pour several drops of boiling water into the chamber to expand the coffee ground
  5. After several seconds pour 4 ounces of hot water into the chamber and let it drip to completion (some people remove the filter before total completion to avoid acidic notes)
  6. Stir well. You may add a bit more water if you would like to dilute it a bit.
  1. To drink it iced, add ice!

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Ly is a software engineer by day. By night she dreams of traveling the world, eating good food, and drinking boba.