My last post was about Vietnamese iced coffee and searching for that ideal restaurant-style recipe. I bought a phin, which is a metal drip brewer, and I found some Trung Nguyen coffee in Chinatown.
My first stop was the recipe on the coffee can, which suggested a 3:25:1 water to coffee ratio. I think in the end, I ended up with roughly 4:1 or 6:1. It took roughly 10-15 minutes to drain. Then you mix in a big spoonful of sweetened condensed milk before pouring it over ice in a pint glass. Upon trying it, it’s straight gasoline. It’s not bad, it’s just way too strong, even at lower strength and over ice. It could half done with maybe half a glass of milk to further dilute the flavor.
Getting it right
My second recipe was roughly 30g of Ethiopian coffee, ground medium. I had some sitting around and decided to see if the long drain time was from the coffee brand or my approach. Since the phin holds roughly 240g of water, that’s an 8:1 ratio. After 10 minutes it made a strong but less abrasive coffee that I then poured over ice and added half and half. Given the amount of coffee and the brew time, I expected more flavor, but it was a light roast, so it’s not surprising.
My third try was 24g of Trung Nguyen coffee. Other sites have suggested a 10:1 ratio. Hario, the Japanese brand, suggests 11:1 in its Japanese iced recipe, so there’s a precedent there. It made a strong coffee, ready for sweetened condensed milk and ice.
From this experience, I’ve developed two recipes, a modified Vietnamese coffee recipe and a standard iced coffee recipe for use with any coffee.
The Vietnamese recipe is spot-on and mostly measurement-free and the iced coffee recipe is great for a lazy day that you don’t want to do precise pour-over or use a paper filter.
Modified Vietnamese coffee recipe
- Wet inside of phin
- Add 24-30g Trung Nguyen coffee, roughly 4 even tablespoons, and place top filter
- Add a splash of boiling water roughly equal to the amount of coffee
- Wait 30 seconds then fill water to top of phin, place cover on phin
- Once handle on top filter is not submerged, lift it to encourage quicker draining (if you’d like)
- Once dripping is complete, add one big spoonful of sweetened condensed milk and stir to dissolve
- Pour coffee and condensed milk into a pint glass full of ice and stir to chill coffee.
Iced coffee recipe
- Follow steps 1-5 above, using 30g of freshly ground coffee of any type.
- If grind is correct, coffee should drain in under 10 minutes. If it doesn’t, adjust grind slightly coarser, aiming for 6-8 minutes.
- Once dripping is complete, pour coffee over ice in a pint glass (16 oz) and add half and half or milk, stirring to chill coffee quickly.
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