We all take pictures of our food and our drinks whenever we eat out or, once every blue moon, cook a fancy meal at home. We share our cuisine or the best cuisine that our city has to offer with the whole world.
Coffee lovers have possibly benefitted the most from this kind of exchange by discovering coffee drinks that they would otherwise never even hear about.
We see it all the time with examples such as Swedish egg coffee, dalgona coffee – and most recently, the world has fallen in love with Vietnamese iced coffee. It is a refreshing and sweet beverage made with brewed coffee, condensed milk, and ice.
Everyone was out to buy a Vietnamese coffee maker to try and replicate Vietnamese iced coffee to perfection. Here’s our review (and brewing guide, of course) of the Vietnamese coffee maker, otherwise known as the Vietnamese coffee press.
Review – Trung Nguyen Coffee Maker
Since items like these are quite a rarity in the US, it’s best to go directly online to buy a Vietnamese coffee press. We opted for the Trung Nguyen brand, which is one of the most well-established ones and -very important- genuinely Vietnamese.
The stainless steel look is quite aesthetic and makes it look like any ol’ moka pot or something similar. It’s 1x1x1 inches; incredibly small for a coffee maker. Especially for a coffee maker as self-sufficient as this one – it doesn’t even need a paper filter, just coffee, and water.
Upon unboxing and tinkering with your newest toy like one usually does, you’ll find the Vietnamese coffee maker consists of three distinct parts:
- The main body – where coffee and water go. The bottom of it is perforated, like a filter.
- The press – think of a tamper only that the tamping end is quite thin and more like a filter.
- The saucer – The saucer goes between the cup and the actual coffee maker. It’s also filtered at the center to let the coffee through.
When you hold it for the first time, it is alarming how fragile and thin it is. Though it has that Moka pot look, however, it doesn’t compare to it in sturdiness. The steel walls are relatively thin, and it feels somehow both fragile and hard at the same time.
This makes sense, though: it’s supposed to sit on top of your cup or mug as it drips -like the Clever dripper- so it’s actually good that the coffee maker itself weighs about the same as a handful of pennies.
It also should be noted that buying this coffee maker doesn’t need a lot of consideration, as it’s one of the most inexpensive ones you’ll ever find. Its price usually hovers between $10 and $20, even among the highest quality ones. Coffee makers tend to be quite pricey, so buying a Vietnamese coffee press is refreshing and doesn’t feel like splurging.
Now let’s make some coffee with it!
This is a straightforward brewing method and feels like working a little bit different from other methods— sort of a mix between a French press and a Clever dripper.
Remember, to get that Vietnamese taste, you have to use Vietnamese coffee. Since it was the French that introduced coffee to Vietnam, you’ll have to get some traditional French coffee. Café du Monde, which comes in cans and has chicory for an added earthy flavor, is an ideal choice for this coffee maker.
It may take a few times to get the coffee the way you like it, but there isn’t anything too complicated. You’ll be making good coffee right from the start.
What you’ll need:
- Between 15 and 30 grams of ground coffee, either one or two tablespoons, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
- Hot water: if making iced coffee, 80 ml. If making black coffee, 200 ml.
- A coffee cup or a glass.
- A Vietnamese coffee press.
How to brew:
- Pour your desired amount of coffee into the coffee maker.
- Grab the press and introduce it into the coffee maker. Similarly to how you would work a tamper, press down with medium force to tightly pack the grounds. A twisting motion also helps even the coffee bed, which promotes even extraction.
- Pour 20 ml of hot water (96°C or 204°F) and wait for the bloom.
- After about 30 seconds, proceed to pour the rest of the water.
- Now, we wait. The dripping time will vary depending on how much coffee and water you’ve used.
- After 4 (and up to 7) minutes, your coffee should be ready.
- If making Vietnamese iced coffee: Add 30 ml of sweet condensed milk and plenty of ice to cool it down.
And just like that, you’ve made authentic Vietnamese coffee. Doesn’t it taste great? It was inexpensive, and it didn’t even take longer than 10 minutes. If you ask us, this is one of the most satisfying coffee-making experiences there are, and it’s all thanks to the ingenious Vietnamese coffee maker.
The best part? This brewing method is super versatile, and you can experiment with different grind sizes and endless recipes in it. Although it can’t make more than one or two cups of coffee in one go, you can even make an excellent cold brew in it!
Uống một chút cà phê!