How to Make Delicious Ube Iced Latte With Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Ube Latte is made by brewing coffee with a phin filter and combining it with whisked coconut milk and purple yam extract to give it its signature purple color. It is usually served over ice.

June 7, 2024
A cup of ube latte next to a glass of Vietnamese coffee.

Purple ube latte? Is there such a thing? Ube has recently gone viral on social media with people posting about their ube treats on TikTok and Instagram, drawing hundreds of thousands to even millions of views. Ube latte in particular gives you lovely swirls of purple, white, and coffee brown.

If you’re curious about its tastes then read on! We will show you how easy it is to make this sweet and creamy drink without having to leave the comfort of your own home. The best thing about our recipe? We’ll be using Vietnamese coffee, our very own SaiGon OG

It’s a “marriage” of two Southeast Asian cultures — strong Vietnamese coffee balanced by the delicate sweetness of Philippines’ ube — both enhancing each other’s flavors.

What is Ube?

Ube (pronounced oo-beh) or purple yam is a tuber that can survive anywhere it is planted in the Philippines. It has been an essential food source in Filipino cuisine for several hundred years.

However, it has only recently taken the world by storm due to its distinctive color and flavor. It has been used as a staple to make jams, desserts, cakes, and even savory dishes for some time, but the fact that it can also be used to make a stunning layered coffee has given it widespread appeal.

What is Ube Latte and How Does It Taste Like?

Ube latte, simply put, is a latte infused with purple yam. The tuber gives the latte a sweet, earthy taste and a vibrant purple color. Don’t confuse ube yams with purple sweet potatoes though as they are not the same. Purple sweet potatoes have a very different texture, taste, and starch content compared to purple yams.

We’re going to use Vietnamese coffee for this recipe. Vietnamese coffee is traditionally made from dark-roasted robusta coffee beans and has pretty strong, bold coffee flavors. But you can choose any high-quality coffee of your choice to make ube latte. It really depends on personal preference. 

How to Prepare Authentic Ube Latte at Home

Authentic Vietnamese coffee is brewed using a phin filter to create a bold, intensely flavored beverage. This strong espresso is combined with various ingredients, such as condensed milk, egg foam, coconut milk, or ube yams to create a range of diverse drinks.

There are five defining components of Vietnamese ube latte:

  1. Quality Vietnamese coffee — We recommend using a high-quality blend, such as SaiGon OG to ensure the best results.
  2. Coconut milk — Remember to give the can a good shake before use to ensure a mix of coconut cream and milk.
  3. Ube extract — Readily available online in powder, halaya (purple yam jam), or syrup form. 
  4. Syrup — You can buy this or make your own by mixing equal amounts of sugar and hot water.
  5. Vanilla extract — For those who prefer a sweeter beverage.

Related: Ube Espresso Martini Recipe

How to Brew Vietnamese Coffee

It’s important to get the brewing process right if you want to achieve the bold, intense flavors of Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnamese coffee is brewed using a tool called a phin filter — a small metal filter that works similarly to a French press. You can purchase a phin from

A phin creates a slow-drip brewing process that allows the coffee to bloom and steep slowly to create a stronger, more heavily caffeinated cup. 

If you buy pre-ground coffee rather than beans, you won’t need a coffee grinder.

The recipe below shows quantities required for a single cup of ube latte using a standard 4 oz phin (120 ml). You will need to adjust quantities accordingly if you are making coffee for more than one person.

What You’ll Need (Ingredients & Tools)

  • A traditional Vietnamese phin filter 
  • Coffee grinder
  • High-quality coffee 
  • Boiling water
  • Heatproof cup and heat-resistant serving glass
  • Whisk
  • Can opener
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Unsweetened coconut milk/cream (canned, full-fat)
  • Ube extract
  • Syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Extra milk of choice
  • Ice (optional)

Step-By-Step Instructions: Ube Latte Made With Vietnamese Coffee

Before making the ube mix, you need to brew your coffee first, particularly if you are serving the drink over ice. You’d want to give the coffee a chance to cool before adding everything in.

Follow the steps below to create the perfect cup of ube latte.

Step 1: Measure and Grind the Coffee

The size of your phin filter will determine the amount of coffee you need. Use a coffee grinder if preparing whole beans, or select a bag of our pre-ground coffee to skip this step.

