Vietnamese Coconut Coffee Recipe & Tutorial

Authentic Vietnamese coconut coffee is made with a phin filter, and dark-roasted robusta beans served with coconut cream over ice. Here’s how to make it yourself.

April 27, 2024
A glass of Vietnamese coconut coffee with a phin filter and real coconut.

Coconuts are plentiful in the hot, tropical Vietnamese climate — so it’s not surprising that refreshing coconut milk has become a staple in Vietnamese meals and drinks — including classic Vietnamese iced coffee.

Vietnamese coconut coffee is made by blending strong Coffea robusta with coconut cream. The intensely sweet, creamy texture of the coconut perfectly offsets the bitterness of the coffee.

Of course, the ingredients are only one part of the equation —find out how to put it all together for an authentic cup of Vietnamese coconut coffee. 

How to Prepare Cà Phê Dừa (Vietnamese Coconut Coffee)

Vietnamese coffee is typically made using a phin filter, which creates a strong, rich, intensely bold brew. This strong coffee is then mixed with either condensed milk, egg foam, or coconut cream.

There are three elements to brewing this coffee:

  1. Quality Vietnamese coffee — A high-quality robusta coffee is a must. We recommend using either our HaNoi or BanMe blends for the best results.
  2. Sweetened condensed milk — Traditional Vietnamese coconut coffee calls for quality sweetened condensed milk. You can use sweetened condensed coconut milk or sugar if you want to make a dairy-free/ vegetarian/ vegan version.
  3. Coconut milk — Make sure it’s natural, and use full-fat canned milk instead of low-fat milk in a carton.

For a somewhat lighter version, albeit less authentic, use an arabica/robusta blend like our DaNang coffee.

What You’ll Need (Ingredients & Supplies)

Before you start, make sure you have everything you need on hand. You don’t need the coffee grinder if you have pre-ground coffee. 

The quantities in this recipe are for brewing a single cup of coconut coffee with a standard 4 oz phin (120 mL).

You’ll need the following ingredients and supplies to make authentic Vietnamese coconut coffee:

  • A traditional Vietnamese phin filter 
  • Coffee grinder
  • High-quality robusta coffee
  • Boiling water
  • Coconut milk/cream (canned, full-fat)
  • Sweetened condensed milk (or dairy-free alternative)
  • Heat-resistant glass cup 
  • Frother or shaker

Step-By-Step Instructions: Vietnamese Coconut Coffee

Once you have your supplies rounded up, you can start brewing your coffee.

Follow these steps for an authentic cup of Vietnamese coconut coffee:

Step 1: Measure & Grind the Coffee

If preparing whole beans, use a coffee grinder or a bag of pre-ground coffee to skip this step. A fine grind, like sand, is ideal for phin filters.

Weigh out two tablespoons of coffee (14 grams) per cup. If you have a larger phin filter, adjust the quantities accordingly.

Step 2: Assemble the Phin Filter

Place the phin filter plate directly on top of your heat-resistant mug or glass and put the brew chamber on top. You’ll need the gravity press and lid, so keep them close by.

Step 3: Add Coffee Grounds & Gravity Press

Add the coffee to the brew chamber and shake it gently to even out the grounds. Tamp down the coffee grounds with the press.

Step 4: Add the Boiling Water

The water stage has two parts — a brief bloom stage to eliminate air trapped between the grounds and the brewing stage where all the extraction magic takes place:

  • The Bloom Stage — Add just enough boiling water to cover 1–2 cm above the top of the gravity press. Wait 45 seconds to allow the gases to escape — you’ll see some bubbling during this stage.
  • The Brewing Stage — After 30 seconds, fill the water to just below the brim of the filter. Add the lid to keep the heat in while the brew steeps.

It takes a minute or two for the first drops of coffee to appear, and the entire process should be completed in 5 or 6 minutes. It may take up to 7 minutes if you are using a larger phin filter.

Step 5: Combine the Coconut Milk & Condensed Milk

Add 1/3 cup of coconut milk and 2–3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to a saucepan and heat over low heat. Continue to stir the mixture until it’s fully combined, and remove from the heat when small bubbles start to appear around the edges. 

