Vietnamese Coffee Brewing And The Phin Filter Method

Vietnamese coffee is a unique and flavorful approach to the traditional coffee brew.

Known for its strong taste and high caffeine content, it’s a popular choice for coffee lovers worldwide. The coffee beans used in Vietnam are primarily Robusta, which is bold and intense in flavor.

The brewing process is distinctive, often involving a special tool known as a Phin filter. Read on to learn more about Vietnamese coffee brewing using the phin filter method.

Key Takeaways
1 Vietnamese coffee is a unique and flavorful brew that uses a Phin filter for brewing and sweetened condensed milk for a distinct taste.
2 The Phin filter is a traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing tool that allows for a slow extraction of flavors, resulting in a strong and rich coffee.
3 Brewing Vietnamese coffee at home is a rewarding and personalized experience, allowing for adjustments in coffee strength and sweetness to individual preference.

The Phin Filter: A Unique Brewing Tool

The Phin filter is a traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing tool. It is a simple, compact device that doesn’t require paper filters or electricity, making it eco-friendly and portable.

The Phin filter comprises a round, perforated plate, a brewing chamber, a lid, and a filter press. The coffee brews slowly, drip by drip, into your cup or glass, creating a strong and flavorful coffee.

vietnamese coffee phin

The Role of Sweetened Condensed Milk in Vietnamese Coffee

In Vietnamese coffeesweetened condensed milk plays a crucial role. Unlike other coffee cultures that use fresh milk or cream, Vietnamese coffee is traditionally served with a thick, sweet layer of condensed milk.

The sweetness of the milk perfectly balances the strong and robust flavor of the coffee, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. It is a rich, creamy, and indulgent coffee drink unique to Vietnam.

Necessary Equipment and Ingredients For Vietnamese Coffee

To brew Vietnamese coffee using a Phin filter, you will need a few essential items:

A Phin filter

This is the primary tool for brewing Vietnamese coffee. It’s a small metal device that sits on top of your coffee cup.

 Vietnamese coffee beans

Robusta beans are traditionally used in Vietnam due to their strong flavor and high caffeine content. You can find these at specialty coffee shops or online.


If you’re using whole beans, you will need a grinder to achieve the right consistency. The grind should be medium-coarse, similar to the consistency of sea salt.

 Sweetened condensed milk

This is a crucial ingredient in Vietnamese coffee. It provides a sweet, creamy counterpoint to the strong, dark coffee.

 A kettle or pot for boiling water

You will need hot water to brew the coffee. The water should be just off the boil, around 195-205°F (90-96°C).

Step-by-Step Guide to Brewing Vietnamese Coffee with a Phin Filter

Here is a mini-guide on how to brew Vietnamese coffee using a Phin filter

  1. Grind your coffee: If you’re using whole beans, grind them to a medium-coarse consistency.
  2.  Prepare your Phin filter: Place the Phin filter on top of your cup. Make sure the cup is wide enough for the filter to sit securely.
  3.  Add the coffee: Put about two tablespoons of ground coffee into the filter chamber. Give it a gentle shake to distribute the coffee evenly.
  4.  Tamp down the coffee: If your Phin filter comes with a tamper, place it on top of the coffee. Don’t press down too hard; the weight of the water will do the rest.
  5.  Bloom the coffee: Pour a small amount of hot water into the filter, just enough to wet the coffee. Let it sit for 30 seconds. It allows the coffee to bloom and release its flavors.
  6.  Brew the coffee: Pour more hot water into the filter, filling it to the top. Put the lid on the filter and let the coffee drip slowly into your cup. It should take about 4-5 minutes.
  7.  Add sweetened condensed milk: Once the coffee has finished dripping, stir in sweetened condensed milk to taste. You can adjust the amount depending on how sweet you like your coffee.
robusta coffee beans

Tips for Perfecting Your Brew

Brewing Vietnamese coffee is an art; like any art, it takes practice to perfect. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

Be patient

Brewing coffee with a Phin filter takes time. Don’t rush the process. Let the coffee drip slowly to extract the full flavor from the beans.

 Adjust to taste

Feel free to adjust the amount of coffee and sweetened condensed milk to suit your taste. If you prefer a stronger coffee, use more coffee grounds. If you like your cup of coffee sweeter, then you can add more condensed milk.

 Clean your Phin filter regularly

To keep your coffee tasting great, clean your Phin filter after each use. Rinse it with warm water and let it dry completely before using it again.

 Experiment with different beans

While Robusta beans are traditional, you can also use Arabica beans for a milder flavor. Experiment with various types of beans to find your perfect brew.


Vietnamese coffee is a unique and flavorful coffee brew that offers a different perspective on coffee culture. The Phin filter method, while simple, requires patience and precision, resulting in a strong, rich coffee that is uniquely Vietnamese. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a curious beginner, brewing Vietnamese coffee at home is a rewarding and delicious experience. So why not give it a try? With the right tools, quality ingredients, and practice, you can bring a taste of Vietnam into your kitchen.


What is a Phin Filter?

Phin filter is a traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing tool. It’s a small, metal device that sits on top of your coffee cup and allows coffee to drip slowly into the cup, creating a strong and flavorful brew.

How much coffee should I put in a Phin?

Typically, you should use about two tablespoons of ground coffee in a Phin filter. However, this can be adjusted based on personal preference for stronger or milder coffee.

How much water should I put in a Phin?

The amount of water used in a Phin filter can vary, but a general guideline is to fill the filter chamber to the top. It usually equates to about 4-6 ounces of water.

How long does a Phin take to brew?

Brewing coffee with a Phin filter is a slow process, typically taking about 4-5 minutes. This slow brewing time allows for a full extraction of flavors from the coffee grounds.

Can I make iced Vietnamese coffee with a Phin?

Yes, you can make iced Vietnamese coffee with a Phin filter. After brewing the coffee, pour it over a glass filled with ice. Remember to add sweetened condensed milk for that traditional Vietnamese coffee taste.

How do I clean and maintain my Phin filter?

Cleaning a Phin filter is simple. After each use, rinse it with warm water to remove any remaining coffee grounds. Avoid using soap, as it can leave a residue affecting your coffee’s taste. Allow your filter to dry completely before using it again. Regular cleaning will ensure your Phin filter continues to make delicious coffee.


Written by Robbie – Coffee Writer and Researcher at

Robbie has over 15 years of extensive experience working in the coffee industry in marketing. As a native New Yorker he loves the hustle and bustle of a big city and enjoys nothing more than breaking up his busy day with trips to the nearest coffee shop for a double espresso. Find out more about Robbie