If you want to go directly to the Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe, click here. Our story here was from our 2008 trip to see family in Hanoi and Đà Nang. 

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe @whiteonrice

Vietnamese Coffee

It was another warm, humid summer night in Đà Nang, and I was cruising on the back of a scooter behind Quang, one of Diane’s cousins.  He’s the cousin I consider the cool, savvy intellectual.   He turned his head and asked, “So, do you like beer?”  I don’t think there was a moment the whole time we were in Việt-nam when a beer didn’t sound good, but I knew Quang was asking more than a simple question.  It had the depth of the lyrics Louis Armstrong so beautifully sang…”I see friends shaking hands, sayin’ ‘How do you do.”  They really sayin’, “I love you.'”

I answered, “I like coffee.”  He turned his head a little more to catch my eye, smiled, and replied, “Me too.”

Vietnamese Coffee or Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe both Hot and Cold. Delicious and sweet! | @whiteonrice

Enjoying Cà Phê Sữa Đá & Chinese checkers (Cờ tướng) in Đà Nang, Việt-Nam

Iced or Hot Coffee in Viet-Nam?

One of my biggest concerns going to Việt-nam was whether or not to brave the street ice and have a cà phê sữa đá (Việtnamese iced coffee.)  The first few days in Hanọi, it was only cà phê sữa nóng (Việtnamese hot coffee) we dared drink.  That was hardly a sacrifice since they are one of our preferred morning coffees, outside of a perfectly, velvety cappuccino. But for afternoons, all I could do was to gaze longingly at the refreshing Vietnamese iced coffees, and weigh the odds of proper digestion. By day three, I could wait no longer. By now we had braved cooked foods straight off of the street, ate a couple small bowls of phở out of a locals-only place, and had consumed iced water at the hotel. With no signs of ill effects, we were feeling confident.

Streets of Vietnam from WhiteOnRiceCouple.com

Việt-Nam nights come alive

We hit the streets that night, prowling for answers to our cravings. Diane had been salivating over the street corn vendors goods every time we saw her. We sought her out and ordered up some sauteed corn with chili and dried shrimp.  It felt like a drug transaction as we slipped her the money while the police were prowling just across the street.  We scampered away with our goods, and hunted down a non-touristy cafe to grab a table and order up “hai ly cà phê sữa đá” (2 vietnamese iced coffee!).  With cravings in hand, we settled into the warm sauna of Hanọi’s night air and watched the night scene unfold before us.  We looked at each other and smiled, “We’re in Việt-nam!”.

Different Types of Vietnamese Coffee:

  • Cà Phê Sữa Đá (literally – Coffee Milk Ice)  A base of sweetened condensed milk, over which about 2 oz of potent coffee is brewed using a individual serving size filter.  The coffee itself is syrupy and strong, similar to an espresso.  Add ice and enjoy.  The combination of the caramel sweetness of the milk, the potent brew of the coffee, and the cool refreshing addition of the ice is heavenly.
  • Cà Phê Sữa Nóng (Coffee Milk Hot) Same concept as above, except omit the ice and in Việtnam they often warm the whole glass in a cup of hot water.  Again, the taste is heavenly, especially when enjoyed over a casual morning taken in small sips at a time.
  • Cà Phê Đen (Coffee Black) Just the coffee this time, no sweetened condensed milk.  Not for the weak.
  • Cà Phê Đen Đá (Coffee Black Ice)  I think you can figure this one out.

Vietnamese Coffee or Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe both Hot and Cold. Delicious and sweet! | @whiteonrice

Stir coffee & condensed milk

Vietnamese Coffee or Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe both Hot and Cold. Delicious and sweet! | @whiteonrice

Cà Phê Sữa Đá- pour over ice. At many street side coffee stalls that we visited, our Cà Phê Sữa Nóng (hot Việt coffee) was served in a hot water bath.


Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee Traditional Style:

We tend to be a bit obsessive over coffee. Here’s some of our favorites for traditional Vietnamese Iced Coffee:

Single Cup Vietnamese Coffee Maker – Love the solid construction of this filter.  Screw down internal filter. Heavier duty stainless steel than most filters.
Vietnamese Coffee Filter (multiple size options) – Another good filter. Screw down internal filter. Multiple sizes available.
Fellow Pour Over Kettle – Stylish pour over kettle. Three color options, Matte Black, Copper, and Polished Stainless. Built in thermometer. Love this kettle!

Cafe du Monde Coffee – You’ll often see Vietnamese banh mi and coffee shops everywhere making their coffee with Cafe du Monde.
Trung Nguyen Premium Coffee – Another popular coffee for shops to use. Ground specifically for Vietnamese coffee filters. Quite and enjoyable cup.  
Copper Cow Coffee Single-Use Portable Vietnamese Coffee Kit – An all in one kit for Vietnamese Coffee. Filter, Coffee, Sweetened Condensed milk. Awesome for on the go.


Previous Viet-Nam posts you might enjoy reading and viewing:

Heading to Viet-Nam & Twitters

Return from Viet-Nam, fresh perspectives

An American in the family

Pineapple peddler in Hanoi

When Oranges are Green

The Face – elderly woman in Hoi An