Brewing Coffee Manually

Better coffee. One cup at a time.

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Best Coffee Mug and How to Choose the Right One

Choosing the right coffee mug can have a dramatic impact how you enjoy your coffee. To many manual coffee brewers drinking coffee is more than just a daily habit, it is a ritual. A favorite coffee cup is part of that ritual. For me there is nothing better than having a thick, ceramic diner style coffee mug to drink coffee out of in the morning (and afternoon and night…).

While most coffee mugs are chosen rather serendipitously (gifts, random purchases at coffee shop and tech conference swag), there are a few things to consider if you are actively looking for a new favorite coffee mug. 

In this post, I will be discussing the various things you should consider when on the hunt for a vessel to hold your precious manually brewed coffee as well as recommending a few of my favorite mug and cup designs to point you in the right direction. 

I would love to hear from you guys about what you look for in a coffee cup and where your favorite mug came from. Let me know if there are mugs that should be on my list. 

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How to Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee With a Phin Coffee Filter

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. 

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Coffee From Vietnam- A Closer Look at the World’s Largest Robusta Supplier With Harvey Tong

Although Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee in the world, coffee from Vietnam rarely gets much attention. This is partially due to the fact that most of the coffee coming out of Vietnam is Robusta (a coffee species generally considered inferior to Arabica). Also, until recently, there has been little incentive to put quality over quantity for exported Vietnamese coffee. Despite it’s marginalized status as an origin, Vietnamese coffee has an interesting history and it’s own unique manual brewing method (the Phin). 

To learn more about coffee from Vietnam, I interviewed Harvey Tong, founder of Phin Coffee Club. Besides his passion for spreading the word about Vietnamese coffee, Harvey’s credentials include: growing up on a coffee farm in Vietnam, having ties to his family run Vietnamese Phin factory and writing his senior thesis on the history of Vietnam economic development through the coffee industry. 

Who better to talk about coffee from Vietnam than Harvey?

I found Harvey’s insights to be fascinating, opening up the door to a coffee origin I have not explored much. Below is an overview of the history of coffee in Vietnam, including some discussion on traditional Robusta coffee processing and roasting. Here is a follow up post about brewing with the Phin and Vietnamese iced coffee. 

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