Vietnamese coffee made with condensed milk, egg, yogurt or coconut cream beats dalgona coffee any day. So after you’ve experimented with whipped coffee and participated in the #dalgonacoffeechallenge we challenge you to spoil yourself this weekend and make these delicious Vietnamese coffees.
Vietnamese coffee made with condensed milk, egg, yogurt, or coconut cream are some of the most deliciously comforting coffees you can make in your own kitchen if you’re staying home to social distance or self-isolate this weekend, and they taste infinitely better than the dalgona coffee that has whipped social media into a frenzy in recent months.
Of course, you can find this thick syrupy coffee made from dark roasted robusta coffee beans, combined with sweetened condensed milk, served in tall glasses right across Southeast Asia, not only in Vietnam. The heady drip filter brew is the traditional local coffee of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, despite the proliferation and popularity of third wave cafes with baristas crafting specialty coffees from single origin fair-trade beans.
Here in Cambodia, it’s traditional Cambodian coffee that’s typically sipped alongside a bowl of breakfast noodle soup in local eateries. Whereas lattes and cappuccinos are lingered over in contemporary cafes and bought to take away from roadside coffee carts. Of course, now we are all staying at home, we are making our own, which brings us to dalgona coffee…
Vietnamese Coffee Made With Condensed Milk, Egg, Yogurt or Coconut Cream Beats Dalgona Coffee Any Day
So What is Dalgona Coffee?
Dalgona coffee is made with three equal parts of instant coffee, sugar and hot water. (Start with two teaspoons of each, but note that many dalgona coffee makers are using much more than that to get the dark caramel colour). The coffee-sugar mixture is then vigorously whipped to a consistency that could be anywhere between a froth, foam, cream, meringue, or cake frosting depending on how long and hard you whip for. (By hand is hard work; an electric blender is best.) A dollop is then piled and swirled atop a glass of cold milk where you can let the caramel-coloured topping seep into the milk naturally or you can stir it in.
Dalgona coffee isn’t about the taste of the coffee, but rather how photogenic it looks. The dalgona coffee-making trend began on social media, after all. It started innocently back in late January after a famous South Korean actor shared a snap on social media of a whipped coffee he had in Macau, which he said reminded him of dalgona, a retro South Korean honeycomb-like treat, shaped like a lollypop, that was popularised in the 1970s. The name ‘dalgona coffee’ stuck as the whipped coffee is the same caramel colour and has a flavour reminiscent of the toffee-like taste of dalgona.
But dalgona coffee making didn’t really take off until February, when a South Korean influencer 뚤기ddulgi posted a video on YouTube on how to make dalgona coffee. That clip went viral and has since had millions of views. As South Koreans started to stay home after the country was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the craze exploded as everyone began sharing their dalgona coffee making attempts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, which is how dalgona coffee also became known as ‘TikTok coffee’ and ‘frothy coffee’.
As the novel coronavirus spread around the world and people began staying at home to social distance and self-isolate, so too did the trend of dalgona coffee making spread across the globe, and with it the dalgona coffee-making selfies, pieces-to-camera, tutorials, and experiments with everything from chocolate and macha to pandan and purple taro.
Whipped Coffee and Beaten Coffee Came Long Before Dalgona Coffee
Of course, it’s probably time to mention that dalgona coffee is not new or ‘native’ to South Korea as some reports claim. Whipped coffee is made in numerous countries, from South Asia to South America. In India, it’s called ‘beaten coffee’ or ‘phenti hui’ and is made with hot milk, while in Greece it’s called cafe frappe or Nescafe frappe, where it was supposedly first invented by a Nescafe representative in Thessaloniki in 1957.
In Australia, we called it whipped coffee when I was a teenager in the early to mid Eighties. I have no idea exactly where or how the trend started in those pre-social media and pre-internet days (does anyone know?), but it might have been in a movie, television show or magazine. I began making whipped coffee about the same time I started baking cheese sticks (no idea if the two were related), when we lived in Alice Springs in Central Australia, and I was studying at home by correspondence.
