I know it seems crazy to talk about iced coffee when we’re about to have another cold front blow through. But this isn’t just any iced coffee, it’s authentic Vietnamese iced coffee – it’s strong but sweet and creamy at the same time. I’m willing to don an extra sweater and turn up the heat to enjoy it. Besides, I really needed it this week for all kinds of reasons –
1. I am hardly cooking right now. Several projects that had been in the planning stages for the last few weeks all kicked into high gear this week which meant I had very little energy left for shopping, recipe research, and cooking.
2. For Christmas last year, I gave several friends a gift bag with some Vietnamese coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and the traditional Vietnamese single-cup coffee filter (also called a Phin filter). However, I failed to include a recipe with the gift. Oops. So, here’s the recipe, dear friends, albeit a couple of months overdue.
3. Brewing this coffee is relaxing which I needed (see #1).
There is something very calming about waiting for the coffee to slowly drip through the filter when I brew Vietnamese coffee the traditional way. There is no rushing the process. I am forced to slow down, take a deep breath, and just let it happen at its own pace.
In theory, you can use any dark-roast coffee for this recipe but I strongly recommend going to the trouble of getting some authentic Vietnamese coffee. I order my coffee and the special filters on-line and it is totally worth it. I find most dark roast coffees to have a bitter after taste but not the Vietnamese coffee – it’s very smooth with just a hint of chocolate aroma.
And, if you really want to treat yourself – go for that extra bit of sweetened condensed milk. To quote my daughter, “it’s magical”.
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or more to taste)
- 2 slightly rounded tablespoons Vietnamese dark-roast ground coffee (I use Trung Nguyen Gourmet Blend)
- Heat water until it just barely begins to boil.
- While water is heating, put sweetened condensed milk in a heatproof (12-14 ounce) glass. Remove screen insert from the Phin filter and add coffee. Tap the filter slightly to evenly spread out the coffee grounds. Place screen insert on top of coffee and place filter over the glass.
- When water is ready, pour a splash (about 1-2 tablespoons) of the hot water into filter to allow coffee grounds to expand and bloom. When coffee begins to drip through, add remaining water. Depending on the size of your filter you may need to wait for some of the coffee to drip out before adding more water. Place lid on filter and let coffee drip into glass. Once almost all of the water is drained and coffee has stopped dripping (4-7 minutes), remove the filter and stir until sweetened condensed milk is evenly mixed into the coffee. Add ice, stir again, and serve. Add extra sweetened condensed milk, if desired.