Do not let it boil. Carefully pour the mixture into your serving glass.

Step 6: Froth the Coffee (Optional)

Remove the phin filter and froth the coffee by using an electric frother. If you do not have one of these, you can place the coffee in a shaker, blender bottle, or any container with a secure lid and shake it vigorously for about 20 seconds. This step is optional, but we think it makes all the difference. You could also try frothing the milk instead of the coffee to see which you prefer.

Step 7: Add the Coffee 

Add the coffee to your coconut milk mixture, including the coffee foam. Add shredded coconut or other toppings if you don’t mind the additional calories.

How to Prepare Cà Phê Dừa đá (Iced Coconut Coffee)

Vietnamese iced coconut coffee is prepared in much the same way as the hot alternative, except add ice to the milk to create a coconut slushy. 

Iced coconut coffee is the perfect drink to savor on a hot day, and you can add different toppings, such as ice cream, chocolate, or whipped cream, depending on how rich and luxurious of a drink you want.

Related: Guide to Brewing Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Additional Tools Required

You’ll need the same tools except the saucepan. Instead, you’ll need a blender to combine the condensed milk, coconut milk, and ice into a coconut slush mixture.

Vietnamese coconut coffee requires the above supplies plus the following:

  • Ice 
  • Blender 

Steps for Making Iced Vietnamese Coconut Coffee

The process doesn’t differ too much from the hot coffee, but there are some tricks to getting it just right.

Follow these steps to make an iced Vietnamese coconut coffee. 

Step 1: Follow Steps 1–4 for Making Coconut Coffee

Follow all the above steps to brew the coffee using a phin filter.

Step 2: Create a Coconut Slushy

Fill a small bowl with ice and combine it with 1⁄3 cup of coconut milk and 2–3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Stir the canned coconut milk first to incorporate the thick cream on top. 

Pour the mixture into a blender, or use a handheld blender to churn the mixture until it’s fluffy and looks like snow; make sure there are no chunks of ice.

Step 3: Froth the Coffee

Remove the phin filter and froth the coffee with an electric frother. If you do not have one, place the coffee into a shaker, blender bottle, or any container with a secure lid and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. 

It helps to cool the coffee before adding the slushy; put it in the refrigerator first — if you can stand the wait.

Step 4: Add the Coconut Slushy & Additional Toppings 

Scoop the coconut milk mixture into the coffee and top with shredded coconut, ice cream, chocolate shavings, dried fruit, or any other topping of your choice. 

FAQs: Vietnamese Coconut Coffee

Have some more questions about coconut coffee? Hopefully, our FAQs will fill in any gaps.

1. Are there ready-to-drink options if I don’t have time to make coconut coffee?

Yes! If you don't fancy preparing it, you can buy our Vietnamese instant coffee with coconut in it. All you need to do is mix one packet with hot water and pour over ice. We also stock Ready-to-Drink Coconut Cold Brew Cans so you can take your coffee on the go.

2. Can I make coconut milk?

If you want to make the freshest possible cup, you can try making coconut milk at home by pureeing 300g of coconut with warm water and then placing it in a filter cloth bag. 

This will give you the equivalent of approximately 80 ml of canned coconut milk. To get the desired consistency, add 20 ml of whipping cream and 25 g of condensed milk to your ice cubes to create the slushy mix. Experiment with quantities to ensure the mixture isn’t too thick or too liquidy. 

3. How many calories are in coconut coffee?

This recipe for Vietnamese coconut coffee has around 130 calories per cup without any other additions. 

Coffee isn’t the culprit when it comes to calorie consumption, but adding condensed milk, coconut milk, and any extra toppings can all add up, as can the size of your drink. 

Condensed milk and coconut milk are fairly calorie-dense, as are many of the toppings and additions. As with anything, enjoy this drink in moderation. 

There are ways to reduce the calories in Vietnamese coffee, if you don’t mind straying from the traditional recipe a little. 

4. Can I make iced Vietnamese coconut coffee if I don’t have a blender?

A high-speed blender is the best tool for making the coconut slushy quickly, but don't worry if you don't have one. You can crush the ice instead; just try to get it as finely crushed as possible to get the fluffy snow effect.

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