How to Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Step-by-step Guide)

  • Updated Aug 26, 2019
  • Writen by Robert Smith
  • Table of Contents
How To Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Coffee is the drink that fuels most of us and without it, our mornings would always be boring and we would probably not be as productive at work as we would want.

But tasting new kinds of coffee is always more delightful and one of those coffee types you should try out if you have not already is the Vietnamese iced coffee.

Also referred to as the Café Sua Da, the Vietnamese iced coffee is one of the best coffee types you can take in the summer and any other hot day. And it is characterized by a stronger but still sweet flavor, and the addition of ice makes it super refreshing and will ensure it cools you down instantly.

If you are looking to expand your coffee horizon, you need to know how to make the delicious Vietnamese iced coffee, and the good news is that it is simpler than what you think, and here we explain how to make it at home.

What Is Vietnamese Iced Coffee?

Despite being quite common in Vietnam and neighboring countries with a coffee-drinking culture, Vietnamese iced coffee might still be an unfamiliar coffee type even for some highly experienced coffee connoisseurs.

Hence, before you get to make it, you need to first understand what it is all about. But, it is also not a very complicated beverage as it is simply coffee made on a Phin which is a traditional Vietnamese coffee maker and brewed over some ice and sweetened condensed milk.

The Phin is an inexpensive and low-tech coffee maker that usually features a simple stainless steel filter that is placed over a coffee mug when making coffee and it will work like a French press and drip filter combined into one appliance.

Both coffee and sweetened condensed milk were introduced to Vietnam by the French colonists back in the 18th century and because there was a shortage of milk in Vietnam people developed a habit of taking coffee with the condensed milk.

And over the years this became the most popular way of drinking coffee in the country with ice being a more recent addition to the brew.

What Makes Vietnamese Iced Coffee Unique

What Makes Vietnamese Iced Coffee Unique

Every coffee type always has that one or a few things that set it apart from others, and the Vietnamese iced coffee is no exception.

With this delicious coffee, three elements will give it an edge over other types and are also what make it one of the most sought after coffee beverages in the summer. The three things are Robusta coffee beans, sweetened condensed milk and of course the use of Phin coffee maker.

Vietnam is the largest producer of Robusta coffee beans in the world, and so they are the most widely available for making coffee in the country. Besides the higher caffeine dosage, these beans also give the coffee a stronger and bolder flavor and a nice crema.

How to Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Before you even start making Vietnamese coffee, it is important to note that just like most other coffee types, you will need a few practice sessions to master different elements like the grind size and steeping time.

Also, although traditionally this coffee is made with a Phin, it is still possible to make it with other coffee makers like the French press, and some modern variations will also use espresso to make Vietnamese iced coffee as it is also strong and rich enough.

What You Will Need

List of Ingredients

  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of medium to dark-roasted coffee grounds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • Lots of ice cubes

Total Brew Time: 10 Minutes

Step by Step Directions

Step by Step Directions

Step 1: Heat Water

Given that it is what will probably take up more time in the entire process, you should start by heating your water in the gooseneck kettle. You will want the water temperature to be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit before you use it to make the coffee.

To achieve this water temperature, you should bring the water to a boil and let it cool for at least 30 seconds to get to the desired temperature.

Step 2: Add Condensed Milk to Glass

The second step is to add the condensed milk to the tall glass before you start making the coffee. Use a heatproof glass as it will keep your beverage hot longer, and you can use as much sweetened condensed milk as you would like as it is all up to your preferences and how sweet you like your coffee.

Step 3: Add the Coffee Grounds

Next step is to make your Vietnamese coffee and to do this you should start by adding 2 tablespoons of the ground coffee to the Phin. And make sure the grind size is a medium course which is similar to what you would use for French press.

And when adding the coffee grounds make sure that you first remove the top screen on the Phin and that the small lid stays put underneath so that no coffee grinds end up in your cup. Once the coffee is in place, you can now assemble the Phin by placing back the top filter.

Note that the amount of pressure you apply when pushing down the top filter will affect the brew since a tight-fitting filter results in a strong brew while a loose one will give you a weaker coffee.

Step 4: Place Phin Over the Glass and Add Hot Water

After assembling the coffee maker, you should now place it over the tall glass with the condensed milk and then add the hot water you pre-heated early one and make sure the temperature is right before you do this.

Pour the water slowly from your gooseneck kettle and add enough to reach the top part of the pot. Also, make sure you do not spill water into the glass and finish this step by placing the lid at the top to keep the water hot.

Step 5: Wait for Coffee to Drip

The next step is to give the coffee at least 3 minutes to drip into the tall glass beneath. Depending on how tight the top filter is the water can take up to 5 minutes to drip down, and so some patience is required at this stage.

Step 6: Stir with the Spoon

Once all the coffee has dripped into the glass, you should now stir the beverage with the long-handled spoon to mix in and dissolve the sweetened condensed milk that is at the bottom. And you can also add more sweetened condensed milk in case you find that your coffee does not have the consistency you want.

Step 7: Add the Ice Cubes

The last step is to serve your coffee with ice and here you can add some ice cubes to another tall glass and then pour the coffee and condensed milk over the ice. Also, you can simply just throw in the ice cubes over the coffee.


1. While traditionally most Vietnamese coffee is made with Robusta coffee bean, you can still make the iced coffee with the more flavorful Arabica beans, but go for a dark roast as it will give you a better flavor.

2. Practicing is the key to becoming good at making Vietnamese iced coffee, and so you should keep making it until you perfect the technique

3. Make sure you never add ice until your coffee and condensed milk are combined perfectly because cold coffee will not be able to dissolve the thick syrupy milk.


Nothing beats a tall glass of some nice Vietnamese iced coffee on a hot summer afternoon as it is the kind of beverage that will cool you down almost instantly and leave you refreshed for many hours.

However, to enjoy this delightful brew, you first need to know how to make it. But, this should not be a problem as with a little practice it can be quite easy. And besides a traditional Vietnamese coffee maker, a few spoons of condensed milk, coffee grounds and hot filtered water, there is nothing much to do.

Also, note that besides the delicious Vietnamese iced coffee, there are still many other equally amazing Vietnamese coffee types that you should also try out.


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