She fell in love with the strong, oily brew at this little bus stop on her way to Da Lat in 2010.
French missionaries first brought robusta coffee (aka Coffea canephora) to Vietnam in the mid-1860s, but due to war and Communist rule, production remained negligible for the next 120 years. Since the 1980s, this small penninsular nation has quietly reentered the global market, ratcheting up production to become the largest exporter of robusta beans in the world.
Vietnamese robusta coffee is smoky and bittersweet, with higher caffeine content than arabica beans grown elsewhere. To fully appreciate the distinct toastiness and chocolate notes of robusta, the Vietnamese use a special filter (aka a “phin”) to brew their elixir one cup at a time Doesn’t it remind you of a stainless steel melitta pour over? 😉
The phin has three components: a chamber, a screen or filter, and a cap that cleverly doubles as a saucer to prevent the chamber from pooling water and grounds on your table when brewing is complete.
With my new phin, making an 8oz cup of authentic Vietnamese coffee is as easy as boiling water! Perch the phin’s chamber section atop your favorite cup, and add 1 tablespoon of coffee. Drop the gravity screen on top of the coffee, then fill the cup 1/4 of the way up. After that first water drips through, fill the cup to the brim and cap it!
It takes approx 4 mins for the water to drip through. The lack of a paper layer in this specialty filter allows the water to absorb more flavor enhancing oils from the grounds, giving the coffee the boldness for which it is famous!
When dripping slows to a stop, remove the lid and place it upside down on the table ➡ it doubles as the phin’s saucer. Ingenious! 🙂
We like our coffee black but you can add cream and sugar, (or even ice it!) According to this website when the Vietnamese add milk, they use sweetened condensed by Longevity brand as opposed to half/half or cream.
Until next time…..
🙂 🙂 🙂
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