Vietnamese Coffee Filter Vs French Press
French presses are the most popular form of immersion brewer. In this brewing method, coarse-ground coffee comes in direct contact with hot water. Since theres no paper filter, all of the oils and flavors from the coffee stay in the brew.
This is similar to how a Vietnamese phin brewer operates. The water contact time is similar, as well, since both French press and phin brewing take around 3-5 minutes to complete.
In a side-by-side comparison, phin coffee will be stronger per ounce than French press, both in regards to taste and caffeine content. That said, most people dilute their phin coffee before drinking. If you do this, the coffee you drink will be very similar to what youd get out of a French press.
Iced Hot Or Coffee With Condensed Milk
Now, it’s time to choose the way you’d like to drink your coffee. You can easily add ice or leave it just as it is. I usually put some condensed milk and sometimes ice when it’s hot outside. I found out that my favorite is iced coffee with condensed milk! Try out different coffees to find out your favorite! Enjoy your coffee!
The History Of The Phin Filter
French colonization of Vietnam beginning in the 1880s saw the introduction of many French customs to Vietnam. One of these was the introduction of coffee as a crop something that had been around for at least two decades before, but it was during this period that it became a serious source of income.
The French used a French press to make their coffee but most Vietnamese people did not have access to them. As such, there are indications to show that the phin filter likely originated not in big cities which were cosmopolitan in every way but instead in rural areas where coffee was harvested. One indication is the tradition of using condensed milk for sweetening coffee, a widely spread practice in rural Vietnam.
Condensed milk was widely used by Vietnamese farmers as a means to preserve milk as it greatly extends its shelf life and doubles as dairy and as a sweetener. Nowadays, condensed milk is present in many types of Vietnamese drinks from the famous Vietnamese iced coffee to Vietnamese egg coffee. Out of need came ingenious brew tools and coffee additions that are now iconic.
Coffee most likely went from being a symbol of French rule to a source of national pride after the anti-French revolution which started in 1946. Coincidentally, this would be when one of Vietnams most famous coffee drinks would be invented: the Vietnamese egg coffee.
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Vietnamese Coffee Taste Profile
While there’s no one flavor profile, Robusta beans tend to be very bold and robust in flavor. They have nutty and chocolatey notes that stand out. Also, when making milky drinks or the traditional Vietnamese way, you can still taste the coffee. Vietnamese Arabica beans are sweet and fruity, like in other parts of the world.
Taste also depends on the blend and the brewing method. For example, 50/50 Arabica-Robusta blends will be strong, bold and fruity at the same time. And if you brew an espresso, it will taste different than a pour-over or Phin-filtered coffee.
How Do You Make Vietnamese Coffee Without A Filter
Still waiting for your phin to arrive? There are a few ways you can approximate the bold flavor and texture of Vietnamese coffee without this special filter. These include:
- Espresso shots. The highly-concentrated brew that results from pressurized brewing has a similar bold taste and mouthfeel to Vietnamese coffee. A double shot of espresso is a great substitute for phin coffee when youre ordering from a café. At home, a Moka pot or stovetop espresso maker can be a viable substitute.
- Cold brew concentrate. Cold-brewing yields a thick, concentrated coffee, similar to what you get out of a phin. This can be an especially great choice if you plan to serve the coffee iced.
- French press. Immersion brewing gives brewed coffee more body and texture, which is what you want from Vietnamese coffee. It wont be as strong, though, so if youre drinking it hot, dont dilute it with water.
Whichever brewing method youre going with, using dark-roasted beans will give you a more traditional flavor.
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How To Use A Vietnamese Coffee Maker
The phin is one of the most beginner-friendly coffee brewers.
Vietnamese coffee usually uses medium-coarse to coarsely ground beans. Fine grounds might pass through the holes and produce an under-extracted coffee because water will speed through the grounds.
The grounds go into the filter chamber. If using a gravity insert, you can lightly press the grounds and let the insert settle as you pour water. If using a screw insert, you can tighten it until it stays securely in place.
The brewing time can also be adjusted based on how tightly you screw. The tighter it is, the longer the brewing time as water will pour slower. I recommend screwing it just tight enough to secure the grounds while also leaving out room for the coffee to expand or bloom once you start pouring water.
For a step-by-step guide on how to make Vietnamese coffee using the phin, check out these instructions.
Now that youre better acquainted with this Vietnamese coffee dripper, its time to look at your options online.
