This is an update of a 2014 article.
Mai Huong and Thuy Duong the duo behind the popular blog VietFoodFriends, aim to introduce Vietnamese cuisine and culture to the Czech Republic, or in their own words, “to become friends through food.” I recently met up with them to learn how to make the perfect Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Ca phe sua da) and where you can go to enjoy a good iced (or hot) Vietnamese coffee in Prague.
Vietnamese coffee uses condensed milk (“It’s sweet and gives the coffee a creamy taste and texture,” says Thuy) and a Phin filter, something similar to a French press, but more compact.
Phin filters run about 50-80 CZK, depending on their size and can be bought at Sapa or on-line through the website of Trung Nguyen, the only Vietnamese coffee brand distributed in the Czech Republic.
In Vietnam, the second-largest exporter of coffee beans, simultaneously watching your ca phe (sounds like café) drip while watching the world go by is an important morning ritual.
- 7g ground Vietnamese coffee
- Tall glass, filled with ice
- Shot glass of condensed milk
1. Add about 7 grams of ground coffee to the Phin filter cup. The grounds should be more coarsely ground than a finer espresso ground. Tap the cup gently to settle them. Set aside a tall glass full of ice and a shot glass of condensed milk. Note: Never pour the condensed milk into the glass of ice before the coffee, as you won’t be able to mix it!
2. Place the filter press inside the filter cup and twist to tighten, but not too much, to flatten the grounds.
3. Place the Phin filter on top of a rocks glass, with the holding tray underneath; it’s full of tiny holes that allow the coffee to filter through. Pour a tiny amount of hot water (not boiling) inside the filter to moisten and expand the grounds. Wait 20 seconds. Don’t skip this step or the water will drip too fast.
4. Fill the filter cup with hot water and put the cap or lid on top to hold in the heat. Now sit back and enjoy watching the coffee filter, drop by drop. This should take about 10 minutes. The slower the better is the key to a good strong Vietnamese coffee.
5. Remove the filter from the glass, place the cap underneath the filter to prevent coffee drips onto the table. Pour the shot of condensed milk into the coffee and stir to mix. Add the coffee to the tall glass of ice. Enjoy!
TIP: The coffee can also be served black (without the condensed milk) in both its hot and iced forms. Though coffees with condensed milk are especially tasty with nuts, chocolate, or whipped cream garnish.
Where to go for Vietnamese iced coffee in Prague? VietFoodFriends suggest Sapa, once you are there try either BB Café or Hue Xua bistro.
Have you mastered this summer coffee drink and where do you enjoy it in Prague?