If grinding your coffee beans, use a fine-ground setting. A quick spray with water dramatically improves the grind consistency of the coffee.

Step 2: Assemble the Phin Filter

Put the phin filter plate directly on top of your cup and add the brew chamber. The gravity press and lid will be required later, so keep them handy.

Step 3: Add Coffee Grounds

Add your chosen coffee to the chamber according to the size of your phin filter. Start with the 4 oz filter for single servings and add about 21 grams (3 tablespoons) of coffee. You can reduce the quantity to 2 tablespoons if you find this too strong.

Step 4: Add the Gravity Press

Level out the coffee grounds by shaking the filter. Add the gravity press using very light pressure to ensure even distribution.

Step 5: Add the Water

The Bloom Stage — Add just enough hot water to cover 1–2 cm above the top of the gravity press. Wait approximately 45 seconds to allow the gases to escape.

The Brewing Stage — Fill the water to just below the brim of the filter.

Step 6: Wait for the Brew to Finish Dripping

Place the lid on top and wait for the brew cycle to finish. The first drops of coffee will appear within 2 minutes, and the entire brewing process should be completed in 5 minutes. Larger phin filters may take slightly longer.

Step 7: Make the Ube Mix

While you’re waiting for your coffee to finish brewing, you can go ahead and mix up the ube mix. 

Shake the coconut milk well to mix the cream and milk and transfer 1/2 of the can into a mixing bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of ube extract, 3 oz of syrup (or homemade syrup made with sugar and hot water), and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whisk together well to create the ube infusion. Pour the ube mix into your serving glass.

Step 8: Add Ice and Milk

Add enough ice to fill the volume of your serving glass. Add 2 oz milk of your choice. You can put your coffee in the fridge before adding it to your ube mix if you want to cool it further before serving it over ice. 

Step 9: Add your Phin Coffee to the Ube Mix 

If you’re keen to keep the layers separate, pour your phin coffee onto a spoon resting on top of the ube mix, then enjoy the stunning layered effect before savoring this delicious drink.

Related: Where to Buy Authentic Vietnamese Coffee

What if I Want a Hot Ube Latte?

The recipe above is the most authentic and traditional, but there are other ways to make this drink. If you want to enjoy a hot ube latte, you can skip the ice and heat the coconut milk before whisking it into the ube extract, syrup, and vanilla. If you have a milk frother, you can froth the 2 oz milk of your choice and add the milk foam to your phin coffee before combining it with the ube mixture. 

Ube latte can also be made with condensed milk instead of adding syrup and vanilla, but it largely depends on your palate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different quantities of coffee, different types and amounts of milk, alternative sweeteners, and try the recipe hot or cold.

FAQs: Ube Latte with Vietnamese Coffee

Want to know more about ube and how to use this sweet, delicious tuber in your dishes? Then here are some frequently asked questions about it. 

1. Is ube latte healthy?

The ube (Dioscorea alata) is rich in antioxidants and contains vitamins A, C, and E, along with a high level of potassium, so it is nutritious and tasty.

2. Can I use fresh ube, or can I only get the extract?

Extracts are the easiest and most cost-effective way to make ube latte. You can also get hold of powders and pastes, and even ube-flavored condensed milk or ube jam (halaya). If you want a truly authentic ube latte you might be able to find fresh or frozen purple yams in Asian grocery stores. Fresh ube will need to be peeled, chopped, cooked, and mashed before it can be added to your drink.

3. Is ube latte dairy-free?

This largely depends on the type of milk you use to make it. Coconut milk is non-dairy, but you will need to add non-dairy alternatives such as oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk as your milk of choice if you want to avoid dairy options. Using plant-based alternatives also makes this drink suitable for vegans.

Related: Vegan Vietnamese Coffee Recipe

4. If I choose to use ube powder, how do I incorporate it into the recipe?

You can mix ube powder into the brewed coffee while it is still hot to give it a chance to dissolve before combining the rest of the ingredients. 

5. Is ube latte sweet?

Purple yams have a natural sweetness, but you might find it quite mild if you have a sweet tooth. If you favor the nutty profile of this drink, you may not need to add any sweetener at all, although you can add anything from condensed milk to sugar, honey, agave syrup, or Stevia.