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Cà phê đá – Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

Forget your sugary energy drinks and double ristrettos. Get your pick-me-up from this East Asian rocket fuel and share it with your friends. Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as cà phê đá, literally ‘ice coffee’, is a traditional Vietnamese coffee drink.

Cà phê đá is made with finely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee. It is individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice.

French colonists introduced coffee into Vietnam in the late 19th century. The limited availability of fresh milk led to the French and Vietnamese using sweetened condensed milk. The highlands of central Vietnam proved to be ideal for growing coffee and the country quickly became a strong exporter of coffee with many plantations. Vietnamese coffee has spread to many other countries in East Asia and is readily available in Thailand and Cambodia.

• A dark roast coffee *
• Ice
• Condensed Milk
• Water

* Ideally a Vietnamese brand such as Trung Nguyen, which can be bought online.

• Kettle
• Coffee ‘Phin’ –
a cup-top coffee filter
• A Glass
• Dessert spoon (dsp)


• Heat your water in the kettle. Ideally when making coffee your water should not be boiling so either
let your kettle stand for a minute or two after boiling or stop it before it gets there, you’re aiming for about 90 degrees.


• Add 2–4 dsp spoons of condensed milk to your glass.


• Add 2 dsp of coffee to your coffee phin. Place your phin on the top of your glass, then pour a very small amount of water on the coffee. Leave for 10–15 seconds, then pour 120–150ml of water into the phin. If you don’t have a Phin or want to make larger quantities at a time, make some very strong coffee using a cafetiere, coffee filter or espresso machine.


• Stir well then add the ice. Stir again. When the coffee is cold enjoy!


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