Vietnamese coffee is very different compared to coffee that’s available in the U.S. In short, the reason why Vietnamese coffee is so strong is because of the high caffeine content, the unique brewing process, and the darkness of the roast. Not only is it brewed differently, but it also has a very unique flavor. What’s nice about Vietnamese coffee is that you don’t drink it with your typical sweeteners, so it can be enjoyed hot or cold with no need for refrigeration.
This coffee can be enjoyed in so many different ways that there is no wrong way to drink it. Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world. The robusta variety is the most popular and is generally a medium to dark roast.
Most people enjoy it the authentic way and pour it over ice, but you can brew it and drink it to your personal preference. You can find it on the menu at almost all Vietnamese restaurants if you prefer to go that route. Or you can try to make it yourself at home, and brew it to your liking.
How Vietnamese Coffee Is Made
Traditional Vietnamese coffee is made using a stainless steel drip filter. You add the desired amount of grounds into the filter and place it over the mug or glass that you will drink out of. Pour a little hot water into the filter and let it bloom for a few seconds to allow the grounds to expand. You may compress the coffee in the filter before adding the remaining water to achieve a more flavorful brew.
If you have a French press, you may use it instead if you prefer. However, it is not recommended to use a standard coffee maker with Vietnamese coffee. The goal is to keep it as pure as unprocessed as possible. Enjoy over iced or hot. The only sweetener used in hot or iced Vietnamese coffee is condensed milk. It adds a little creaminess and sweetness without taking away from the flavor of the coffee.
The Taste Of Vietnamese Coffee
Typically since Vietnamese coffee is a darker roast, it has a very strong and bitter flavor profile. As mentioned before, condensed milk is usually used to lighten and sweeten the coffee as opposed to traditional milk, cream, and sugar.
It also has higher acidity than your average cup of coffee which adds to the difference in flavor.
The sharp taste and thickness of the drip usually draw people to drinking it iced rather than hot. Pouring it over the ice and condensed milk mellows it out and makes it easy to enjoy.
Many Americans are used to the lighter flavor of Arabica beans so robusta isn’t drunk as often in the U.S. However, Vietnam does produce Arabica beans, it just isn’t as popular as the Robusta variety.
It is very common got Vietnamese coffee to be enjoyed with a dark, rich roast.
The Caffeine Content Of Vietnamese Coffee
When you’re comparing Arabica coffee to Robusta, there is a huge difference in the amount of caffeine. a 6oz cup of Arabica coffee contains around 75-130 mg of caffeine whereas Robusta clocks in at 200 mg. That’s almost twice as much. This is because of the drip method used to brew Vietnamese coffee as well as the warmer climate needed to produce the beans. The darker the roast, the higher the caffeine content.
Another interesting fact is that an 8 oz cup of Vietnamese coffee contains more caffeine than your average energy drink such as Red Bull or Monster. Which when you think about it, sounds a little extreme. So if you are looking for the ultimate caffeine boost, you may think twice about reaching for that energy drink.
The Best Vietnamese Coffee Brands
There are so many different brands of Vietnamese coffee out there. If you’re anxious to give it a try, here are some recommendations of the best brands out there right now.
This brand has a very deep and intense flavor. The beans are a premium blend of Arabica and Robusta, with the slightest hint of chocolate. It has a delightful aroma when brewed that’s so refreshing and bold. Since the coffee beans are grown in soil at high altitudes, it brings in a sweet flavor that all coffee drinkers will enjoy.
The Moonbear variety that Chestbrew offers it made of all Arabica beans. It is strong and pure, with no additives. This company boasts that its premium quality Vietnamese coffee is not only authentic but perfect for a sweet cold brew. It also doesn’t have a bitter flavor like the usual Vietnamese coffee, but that doesn’t mean it won’t deliver in boldness.
Saigon Phin Daklak
Grown in Tay Nguyen, Vietnam, this coffee comes straight from a family-owned business. Their production facility is based in Saigon. Even though this coffee is a blend, it is made for traditional Vietnamese iced coffee also known as Cafe Sua Da. The blend consists of Arabica, Robusta, Peaberry, and soybean. You can brew this with a traditional filter or a French press for the best results.
Dalat Peaberry Robusta
This brand has a sharp flavor profile, with rich and decadent notes of chocolate. It is a medium roast coffee, that is made for people who like to drink it strong. The smooth body of the Dalat Peaberry Robusta makes it ideal for use in Italian espresso blended coffees. Its smoothness is credited to the high caffeine content and low acidity.
Cafe Du Monde
You’re probably wondering why this brand has a French name if we are talking about Vietnamese coffee. Vietnam used to be a French colony (from the late 1800s until the 1950s) and their people quiet enjoyed the flavors of these particular Cafe Du Monde coffee beans. It is a dark roast blended with chicory root, for a strong and robust flavor.
All of these strong Vietnamese coffee brands can be found to purchase online at relatively affordable prices. If you are an avid coffee drinker, it might be worthwhile for you to give it a chance.
If you prefer your coffee light and sweet, then you may take some convincing. Either way, Vietnamese coffee has a wonderful and delicious flavor profile that people who drink coffee for flavor and not just a pick-me-up, can truly appreciate it.