Coffee is such an incredible product. All around the world you will find it and all around the world you will find consumers. Every consumer with their own way of making is, their own way of drinking it, their own way of loving it. I am being intrigued about coffee cultures and would love to know all about it. Today I start with the Vietnamese way of making coffee, but with a little bit of Vietnam and a little bit of me.
Let’s start with some background information about the coffee in Vietnam before we start making cà phê sữa đá. Coffee was introduced by the French in 1857 (The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann).
Vietnam is the second world producer of coffee in the world. You might know that Brazil is number one and that Colombia is doing a great job as well, but lot’s of people forget about Vietnam. Because the biggest coffee production that comes from Vietnam is Robusta. There are two main kinds of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. Specialty coffee is always 100% Arabica. So, that why Vietnam is not quit known as a big coffee producer, because it’s not part of the specialty coffee culture. There are some differences between Arabica and Robusta that are quit known. Let me explain some differences short and quick.
Robusta vs. Arabica
First of all let’s start with the caffeine. Robusta contains a higher percentage of caffeine. It’s like almost double, 2,7% to 1,5%. Robusta grows faster and easier. The tree gives fruit after a year while a baby Arabica plants needs to be taking care of for almost five years. Next to that Robusta grows on lower altitude, which makes it easier to harvest. Robusta is more prone against diseases. The high level of caffeine protects the plant. All of this makes robusta a profitable product and makes it a cheaper product. Negative sides are the lack of taste, missing characteristic flavors like fruity, floral, chocolaty, nutty. Robusta is pretty earthy and can taste like rubber and wood. Not very pleasant. That’s why you mainly find Robusta in blends, due to the taste and to lower the price. For example instant coffee is 100% Robusta. All you need from that is get the caffeine and the low price. One last important fact, the name of the plant is actually Coffea Canephora while the commercial name is Robusta.
Let’s leave Canephora aside and focus on specialty coffee (Get to know more about specialty coffee) and on the Vietnamese iced coffee.
Vietnamese iced coffee recipe
What do we need?
– ground coffee
– ice cubes
– milk (whatever type you prefer)
– 95 ºC water
How do we make it?
Place the brewing cup on a glass or cup (that you won’t use for your final cup of coffee) and add two table spoons of ground coffee to the brewing cup. Screw the filter inside. Don’t screw it too tight, because it will be hard to remove the filter after brewing. Or screw it tight and open it up a bit. Poor a little bit of water to let the coffee settle. In the meantime prepare you glass with ice cubes and milk. Now, when the water is gone in the coffeemaker place it on the glass with milk and ice cubes. It’s time to poor the rest of the water and close the maker with the lid. Now wait till the water is gone (it will take around 3-5 min.) and than it time to mix and sip!
Note: Traditional cà phê sữa đá is made with condensed milk, but I prefer to take non-dairy milk types so I’ve changed it to almond milk.