Vietnamese coffee is all about attention to detail and knowing how best to use the iconic filter. These Vietnamese filters, known by their brand name of Phin, are ubiquitous across the Asian country. They’re becoming more and more prevalent around the world – as coffee lovers pick up on this special treat.
With this guide, you’ll be all set when it comes to making this unique drink.
It all comes down to this crucial piece of equipment. Like some other brands such as Kleenex and Band-Aid, in this situation, one name has become synonymous with the particular type of filter in general. And this brand is Phin.
What makes a Phin so unique is its combination of elegance and simplicity. The function is basically just a typical pour-over – but the iconic shape and construction hide all this. Not only does this lead to an aesthetically pleasing design, these filters are also a lot of fun to use.
When we set out to purchase one of these, we went straight to the local Chinatown and found an extensive kitchen supply store. As soon as we were asked about a Vietnamese coffee filter, we were directed to the Phin boxes, displayed prominently along the wall.
If you don’t have access to this type of store, you can also find these products online. Here’s the one we recommend:
1. Set up your Phin.
Remove the insert of your Phin filter. Pack coffee grounds into the filter, and then place the insert on top of the grounds and press down snugly.
2. Add the sweetened condensed milk.
Pour about 1/3rd of an inch of sweetened condensed milk into your glass or mug. A glass will allow you to see the layers in the finished product – we highly recommend this presentation.
3. Brew the coffee.
Place the filter on top of your cup. Pour a touch of boiling water into the filter – just enough to wet the beans – and wait for the grounds to bloom. Then fill the filter and let the coffee drain into your cup.
4. Admire, then stir.
Step back and admire the layer of coffee over the condensed milk. Then stir everything up (vigorously) and enjoy!
Don’t think too hard about this – we recommend just using some soap and water.
Remember to lift out the insert and to dump your used grounds. Then use your hands or a soft sponge to just lightly scrub the coffee gunk off of each component, and lay them all in a dish rack to dry. Be sure to keep the main body, the insert, and the lid all together!