Correspondence School, an off-shoot of School of the Air, was a form of home-schooling that required great self-discipline. The whipped coffee was my afternoon wake-up to get me through the self-directed learning so I didn’t doze off, and the cheese sticks a snack until mum and dad got home and made dinner. Years later after I moved to Sydney to go to uni, I learnt to make real coffee working in proper cafés and rarely touched instant coffee again, except in emergencies when we’d run out of freshly-grounded beans and would reach for the emergency stash.
It wouldn’t have been until our first summer in Greece in the late Nineties and our first Nescafe frappes at an alfresco café in Athens or on an island that I had whipped coffee again. And, of course, we sipped our iced frappes every morning with our bowls of Greek yoghurt and honey for breakfast, as that’s simply what you did. It was about adopting local rituals and getting a taste of the local scene rather than the taste of the coffee – which is why you need to make these Vietnamese coffees.
While there’s no denying that dalgona coffee looks good, we think these Vietnamese coffees taste better, so after you’ve made your dalgona coffee, try making these Vietnamese coffees with condensed milk, egg, yogurt, and coconut cream.
After You Make Dalgona Coffee, Try These Vietnamese Coffees With Condensed Milk, Egg, Yogurt and Coconut Cream
While dalgona coffee might look cool due its caramel colour and creamy texture, these Vietnamese coffees taste infinitely better. Because dalgona is made with instant coffee powder after all. Call me a coffee snob, but filtered coffee made with good quality, freshly-ground roasted beans tastes a whole lot better.
True coffee snobs who have a preference for Arabica beans will still turn up their noses, however, as traditional Vietnamese coffee is made with roasted robusta beans. Mostly grown and roasted in Vietnam’s coffee capital, Dalat, in the Central Highlands, where there’s also a lively coffee culture, the coffee is increasingly good to excellent.
The body, intensity and nutty taste of robusta may not be to everyone’s liking but it’s perfect for these popular Vietnamese coffees. These robusta beans from Dalat are recommended for their rich, smooth, chocolate flavour although if you’re not a fan of robusta, you might prefer this robusta-arabica blend by Trung Nguyen, a popular Vietnamese coffee brand.
How To Use a Vietnamese Phin Single-Cup Drip Coffee Filter
To make these Vietnamese coffees the way that the locals do, we recommend you use a traditional Vietnamese single-cup drip coffee filter called a phin. A Vietnamese phin is a fantastic souvenir from Vietnam that you can actually use and I usually buy a few whenever I visit and give them as gifts. They can cost as little as one dollar in Vietnam.
If you don’t have a phin, you should be able to find one in your nearest Asian supermarket or Asian grocery store or buy a Vietnamese coffee filter brewer on Amazon. And if you can’t do that, you could try making your coffee using a moka stove-top espresso maker, an espresso machine or French press.
The stainless steel phin is typically comprised of three to four parts: a filter that looks like a saucer with holes in the centre (this part sits on top of your glass with condensed milk), a cup with built-in filter (holes), which will sit on top of the ‘saucer’ (sometimes these two parts are one and the same), another separate filter component that goes inside that cup, and, lastly, a cover.
How to Make Vietnamese Coffee With Condensed Milk
In Vietnam, hot Vietnamese drip coffee with milk is called ca phe sua nong – or more correctly, cà phê sữa nóng – and it has traditionally been made with canned sweetened condensed milk due to the lack of fresh milk and historical challenges of storing fresh milk in tropical climates. The sweetened condensed milk also provides the perfect balance to the bitter robusta coffee.
To make Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, pour the thick sweet milk into a glass. Try one-fifth of the glass the first time as you can always add more or reduce the amount to your taste the next time you make it. The condensed milk should be sweet enough so there should be no need to add sugar.
Pop the stainless steel saucer of your phin on top of your glass, then the cup and filter on top of that. Pour your coffee grounds in next, then pour hot water over the grounds. The coffee will slowly drip through the filter into your glass. Once all the coffee has dripped in, remove the phin and stir vigorously.
