Vietnamese Coffee Four Ways
Sampling the very different regional coffees from North to South
The common grounds? They're all strong and delicious
The standard: Vietnamese Coffee
To make traditional Vietnamese coffee, all you need are coffee grounds and sweetened condensed milk. The coffee produced here, Robusta, is very bitter on its own but perfectly lovely when cut with SCM and an ice cube. Aside from the SCM, which is also used in Thai tea and coffee, Vietnamese coffee differs mainly in how it's brewed.
To make, pour in as much SCM as you'd like into a coffee cup, usually around 1 tablespoon. Scoop two tablespoons of ground coffee into a pourover placed above your cup. Add just a splash of hot water, enough to barely cover the grounds, and let sit for five minutes. Then pour in more hot water about 3/4 of the way up and wait until drip by drop, the coffee trickles into your glass. When done, stir your coffee and SCM and add one ice cube.
The region: Saigon
The specialty: Coconut Coffee
To make, fill a glass with 1 tbsp SCM and 3 tbsp of coconut milk. Brew coffee as instructed.
The region: Hue
The specialty: Salt Coffee
This special treat found only in a handful of cafes in Hue is by far the most delicious coffee I've ever tasted. Think of it as the salted caramel of lattes- it's amazing.The locals swear that as many times as they've tried to replicate it, they can't quite seem to get it right. After a bit of digging I realized that they don't have access to heavy whipping cream in the stores or markets in Vietnam and whole milk just isn't rich enough. To make this variation, take 1 tbsp SCM, 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream, and 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt and brew.
The region: Hanoi
The specialty: Egg Coffee
If you pay attention when walking the tiny, bustling streets of Hanoi's old town district, you'll see that most every coffee shop offers the region's famous egg coffee. During the Vietnam War, milk was scarce so people had to improvise with egg yolk and the tradition stuck. The drink, best served warm, has the texture of a thin chocolate mousse and tastes like a cross between said chocolate mousse and a tiramisu. To make, brew a cup of Vietnamese coffee and set aside. In a small bowl, whip one egg yolk with sweetened condensed milk vigorously until fluffy and frothy. Add the egg mixture on top of the coffee to serve. To drink, mix the coffee and egg mixture together in your cup and have a sip.