blueskies145 Senior Member Joined: 19 Jan 2013 Posts: 1 Location: arroyo grande, ça Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: barista athena Grinder: blade Vac Pot: moka pot Drip: french press
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 8:43am Subject: Re: Vietnamese Iced Coffee
I did not realize what this was when I bought it in a thrift store recently! I thought it was a coffee maker for camping or on-the-go! Thanks for this article! I purchased some Thai Iced Coffee at a donut place a year ago and thought it was great. I tried to replicate it, but without much success. Now with your recipe, I can make it myself! Thank you for the great info!
brevel_monkey Senior Member Joined: 29 Jul 2012 Posts: 1 Location: Australia Expertise: Pro Barista
Posted Sat Mar 23, 2013, 3:24am Subject: Re: Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Good guide, but as someone who lived in VN for a long time, I can tell you that this article missed a few tricks. This guide constructs the coffee similar to how it is constructed in the 'upmarket' coffee vendors in Vietnam, such as Highlands Coffee. But I (and most people in Vietnam!) think its much better made how it is made by the street vendors.
Firstly, the ice should be crushed, not whole cubes. This allows more ice per glass, a cà phê sua dá is normally a small amount of coffee along with enough ice so that it fills a tall glass. This stops the ice from melting into the coffee, otherwise you get coffee water! It also keeps it icy cold for a longer time. You can easily crush ice by putting it in a sandwich bag and bashing it with a heavy frying pan, or giving it 3-5 seconds in a good quality blender (it might damage a cheaper blender).
Secondly, it's normal to brew the coffee in advance, rather than brew then ice straight away. Most vendors keep it in a plastic bottle and only use it when its gone cold. Again, this stops the ice from melting. When you add ice to hot coffee, you get cool, coffee flavored water. If you start with cold coffee, you get an ice cold, intense drink!
So, I would reccomend pre-brewing enough coffee for a few days and storing it in the fridge. To construct the drink, they normally put condensed milk in the bottom of a tall glass or cup, then add about shot of coffee and swirl it around (without stirring, so a lot of it remains stuck to the bottom). Then they fill the glass with ice to the brim before finally adding a second shot of coffee on top. It should create a very strong, intense coffee, like a bittersweet espresso.
Thirdly, it is often best drank through a straw, because of the crushed ice (and the potential effects of condensed milk and coffee on your pearly white teeth!), although this isn't necessary.
Finally, you have been for too harsh on Vietnamese coffee beans, which are indeed intense but no where near unpleasant. Trung Nguyen is the No.1 brand of coffee in Vietnam and they sell their 'S' blend coffee (the standard robusta bean) internationally at reasonable prices on their website or at a lot of Asian stores. If you make this with other coffee beans, it's going to be too sweet and the condensed milk is going to dominate, even if you only use a little. I would never make a sua dá without Vietnamese beans, ever!
KLIX Senior Member Joined: 31 Aug 2012 Posts: 22 Location: Basingstoke, UK Expertise: Professional
Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 8:29am Subject: Re: Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Headcrowny I have done something very similar before... It definitely pays to follow a real recipe, I'd say. The Vietnamese Iced Coffee how-to video is great, my refrigerator crushes ice for me which makes these even easier to prepare.
First, let me say that I love Vietnamese iced coffee - I usually drink one every day after my lunch. I've made it almost every way you can imagine: phin filter, aeropress, gourmet beans, Vietnamese beans, etc.
Brewing: By far, my favorite way to brew this style coffee is with the aeropress. Phin filter works just fine, but I usually get a better flavor from the aeropress.
Beans: The beans are probably a little more subjective. Honestly, I don't prefer one type of bean over the other. Different beans add a different flavor - not better or worse, just different. I often switch it up. There's no doubt that gourmet beans make a very smooth a great tasting Vietnamese Iced Coffee. As long as you use a darker roast, it shouldn't be too sweet. However, it will be smoother than if you use Vietnamese beans. Some might think this is more pleasing. Regardless, the end product is wonderfully rich and satisfying.
Vietnamese beans have a very distinct and unique aroma and flavor. There's no mistaking it. This comes from the way the Vietnamese roast their beans. In Vietnam, the green beans are pre-soaked in water prior to roasting. Then, during roasting, they are slow rolled in what is generally called "butter oil." Additionally, many roasters will often add a small amount of sugar during the roasting process. This creates a thin shell around the roasted beans called "brickle." This is why whole Vietnamese beans have a shiny coating. It's also what gives Vietnamese beans their distinctive taste and smell. As a result of all of this, Vietnamese coffee has a slight caramel corn flavor. That's the best way I can describe it, anyway. It's not overwhelming - to the contrary, it's subtle and quite pleasant. So when you make a Vietnamese iced coffee with Vietnamese beans, you get a more distinct flavor due to the roasting process. This is the "real thing," and is the flavor that experienced VIC drinkers will expect.
The article is right that chicory should never be used. You might find it used in some Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S., but in Vietnam it is never made with chicory. Iced coffee with chicory, sugar, and milk is a *New Orleans Iced Coffee*, not a Vietnamese Iced Coffee.
I'll also add that if you're interested in using whole Vietnamese beans, or buying a phin filter, they can be purchased for a reasonable price from www.vietnamese-coffee.com. I usually buy Trung Nguyen Creative One. As the website says, it's great for iced drinks.
Thank you so much for your interesting post. I am Vietnamese girl and I love Ca phe sua da too. I wish Vietnamese coffee could travel around the world as much as possible. I am grateful of what you have done for this post. The popular image you can see every early morning in Vietnam is men with newspapers sitting in coffee-shops from the pavements to luxury places. I love Vietnamese coffee culture. I wish to have opportunities to enjoy coffee cultures in other countries. I bet they are interesting too.
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