Cafe Sua Da – Vietnamese Iced Coffee

One of my very few vices in life, coffee marks the start of a bright new morning, the beginning of a good afternoon, and a great evening. In short, if I could have it fed intravenously I probably would. I’m not just talking about any coffee though…definitely not the rocket fuel that is found in most office cafeterias and not quite the designer lattes made by your cutting edge barista at your local Starbucks either.

I’m talking about Vietnamese iced coffee, or as it is usually termed at your favorite Vietnamese coffee shop or restaurant, cafe sua da. Literally translated as “coffee milk ice” it’s usually one of the first Vietnamese beverages that anyone tries out and is the one that leaves the most indelible mark upon your palette. For you hardcore hot coffee drinkers out there, before you scoff at this, I invite you to give it a try and I promise you a whole new coffee experience.

Traditionally made with dark roasted French coffee with chicory, each cup is individually brewed in a small metal drip filter known as a ca phe phin that can be found in almost any asian store for the nominal price of about $3. Each filter has a screw in top that compresses the grounds together much like a french press. What this means is that each individual brewing makes every cup fresh, fast, and with an intensity easily adaptable to your own tastes.

The dark french roast gives this coffee a bold flavor, but what really makes this…I mean REALLY makes this, is the condensed milk that you use in lieu of the traditional cream and sugar or prepared/steamed milk. Add as much or as little as you please, but no matter how much you add, there is no mistaking the sweet, creamy, almost buttery aspect it adds to the brew…sending it into a whole other plane of existence!

Coffe, milk, and ice. That’s all there is to this…SIMPLE and DIVINE. Make no mistake, there’s nothing in this world quite like this coffee/condensed milk combination…and when poured over ice to chill it, it results in a remarkably drinkable, sweet, and mild beverage that is both refreshing as it is memorable.

Cafe Sua Da
As envisioned by TastyDesu

Special equipment: Vietnamese coffee press (ca phe phin)


2 tablespoons of medium coarse ground coffee (Cafe Du Monde is what is most traditionally used)
2 tablespoons Sweetened condensed milk, or more to taste
1 empty glass
1 glass filled to brim with ice
Boiling water


Place condensed milk into empty glass.

Place coffee grounds into press. For a stronger brew, you can hydrate the grounds by stirring in about a teaspoon of water and letting sit for about a minute. Screw top press into cup until secure and in contact with grounds…the tighter you make it, the stronger the coffee will be. Place the press on top of glass with condensed milk and fill press with boiling water. Coffee should begin to immediately drop through and rest on top of condensed milk layer. Cover press with its included lid and set aside.

Once coffee has finished dripping, remove press and set aside. Stir contents of glass until condensed milk is thoroughly incorporated into coffee. Pour over fresh glass containing the ice. Stir and enjoy!

Note: This is highly adaptable and you can adjust both the coffee ground amounts and condensed milk as best suits your own tastes.



~ by tastydesu on February 3, 2010.

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