Vietnamese Iced Coffee ~ Ca Phe Sua Da

This Vietnamese iced coffee, or ca phe sua da, is made with sweetened condensed milk and strongly brewed coffee or espresso. Irresistible any time of day. Here’s how to make it at home.

A glass of Vietnamese iced coffee, made with layers of sweetened condensed milk, coffee, and ice cubes with a coffee drip over it.

You’ll encounter Vietnamese iced coffee at restaurants and street stalls throughout Southeast Asia. And, increasingly, in the states. The moment you first encounter it, wherever you are, you’re going to have an irrepressible desire to know how to make it at home. Keep in mind, it calls for a little patience in its preparation and a little pageantry in its presentation. The preferred cuppa is bracingly strongly brewed coffee, preferably made in an individual Vietnamese coffee filter* which forces boiling water to slowly, slowly drip through the grounds. But you can stir a little gooey sweet goodness into any strongly brewed iced coffee or espresso, regardless of whether it’s hot-brewed, cold-brewed, or Vietnamese-brewed. And then succumb to its seductive charms.–Renee Schettler

Vietnamese Iced Coffee | Ca Phe Sua Da

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 5 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Hot Sour Salty Sweet cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients


Directions

In each of 4 tall glasses, place 3 or 4 ice cubes.

In each of 4 small cups, pour 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and top off each cup with the coffee.

Set a tall glass of ice cubes and a small cup of coffee in front of each person. Give everyone a spoon, preferably long-handled. Instruct everyone to stir the coffee thoroughly to dissolve the sweetened condensed milk.

Then instruct everyone to place the spoon in the tall glass and pour the coffee over the back of the spoon. (Pouring the coffee onto the metal prevents the hot liquid from shattering the glass.) Stir briskly. Sip slowly. Originally published July 31, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the Hot Sour Salty Sweet cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    How Do You Make A Vietnamese Coffee With The Filter-and-Drip Technique? (note: as in the photo featured above)

    • Any strongly brewed coffee will work. But for the classic ca phe sua da experience, place 3 or 4 ice cubes in each of 4 squat glasses. Pour 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk in each glass. Place a small Vietnamese metal coffee filter (available at Asian markets or online) or a camping coffee filter (available at IKEA or REI or online) on top of each glass, fill it with a heaping tablespoon ground coffee or espresso, and pour in enough almost-boiling water to nearly reach the rim of the filter. Place the lid of the filter in place. Now wait. The coffee ought to drip, rather than stream, through the filter, taking anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Stay patient. Let it be a moment of zen for you. When done, remove the filter from the glass and stir briskly. Sip slowly.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Since I usually drink my coffee, whether hot or cold, black without sugar, I wasn’t so sure I’d like this. Boy, was I wrong! It’s creamy, sweet, and rich without the heaviness of cream. What a delight. It’s the perfect sweet pick-me-up treat to cool off with.

    And making a small ritual out of serving the coffee separately from the ice and having your guests blend the two at the table is fun.

    This tastes better than the so-called iced coffees from the various chains out there. It’s very easy to make and extremely delicious. It’s also excellent hot or cold, however, nothing beats it cold with lots of ice on a hot day. Better than iced tea, in my opinion!

    I’ll continue to make this regularly.

    HUNGRY FOR MORE?

    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Comments

    1. I am so tired of buying coffee drinks out, that when I ran across your recipe for Vietnamese Iced Coffee with sweetened condensed milk (my all time favorite ingredient) I fell in love. I love all things coffee. I usually drink mine without sugar, but once in awhile you have to just have something deliciously sweet! Thanks for sharing!

    2. Does anyone here know of a way to make a healthier sweetened condensed milk, without all the sugar? Perhaps made with dates or stevia and one which uses nut milk instead of dairy? This recipe sounds soooo good, but unfortunately I cannot consume dairy or sugar..

      1. Hi C, I’ve seen recipes that call for 1 can full fat coconut milk and 1/3 cup sugar substitute, simmered until reduced by half. I haven’t made it myself so I can’t say for sure how it will turn out. Please let us know if you try it, now I’m curious!

    3. For years I couldn’t drink coffee at all. I developed a sensitivity to it from overindulging as a kid — 2 to 3 pots a day by the time I was 12! The docs said what was affecting me was in the coffee oils, so no coffee ice cream or candy either.

      Then, Hallelujah! Cold brew came along. I still have to limit myself to the occasional iced latte, but I can have coffee again. Now I will get to the point. I love kakigori, the Japanese shaved ice thing? So, when I make my cold brewed coffee concentrate, I freeze some as ice cubes. Then I put them through my shaver, top with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and maybe a twist or two of lemon or orange peel for a little zing.

      Not so very different in ingredients, but the kakigori presentation really makes it perfect for a hot summer day. And no dilution from melting ice this way. 😉

    4. Searching desperately for a Thai iced coffee recipe. I thought for sure you guys would at least have a link! I think I can tweak this one if I can just figure out how much cardamom to add…

      1. Kristin, sorry to disappoint, although I think you’re right, you can just tweak this. I’d smash a cardamom pod and add just a pinch of the seeds (sorry, that’s still inexact…) to the coffee grounds. Let us know how it goes…

    Have something to say?

    Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

    Rate this recipe!

    Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

    Upload a picture of your dish