Vietnamese Iced Coffee

ca-phe

Vietnamese iced coffee is known as ‘Ca phe da.’ When milk is added it is called, ‘ca phe sua da.’ In northern Vietnam it is called ‘ca phe nau da’ (‘iced brown coffee). In its simplest preperation, Ca phe da is made with finely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (ca phe phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice. Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century. Vietnam quickly became a strong exporter of coffee with many plantations in the central highlands. The beverage was adopted with regional variations. Because of limitations on the availability of fresh milk, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk with a dark roast coffee.

Vietnamese-Americans introduced the practice of adding chicory to coffee, and many Americans today believe that all true Vietnamese coffee contains chicory. One brand that uses chicory is Cafe du Monde, often cited as the coffee to use when brewing Vietnamese iced coffee. However, Cafe du Monde originated in New Orleans, and chicory coffee is an American phenomenon. In Vietnam, coffee is never served with chicory. Vietnamese brands such as Trung Nguyen or Indochine Coffee, both of which are headquartered in Vietnam and offer exclusively coffee grown in the central highlands.

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