Coffee Cultures Around the World: Vietnam
In Vietnam, coffee is sometimes enjoyed with condensed milk.
Drinking coffee plays a significant part of life in Vietnam. It is considered a necessary part of daily life as it is also a social activity. Coffee is enjoyed everywhere from street vendors to neighbourhood cafes, from as early as 4am till 10pm at night.
History suggests that coffee was first introduced in Vietnam by the French in the 1850s. Currently, Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee producer, behind only Brazil.
Vietnamese coffee is often brewed in a phin, a traditional metal filter that consists of a round perforated plate that fits over a coffee cup; a brewing chamber that sits on top of the plate, and a lid to keep the heat in. Using a phin takes several minutes to yield a full cup. The slow drop process is also part of Vietnamese coffee culture. The wait time offers a moment of pause and leisure.
How it is enjoyed
Cà Phê Sữa Đá (pronounced “kah-fey-suh-dah”) is one of the most popular coffee drinks in Vietnam. It is a specialty iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk. The sweetened condensed milk balances the strong flavours of Vietnamese coffee that are often dark-roasted and slightly bitter. In the past, condensed milk was used instead of fresh milk as condensed milk was easier to come by. It also lasts longer in Vietnam’s warm and humid weather.
In Vietnam, the Cà Phê Trứng or the Vietnamese egg coffee, is made by whipping raw egg yolks and condensed milk together! It was invented at a time when milk was in short supply. The egg coffee yields a light and sweet froth that floats atop the rich Vietnamese coffee brew.