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home > recipes > beverages > vietnamese iced coffee
Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese style iced coffee) 2 to 4 tablespoons finely ground dark roast coffee (preferably with chicory) 2 to 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!) Boiling water Vietnamese coffee press [see notes] Ice cubes Place ground coffee in Vietnamese coffee press and screw lid down on the grounds. Put the sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a coffee cup and set the coffee maker on the rim. Pour boiling water over the screw lid of the press; adjust the tension on the screw lid just till bubbles appear through the water, and the coffee drips slowly out the bottom of the press. When all water has dripped through, stir the milk and coffee together. You can drink them like this, just warm, as ca phe sua neng, but I prefer it over ice, as ca phe sua da. To serve it that way, pour the milk-coffee mixture over ice, stir, and drink as slowly as you can manage. I always gulp mine too fast. :-) Notes A Vietnamese coffee press looks like a stainless steel top hat. There's a "brim" that rests on the coffee cup; in the middle of that is a cylinder with tiny perforations in the bottom. Above that rises a threaded rod, to which you screw the top of the press, which is a disc with similar tiny perforations. Water trickles through these, extracts flavour from the coffee, and then trickles through the bottom perforations. It is excruciatingly slow. Loosening the top disc speeds the process, but also weakens the resulting coffee and adds sediment to the brew. If you can't find a Vietnamese coffee press, regular-strength espresso is an adequate substitute, particularly if made with French-roast beans or with a dark coffee with chicory. I've seen the commonly available Medaglia d'Oro brand coffee cans in Vietnamese restaurants, and it works, though you'll lose some of the subtle bitterness that the chicory offers. I think Luzianne brand coffee comes with chicory and is usable in Vietnamese coffee, though at home I generally get French roast from my normal coffee provider. Of these two coffees, Vietnamese coffee should taste more or less like melted Haagen-Dasz coffee ice cream, while Thai iced coffee has a more fragrant and lighter flavour from the cardamom and half-and-half rather than the condensed milk. Both are exquisite, and not difficult to make once you've got the equipment. As a final tip, I often use my old-fashioned on-the-stove espresso maker (the one shaped like an hourglass, where you put water in the bottom, coffee in the middle, and as it boils the coffee comes out in the top) for Thai iced coffee. The simplest way is merely to put the cardamom and sugar right in with the coffee, so that what comes out the top is ready to pour over ice and add half and half. It makes a delicious and very passable version of restaurant-style Thai iced coffee.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee


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(posted May 26, 2006)

Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese style iced
coffee)

2 to 4 tablespoons finely ground dark
roast coffee (preferably with chicory)
2 to 4 tablespoons
sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!)
Boiling water
Vietnamese
coffee press [see notes]
Ice cubes

Place ground
coffee in Vietnamese coffee press and screw lid down on the grounds. Put the sweetened
condensed
milk in the bottom of a coffee cup and set the coffee maker on the rim. Pour boiling water over the screw lid of the press; adjust the tension on the screw lid just till bubbles appear through the water, and the coffee drips slowly out the bottom of the press.

When all water has dripped through, stir the
milk and coffee together. You can drink them like this, just warm, as ca phe sua neng, but I prefer it over ice, as ca phe sua da. To serve it that way, pour the milk-coffee mixture over ice, stir, and drink as slowly as you can manage. I always gulp mine too fast. :-)

Notes

A Vietnamese
coffee press looks like a stainless steel top hat. There's a "brim" that rests on the coffee cup; in the middle of that is a cylinder with tiny perforations in the bottom. Above that rises a threaded rod, to which you screw the top of the press, which is a disc with similar tiny perforations. Water trickles through these, extracts flavour from the coffee, and then trickles through the bottom perforations. It is excruciatingly slow. Loosening the top disc speeds the process, but also weakens the resulting coffee and adds
sediment to the brew.

If you can't find a Vietnamese
coffee press, regular-strength espresso is an adequate substitute, particularly if made with French-roast beans or with a dark coffee with chicory. I've seen the commonly available Medaglia d'Oro brand coffee cans in Vietnamese restaurants, and it works, though you'll lose some of the subtle bitterness that the chicory offers. I think Luzianne brand coffee comes with chicory and is usable in Vietnamese coffee, though at home I generally get French roast from my normal coffee provider.

Of these two coffees, Vietnamese
coffee should taste more or less like melted Haagen-Dasz coffee
ice cream, while Thai iced coffee has a more fragrant and lighter flavour from the cardamom and half-and-half rather than the condensed milk. Both are exquisite, and not difficult to make once you've got the equipment.

As a final tip, I often use my
old-fashioned on-the-stove espresso maker (the one shaped like an hourglass, where you put water in the bottom, coffee in the middle, and as it boils the coffee comes out in the top) for Thai iced coffee. The simplest way is merely to put the cardamom and sugar right in with the coffee, so that what comes out the top is ready to pour over ice and add half and half. It makes a delicious and very passable version of restaurant-style Thai iced coffee.


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