Traditional Vietnamese iced coffee is a strong, slow sipper with a big caffeine kick. It is sure to give you an energy boost (and the caffeine jitters if you are not careful). I have yet to featured the Vietnamese coffee maker known as the Phin in my manual coffee brewing guides. Talking about the Phin coffee filter along with it’s most popular recipe seems like the best way to introduce it.
Below is my Vietnamese iced coffee recipe, some discussion on sweetened condensed milk and a Phin coffee filter brewing guide.
What is Vietnamese Iced Coffee?
Vietnamese iced coffee is a drink containing a highly concentrated coffee (brewed with a Phin) combined with sweetened condensed milk and served over ice. It is also known as cà phê sữa đá and is a very popular way of brewing Vietnamese coffee. If you have a favorite restaurant that serves Vietnamese food, cà phê sữa đá is likely on the menu.
Phin Coffee Filter- The Vietnamese Coffee Brewer
The Phin coffee filter is the most common way to brew Vietnamese coffee. It is a small tubular brewer with four parts: a base, a body, a filter and a lid.
Brewing with the Phin is a sort of melding between infusion brewing (like the pour-over) and immersion brewing (like the French press). You don’t need a disposable paper filter for the Phin, it is a coffee filter on it’s own.
The Clever Coffee Dripper is a manual brewing device that is near and dear to my heart. Its ease of use and low barrier of entry made manual brewing approachable to me. I have many fond memories of brewing up my homeroasted coffee fresh out of my Behmor 1600 and savoring the interesting and intense flavors.
Unfortunately, my Clever’s clear plastic body slowly became cloudy and coffee stained. One day, I couldn’t take it anymore and threw out my clever coffee friend.
A year or two later, I ended up purchasing a new Clever Coffee Dripper and writing a review on the blog. One of the only negative things I could say about the Clever Coffee Dripper was that it would inevitably stain and “look a little scary”.
Enter Andrew for Homewara.
Andrew contacted me a few weeks ago and let me know that he had come up with a solution; he made a Clever Coffee Dripper type brewer out of black plastic. It was a simple change but possibly a major improvement (embarrassment over a heavy stained Clever Coffee Dripper is a real thing and no one is talking about it).
Earlier this year, the company that creates the Java Maestro metal filter cone contacted me and asked if I would be willing to do a review on their product in exchange for them sending one over. It has taken me awhile to get around to putting my thoughts together on paper but after a busy summer, I am ready to discuss this nifty little brewer.
The Java Maestro is a metal pour-over filter cone about the size of a V60. It is available on Amazon for $17.99. Unlike some of the other metal filter cones on the market, the Java Maestro is used as a stand-alone brewer (not as an accompaniment insert like the popular Able filter cone).
I realize that there are quite a few stainless steel pour-over cones of strikingly similar design on Amazon. Although they are similar, I cannot vouch for them as I have not held them in my hand and brewed with them.
Metal versus Paper Filtration
The differences between metal and paper filtration is something I have not talked much about on the blog thus far.
Paper filters produce a cleaner cup of coffee that has less body. This is because the paper is designed to remove the sediment and some of the oils. There are varying degrees of thickness in paper filters and thus the amount of sediment and oils removed will vary from brewing method to brewing method (Chemex filters versus Hario V60 filters for instance). Many coffee drinkers are used to the type of coffee a paper coffee filter produces and thus prefer it.
Until recently, most people’s experience with a metal filter was the French Press. Most of the metal filter cones (the Java Maestro included) produced a cup of coffee with less sediment than a traditional French press coffee. Coffee that has been filtered with a metal filter should have a fuller body because it contains more oils than a paper filtered coffee.
With pour-over metal filtration, the metal screen is there to simply keep the coffee grounds from getting into the cup; nothing is removed from the coffee. This can be a pleasant and eye opening experience if you have not dabbled much in metal filters (or unpleasant if you prefer paper filtered coffee).