How to Make Vietnamese Iced Coffee: Featuring Tips from Kathy Manning of Hy Vong
|All photos by Emily Codik|
|A cool glass of Vietnamese iced coffee|
Kathy Manning, one of the proprietors of Hy Vong -- the Calle Ocho staple for Vietnamese fare for over thirty years -- guided me through the process for making a frosty cup of the ca phe sua da at home.
To begin, it's necessary to gather up a few tools. Start off by investing a couple of dollars in the phin filter. The filter is composed of three parts: a press, a chamber and a cover (also serves as a little coaster). I picked up mine at PK Oriental Mart for less than $4, but it is also available online. Since theses are single-serve filters, it's also best to purchase a couple per household.
Next, select the appropriate coffee. The most common options include Trung Nguyen -- which has added butter flavorings -- or Café du Monde with chicory. At Hy Vong, Manning uses a cinnamon-roasted coffee special ordered via Norman Brothers. If you don't have access to any of these, then Manning simply recommends looking for a medium-coarse ground Vienna roast, since darker roasts will stand up best to the sweet milk. The grind is extremely important too, because fine grinds won't benefit the slow drip.
>When looking for condensed milk, be sure to select a pure product, with no fillers like partially hydrogenated oils. Look for brands like Longevity Sweetened Condensed Milk, or any other pure condensed milks with only two ingredients: milk and sugar.
To begin, select a heat-proof glass and add about two tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk. Place the phin filter atop the glass and add about two tablespoons of coffee. Shake to level and top off with the press.
Boil one cup of water and add a small splash through the filter. Once the coffee begins to drip, proceed by adding the rest of the water until the chamber is full.
The entire drip will take about three to five minutes to complete. In the mean time, prepare a tall glass with ice. Once the coffee is ready, set aside the filter and stir the mixture with a spoon to combine the condensed milk and coffee. Add the coffee to the glass with ice, and enjoy the sweetest antidote to any hot day.
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