Nguyen Coffee Supply Phin Filter Collection
Nguyen Coffee Supply is a Brooklyn-based Vietnamese coffee roaster. Aside from its superior quality coffee beans, the company also sells phin filters of great caliber.
Choose from the original 4 oz phin, the 12 oz phin, or the 24 oz phin which is great for batch brewing. Or you can get the phin filter trio, which includes all three sizes. All three use gravity inserts and are made of stainless steel.
For a complete set, get the original phin kit that includes a 4 oz. phin and a 340-gram bag of coffee.
- Perfect for a single serving
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Stainless Steel Or Ceramic Or Aluminum
Most phins are made of stainless steel for a reason. Theyre more durable and have thicker material that retains more heat.
Aluminum phins have thinner chambers and are flimsier compared to stainless steel phins.
Ceramic phins do the job but the hand-poked holes are less consistent than stainless steel counterparts. They also usually come with only three parts as the chamber has an outer edge that mimics the plates usually found on stainless steel sets.
In addition, ceramic phins are fragile and may incur damage during shipping. Theyre easy on the eyes but do consider this risk when buying one.
What Type Of Coffee Grind
There is controversy here, I have read of anything from fine to coarse grindbeing used. The cans have what appears to be a French grind I use a grindsomewhere between French and drip. This does not fall through theholes in the filter and tastes great. If you are new to Vietnamese coffee, use aFrench grind since it is easier to get it right with a coarser grind.
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How To Make Vietnamese Coffee
Ill admit it Im a coffee snob. If you drink copious amounts of coffee every day, then it makes sense to brew the best cup possible, right?
The first time I ever had Vietnamese coffee was shortly after arriving in Ho Chi Minh City post-14 hour long haul flight. It was hot. Our hostel had a cafe downstairs so we ordered a ca phe sua dua , aka Vietnamese iced coffee.
For starters, our coffees were 20,000 VND each. Thats less than $1 USD. At that price, we would have been lucky to get instant back home.
It took a few minutes and our Vietnamese iced coffees were brought out. By this point, our expectations diminished. We just needed coffee. We later found out they prepare the coffee in advance as Vietnamese coffee lasts longer than Arabica bean coffee.
So we were delighted to find our coffees tasted something like a caramel frappuccino from Starbucks. Cold & refreshing, a huge caffeine hit, and deliciously sweet.
Production Of The Vietnamese Coffee
Arabica beans are grown at altitudes above 4,000 ft in the mountainous regions, while Robusta is cultivated in the highlands regions. Arabica plants prefer a cooler temperature, and Robusta plants prefer humid, hot weather.
Once again, the government is playing a large role in improving production. They’re trying to shift farmers from old irrigation systems and wells, but the process is slow, and most farms still use groundwater supplies.
But the good news is that changes are being made in government policies, which is causing a positive cascading effect for the entire country.
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What Is Vietnamese Coffee
Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia and has a tropical/sub-tropical climate. Coffee is grown throughout the country, and most plants are the Robusta variety.
Coffee was first brought to Vietnam in 1857 by the French. The first plants were Arabica, and in the early 1900s, Robusta was also brought over.
In the 100 years after first being introduced, there was a tiny amount of plantations. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that coffee took off after the government took a more active role in developing infrastructure and getting into the global coffee market. Since the 2000s, Vietnam has been the second-largest exporter of coffee in the world, behind Brazil.
What’s The Difference Between A French Press And A Vietnamese Coffee Maker
A French press has two parts: a plunger and a basket. When you put ground beans into the basket, the plunger pushes the grounds out of the basket and into your cup of coffee.
Vietnamese coffee makers have a single chamber. Instead of pushing the grounds out of the basket, the coffee grounds stay inside the machine until you pour hot water into the top part of the machine.
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What Is Vietnamese Coffee Like
Vietnamese coffee is essentially brewed using a Vietnamese coffee maker and is drunk with condensed milk or ice .
When brewing Vietnamese coffee, the result is a full-bodied coffee with a very intense taste.
The coffee infuses slowly into the container and is falling through the filter into the coffee machine, so it takes some time to be ready. This time is controlled in two ways:
- The compaction or pressing of the ground coffee into the container .
- With the filter: if the filter has small holes, the coffee will take longer to brew into the cup.
The longer the infusion time, the higher the body and intensity of the resulting coffee. Typically, the process takes 4 to 5 minutes until the Vietnamese coffee is ready in your glass or cup.
