Is Vietnamese coffee strong?

Vietnamese coffee

Vietnamese coffee is delightfully strong, wonderfully sweet, and an amazing way to start your day. Despite being made of just 3 simple ingredients, it's packed with complex flavors and is surprisingly addictive. Although the name could make you think otherwise, there isn't just one type of coffee in Vietnam. You can find delicious variations made with everything from eggs and coconut milk to fruit and even yogurt! This post focuses on one of the simplest and most popular types of Vietnamese coffee: càphêsữanóng.

What is ?
Vietnamese coffee (càphêsữanóng) is a unique drink made of creamy condensed milk and bold black coffee. The condensed milk sits in the bottom of a glass cup, before robust black coffee drips onto the top. When all the coffee has dripped through the filter, it's time to grab a spoon, stir, and enjoy your coffee!

For Vietnamese coffee to be truly Vietnamese, it should be made with coffee beans grown by Vietnamese people in Vietnam. More than 90% of the coffee grown in Vietnam is robusta, a variety that is gaining popularity in the West. So no matter where you are, you should be able to get your hands on authentic Vietnamese coffee beans and make real Vietnamese coffee at home whenever you like.

Other names
When this style of coffee is served warm, it's known as càphêsữanóng in Vietnam. When it's served cold with ice, it's known as càphêsữađá (or nâuđá in the north of the country). You can find the names of other types of Vietnamese coffee at the bottom of this post.

What is special about Vietnamese coffee?

The brewing method is what makes Vietnamese coffee special. It's typically brewed using a small metal drip filter called a phin. You place the phin on top of a glass cup and add coarsely ground dark roast Vietnamese coffee beans into the chamber. You gently compact the coffee and pour hot water into the phin to begin brewing.

The coffee gradually drips through the filter into the cup below. The slow process results in a strong, concentrated coffee that's perfect for an early morning caffeine kick. When all the water has passed through the coffee grounds, it's time to remove the phin and enjoy your coffee.

Is Vietnamese coffee strong?

Yes, the unique brewing method makes Vietnamese coffee robust and intense. The type of beans also contributes to the coffee's strength. Robusta coffee beans contain nearly twice the amount of caffeine as arabica beans. It's a fantastic choice if you love strong coffee and want to try something new.

You can change the strength of the coffee by adjusting the amount of ground coffee you use. Add more to make the coffee stronger and use less to make it weaker. But overall, a cup of Vietnamese coffee is stronger and contains more caffeine than your average cup of joe.

Is Vietnamese coffee very sweet?
Càphêsữanóng and càphêsữađáare both very sweet because they're made with black coffee and condensed milk. You can adjust the sweetness to your taste by only using a small amount of condensed milk. If you don't want your coffee to be sweet, you can skip the condensed milk altogether and enjoy your coffee black without any sweetener. This type of coffee is called càphêđen whether it's served hot or cold.

How do you make Vietnamese coffee?

To make Vietnamese coffee (càphêsữanóng), follow these steps:


  • Coarsely ground dark roast Vietnamese coffee beans
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Hot water


  • Phin filter
  • Glass cup
  • Spoon


  1. Pour 1-3 tablespoons of condensed milk into the bottom of the glass cup.
  2. Place the phin on top of the cup and remove the top screen.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee into the phin.
  4. Screw the screen back on to compact the coffee grounds.
  5. Pour hot water (just off the boil) into the phin until the coffee is completely covered.
  6. Leave to sit for 30 seconds.
  7. Loosen the phin screen and pour hot water until it reaches the top of the filter.
  8. Let the coffee slowly drip through the filter into the glass cup below. This should take around 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the phin then stir thoroughly to combine the coffee and condensed milk.

How do you make iced Vietnamese coffee?
Iced Vietnamese coffee (càphêsữađá) is just as easy to make as the hot version. Follow the directions 1-9 above then fill the glass cup with ice. So there's room for all the ingredients and the ice, it's a good idea to use a larger cup when making iced Vietnamese coffee than you would hot Vietnamese coffee.

It should take around 5 minutes for the water to drip through the ground coffee beans and the filter. If the process is taking longer than expected, your coffee beans aren't ground finely enough. If the process is taking less time than expected your coffee beans are ground too finely. Using a different grind of coffee will solve your problem.

Other types of Vietnamese coffee

  • Black coffee (hot or cold): Càphêđen
  • Hot or iced milk with some added coffee/Saigon-style coffee: Bạcxỉu
  • Blended coffee/coffee shake: Sinhtốcàphê
  • Coconut coffee (coffee, coconut milk, and condensed milk): Càphêdừa
  • Pandan coffee (coffee, pandan paste, and honey): Càphêládứa
  • Egg coffee (coffee, egg yolk, and condensed milk): Càphêtrứng
  • Salted cream coffee: Càphêkemmặn
  • Avocado coffee (coffee, avocado, condensed milk, and vanilla powder): Càphêbơ