Classic Vietnamese Coffee From Sahra Nguyen

June 20, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
  • Prep time 2 minutes
  • Cook time 8 minutes
  • makes 4 ounces coffee
Author Notes

Phin drip coffee is a quintessential morning time drink in Vietnam—and since it's so simple to prepare at home, there's no reason why it shouldn't be your quintessential morning drink, too. It just requires a couple gadgets, some of which you may already have around (a stainless steel for one, which will run you about $15, an electric kettle or regular kettle fitted with a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the water, and a trusty coffee grinder) and good beans.

After that, it's all in the ratio and technique. Luckily for us, coffee expert Sahra Nguyen and her team at Nguyen Coffee Supply kindly shared her "recipe" for this classic concoction, and offered a few tips to help you make your very best brew at home.

Recommended coffee: Loyalty or Truegrit (for stronger coffee). The robusta beans in this signature blend are indicative of Vietnamese coffee culture.

Grind size: Fine, like sand. Check the grinder manual for your grinder, look for the "Pour Over" setting, then go a tiny bit more coarse. Dialing in the phin filter with the right grind size is critical to making a proper brew you'll enjoy. Keep in mind that the coffee is fully immersed within the phin filter and it's a slow drip method, so if it's too fine, it may over extract. If it's too coarse, it will flow through too fast and under extract. See time benchmarks below.

Coffee:water ratio: We recommend starting at a 1:2 ratio of ounces of water to tablespoons of coffee. If you're using a 4-ounce phin filter, that would mean you'd use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee and 4 ounces of water. All this said, there's no wrong way to enjoy your coffee. Start with our benchmarks, then freestyle on the water to coffee ratio until you find your personal preference (aka the perfect cup). —Food52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Classic Vietnamese Coffee From Sahra Nguyen
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) of ground coffee
  • 4 ounces water
  1. In an electric kettle or stovetop kettle fitted with a thermometer, heat at least two cups of water to 205°F.
  2. Add the ground coffee into the brew chamber of a phin filter.
  3. Shake the phin filter to even out grinds, then gently drop in the gravity press.
  4. Place the filter plate on top of your glass, then place the brew chamber on top of the plate. (Optional: Place the entire setup on a kitchen scale and zero it out.)
  5. Pour 0.8 oz (18 grams, or 2 tablespoons) water into the brew chamber to bloom the coffee for 30 to 40 seconds. (If you’re eyeballing this, just pour in enough water to cover filter press with ½-inch water.)
  6. Pour up to 3.2 oz (90 grams, or ½ cup) of water and let drip. The first drip should drop before 2 minutes, and the brew will finish around 10 to 15 minutes later.
  7. Enjoy black, or with sweetened condensed milk, sugar, milk, or black. You can even add more hot water to dilute it a bit, or make it iced (we recommend trying Phin Brewing Over Ice. Video here:!

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