FINAL NOTE: Do not confuse this preparation with Vietnamese animal coffee or Vietnamese weasel coffee, some of the most expensive coffee varieties in the world . What we explain on this page has nothing to do with it: it prepares Vietnamese-style coffee, not an origin coffee.
There are two essential preparations for Vietnamese coffee: cold and hot. In both cases, the drink is prepared and infused in the same way. The difference lies in what you pour into the glass or cup where you will drink it: either ice for Vietnamese cold coffee or condensed milk for a more traditional hot Vietnamese coffee.
As we have said before, traditional Vietnamese coffee is an extended solo coffee served over a layer of condensed milk to taste.
How Does A Vietnamese Coffee Maker Work
The first step in making a Vietnamese coffee is preparing the coffee grounds. To make this process easier, most vietnamese coffee makers come with an included grinder attachment. You will need to grind the coffee beans into a fine powder before adding them to the coffee maker. Next, add cold water to the top of the coffee maker. Then, pour the water down the side of the coffee maker until all of the water is gone. Finally, remove the plunger and stir the coffee grounds together.
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Gravity Or Screw Insert
If youre a complete newbie to Vietnamese coffee, you will find gravity inserts easier to use. You simply even out the grounds and then leave the insert lying on top of the coffee.
Screw inserts add an extra step but it helps create a smoother, more even brew as it holds the grounds in place. It also gives you more control over the length of brewing time. The tighter the screw, the longer it takes to finish a brew.
What Is The Phin Filter
The phin filter is the traditional method of brewing coffee in Vietnam. It is made of stainless steel or aluminum, much like a moka pot, but is much thinner and lighter. It is also frequently referred to as a Vietnamese coffee press or “Vietnamese coffee maker.”
It consists of four essential parts:
There is, however, more than one single type of phin filter. Lets explore the differences between different types of phin filters:
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Does Starbucks Have Vietnamese Coffee
If youre looking for true Vietnamese coffee, you wont get it at Starbucks. This is mostly because Starbucks simply doesnt carry the right beans. Traditional Vietnamese coffee is made from Robusta, and the majority of cafes in the United Statesincluding Starbucksuse predominantly Arabica beans. Youre also not going to find phin brewers at a Starbucks .
That said, you can get an approximation of the iced version of Vietnamese coffee if you order the right way. Youll be ordering an iced latte with a double-shot, first of all. Then, ask the barista to put in classic syrup and a hefty serving of vanilla sweet cream. This will mimic the flavor of fresh-brewed Robusta with ice and sweetened condensed milk.
Make Sure That You Have The Equipment
Once you get your hands on the perfect coffee, it’s time to find the right equipment that will help you in brewing the ideal coffee. In Vietnam, it’s called a Phin and it refers to a small metal cup, filter and lid. You put these three on the top of the cup and simply wait. You can literally see each drip dropping down in your cup while enjoying your time. It’s very easy to get Vietnamese coffee filter and I recommend you to check this one!
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Is Nescafe An Arabica Or Robusta
For the perfect Asian coffee blend, weve created the NESCAFÉ GOLD BLEND Origins Indonesian Sumatra coffee. Featuring unforgettable smoky and earthy top notes with hints of caramel and nuts and made with 100% handpicked Robusta coffee beans, this is a coffee experience that youll love to return to time and time again.
Nguyen Coffee Supply Original Phin Kit
Sahra Nguyen, founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply, which sells a wonderful 24-oz. jumbo phin that I use at home, says that seeing the vitriol against robusta beans lit a fire under her to do something. It takes a community to shift the narrative, she shares. When I started, self-professed coffee experts would tell me theyd never had robusta beans before. I wanted to change that. The demands of the market have historically forced farmers in Vietnam to compromise the quality of their beans, but Nguyen, along with other Vietnamese founders in the coffee space, are working to break that cycle by investing in the production of organic grade, ethically farmed robusta beans.
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Copper Cow Coffee Pour Over Set
They can also be easily packed up for travel, so you never have to miss a good cup of coffee when youre away from home. But now, you actually dont even have to bring along your trusty phin to enjoy a proper brew. Copper Cow Coffee, founded by Debbie Wei Mullin, takes the phin experience on-the-go with what the brand calls Vietnamese coffee latte kits. Each kit comes with individual coffee filters packed with coffee sourced from Vietnam and sweetened condensed milk packets. The compostable filters have paper handles that pull apart to hang over the sides of a mug or glass. I want to meet my customers where theyre at, Mullin shares.
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