What Makes Vietnamese Coffee So Strong?

Who doesn't enjoy coffee? Its robust aroma, bittersweet taste, and caffeine buzz help us get through each day. But sometimes, we need something more substantial - which is where Vietnamese coffee comes into its own.

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Vietnamese coffee is renowned for its strength due to a few key factors. This blog post will examine what makes Vietnamese coffee strong and how best to enjoy it.

Enjoy this tasty beverage together and learn more about its fascinating history.

Overview of Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee first gained notoriety during the early 20th century, when Vietnam was still a French colony.

At that time, beans were imported from France and other European countries for making the coffee using an old-school drip brewing method that remains popular today.

Vietnamese coffee has seen a meteoric rise in popularity worldwide due to its unique flavor and strong caffeine kick. It typically uses Robusta beans, notorious for their high caffeine content.

After being roasted and ground into a fine powder, these beans are brewed using a drip filter with sweetened condensed milk added for an enticing creamy finish.

Different Types of Vietnamese Coffee

Two primary varieties of Vietnamese coffee exist: ca phe sua da (coffee with sweetened condensed milk) and ca phe nong (black coffee).

Ca phe sua da is the most popular variety and is usually served iced or at room temperature; conversely, ca phe nong is stronger, blacker in flavor, and typically served hot.

Vietnamese coffee can also be enhanced with syrups or spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, or cardamom. These flavors can be added to either type of coffee.

How Vietnamese Coffee Is Made

Vietnamese coffee is brewed using a small metal drip filter (phin ca phe) atop the cup. Ground coffee and hot water are added to this filter before it's placed over the cup; water drips through coffee grinds into the cup below, mixing with sweetened condensed milk for an aromatic kick.

Brewing coffee typically takes 3-5 minutes, depending on its fineness and how much water is added. A typical ratio of coffee to water is 1:16, though this can be adjusted according to taste.

The Differences Between Robusta and Arabica Beans

Vietnam cultivates two primary types of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. Robusta beans account for 70% of Vietnam's production, often used in instant coffees or lower-grade blends. Arabica beans comprise 30% of their crop; these more expensive beans can be found in single-origin beans and higher-quality blends.

The primary distinction between Robusta and Arabica beans lies in their flavor profile. Robusta beans tend to have a harsher, bitter taste, while Arabica beans are sweeter and more complex.

As for caffeine content, Robusta beans contain about twice as much as Arabica ones - meaning Vietnamese coffees made with Robusta beans will be stronger and more caffeinated than those using Arabica beans.

Both bean types can produce excellent coffee when properly roasted and brewed. But ultimately, it comes down to personal preference regarding which Vietnamese kind of coffee you prefer.

What Makes Vietnamese Coffee So Strong

Vietnamese coffee is traditionally ground to an excellent grind, which produces a solid beverage due to more surface area exposed to water and more extraordinary flavor and caffeine extraction.

Furthermore, this finer grind allows longer brewing times, contributing to its strength.

The Sweetened Condensed Milk

Vietnamese coffee is distinguished by sweetened condensed milk, which adds sweetness and body to the beverage, making it richer and more flavorful. Furthermore, sweetened condensed milk has a higher fat content than regular milk, intensifying its intense aroma.

The Roasting Method

Vietnamese coffee beans are roasted to a darker roast than other beans, creating more bitterness and depth of flavor - making the drink even stronger.

How to Enjoy Vietnamese Coffee

Thanks to its robust and intense flavor, Vietnamese coffee is often enjoyed as a dessert.

But it also pairs perfectly with traditional sweets like flan, ice cream, or chocolate cake; the bitterness of the coffee helps balance out the sweetness from desserts, while its strong aroma ensures you won't be overwhelmed by it.

Add Flavors for a Unique Taste

If you want to experiment with Vietnamese coffee, there are a few ways. One popular method is adding flavors such as vanilla or cinnamon to the grounds before brewing; this gives it a distinct sweet and spicy taste.

Alternatively, make iced Vietnamese coffee by mixing ice cubes and milk into cooled coffee; this creates a refreshing drink ideal for hot summer days.


Vietnamese coffee has a distinctive flavor due to the finer grinds, sweetened condensed milk, and roasting method.

To savor this unique cup of joe, pair it with desserts or add flavors for an unforgettable flavor experience.

Harry Lattimore
Harry Lattimore

Hi, I'm Harry. I'm a chef and writer who lives in New York City. I grew up in the South and love to travel, so you'll often find me in one of those places—or in my kitchen, cooking up new recipes. Follow me on Twitter!