There’s very little else that makes my morning better than waiting in the kitchen watching the tiny little drops of coffee greatness splash against the bottom of my clear rock glass cup. The air fills with a buttery and nutty rich smell that I can only describe as heaven. In a few minutes I will be enlightened with a full bodied flavor that can only be finished off with a robust after taste.
Vietnamese food culture is known the world round for their Pho (not pronounced Fo or Fur) & banh mi (French baguette filled with traditional Vietnamese meats and veggies) but also for their Vietnamese pressed style coffee. This delectable concoction is famous in its own right for all the qualities I mentioned above.
How do you create authentic Vietnamese coffee? You absolutely MUST USE a Vietnamese coffee press – it looks like a single serve tin can with holes in it, a sort of PERSONAL coffee filter. A rich and nutty coffee that is dark roasted and grounded down. In the glory days of my restaurant, when the Asian community would pile through its doors in search of a place to smoke (when smoking in restaurants was allowed) and a Vietnamese coffee to drink we would add in a bit of melted butter to our roast mixture – for that added kick, trade secret I mind you!
Two scoops of coffee mixture poured into the press, place the strainer over the top and place the press over a glass filled with condensed milk. Condense milk is the other factor in this recipe that will make it an AUTHENTIC coffee of the Vietnamese derivative. It gives it that nice caramel color you see when you mix creamer into any other dark coffee, much like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks variety, except this is only better. When I feel fancy I will add condensed milk to mine but I normally take it black with two sugars over ice – it really exudes that nutty flavor I like so much when drinking a black coffee.
Pour in your hot water and allow a few minutes for it to seep all the way through. This part is the most painful part as you watch for what seems like a half hour for all the boiling water to pass through the filter only to have to pour in a second portion of hot water to repeat again. Two parts hot water here folks so please remember! Depending on the size of your glass the fruits of your labor will seem, how do I say this, glass half full kind of a situation? Yes if it’s halfway full or even less do not be alarmed, this is Vietnamese ICE coffee after all so divvy up a glass of ice, mix the coffee well and then pour away!
Why do you only make a halfway full cup of coffee? If you have ever had a Red Bull, Monster Energy or any other kind of energy drink before then you will notice the intense surge of sugar rush and energy that is followed by the incredible CRASH. With Vietnamese coffee it’s a slow & steady wins the race kind of deal. It keeps you up and going almost the whole day so be forewarned not to drink this after lunch – I have spent many nights staring at my ceiling!
I never knew that Vietnamese coffee has gotten so popular that people have started creating desserts. Ice cream, cakes, small puffs you name it they are creating it! I wonder if it still retains that KICK that I love so much about this morning brew.
On that note my coffee is done! Have yourself a cup and enjoy!