What Is Vietnamese Iced Coffee & How Do You Make It?
tall glass of vietnamese iced coffee - strong dark coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk, over ice

New Orleans and Vietnam both reflect French influences in their cuisines, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their coffee-brewing rituals and shared love for strong, dark coffee. Plus, both places have long, hot summers that make you want to pour that coffee over ice morning, noon and night! Read on to find out how it’s done and get the recipes.

clear glass with condensed milk in bottom and vietnamese coffee filter placed on top with coffee dripping into glass and French Market Coffee can in background

Classic Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Vietnamese iced coffee or “Cà Phê Sữa Đá” is simply strong brewed coffee (often a coffee & chicory blend) mixed with sweetened condensed milk and served in a tall glass with plenty of ice. Any ground coffee and brewing process can be used, but traditionally it’s brewed individually using a cup-like metal coffee filter called a “shin.”

Does watching the coffee drip make it taste better? Maybe so!

The shin is placed on top of a clear glass that contains the desired amount of thick, sweet condensed milk in the bottom. Ground coffee is placed in the shin, a small amount of hot water is poured into it to allow the grounds to “bloom” or swell up, and then more water is poured in. Watching the dark coffee drip slowly into the creamy condensed milk is a bit mesmerizing and definitely a key part of this coffee ritual. When a sufficient amount of coffee has dripped into the glass, the shin is removed, the coffee and condensed milk mixture is stirred, and ice is added. Get the recipe.

Sweetened condensed milk being poured into glass of dark cold brew coffee with jar of coffee in background

Cold Brew Vietnamese Iced Coffee

While the coffee dripping into the condensed milk might be fun to watch, let’s face it – some days you want that sweet, strong and delicious Vietnamese-style iced coffee without all that process. In that case, all you need is condensed milk and some strong cold-brewed coffee concentrate. Mix the two in a glass, fill with ice, and “voila”, as they say in French speaking parts of the world! Get the recipe.