If you want Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk, which is called ca phe sua da – or cà phê sữa đá – simply drop some ice cubes in and stir again. And if you don’t want condensed milk at all, then don’t pour condensed milk into the glass and let the coffee drip straight in. Note, for when you’re in Vietnam, hot black coffee is cà phê đen and if you want a Vietnamese black iced coffee then it’s called cà phê đá.
How to Make Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Rich and creamy, Vietnamese coffee with egg gives dalgona coffee a run for its money. Called ca phe trung – or cà phê trứng – Vietnamese egg coffee is made from adding a rich, creamy, almost meringue-like layer to the top of your Vietnamese drip coffee, which is made by whipping eggs with condensed milk and sugar. Lovers of Vietnamese egg coffee ten to liken it to the Italian dessert tiramisu without the liquor.
Invented in Hanoi in the 1940s, Vietnamese egg coffee has been around for longer than not only dalgona coffee but also Greece’s café frappe. It was concocted by a former Hotel Metropole staffer, in response to a shortage of fresh milk, who left the luxury lodgings to open his own coffee house, Cafe Giang (39 Nguyen Huu Huan), in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where you can still sample the egg coffee made to his original recipe.
To make two glasses of Vietnamese egg coffee, first prepare your coffee, then beat two large egg yolks with four tablespoons of condensed milk and two teaspoons of sugar. Using a stand mixer is far easier and faster than using a wire whisk, which might take you around ten minutes. Once you have a thick, frothy cream, pour it on top of your coffee immediately as this is a warm drink.
My favourite Vietnamese coffee, Vietnam’s egg coffee should be going viral during the coronavirus period. It looks just as good as dalgona coffee, and it tastes a whole lot better. People have experimented with Vietnam’s egg coffee. too. The most successful has been Vietnamese egg coffee with cacao or cà phê trứng cacao.
How to Make Vietnamese Coffee With Yogurt
Yogurt is so good in Vietnam and so Vietnamese coffee with yogurt is bound to be delicious. Vietnamese yogurt coffee is called ca phe sua chua or cà phê sữa chua and it was apparently introduced to Vietnam during the French colonial period. It is essentially an iced Vietnamese filtered coffee with yogurt instead of condensed milk.
It might sound strange, but Vietnam’s creamy yogurt blends just as well with the traditional black Vietnamese coffee as condensed milk does although this is definitely a coffee for people who find condensed milk too sweet and tend to prefer sour over sweet. If you’re not in Vietnam, use a Greek-style yoghurt, and of course you can sweeten it up by using a sweet yoghurt.
To make two glasses of chilled Vietnamese coffee with yogurt the easy way, first prepare your coffee and let it cool, add a scoop of crushed ice to each glass, then two large tablespoons of creamy natural yoghurt to each, followed by a tablespoon of condensed milk to each glass, and stir.
An alternative method, which makes for a richer yogurt coffee is to mix together one cup of creamy plain yoghurt with half a cup of sweetened condensed milk, and add this to your iced coffee. Don’t forget the ice.
How to Make Vietnamese Coffee With Coconut Cream/Milk
Fresh coconut cream and coconut milk are wonderful in Vietnam and Vietnamese coffee with coconut cream or coconut milk is another rich, creamy coffee. Vietnamese coconut coffee is called ca phe dua or cà phê dừa and it’s another Vietnamese coffee that is said to date back to French Indochina.
For maximum richness and a special treat (this is not the kind of coffee you could drink everyday) use coconut cream, although coconut milk makes for a lighter coffee. Unless you have access to fresh coconuts, you will probably need to use canned coconut cream or coconut milk. As with all of these Vietnamese coffees, you can enjoy this hot or cold, but when in sultry Vietnam you will definitely want to sip this with ice.
To make a hot Vietnamese coffee with coconut, try two portions of coffee, prepared as above, one portion of coconut cream or coconut milk and one portion of sweetened condensed milk. You can warm the milks in a pot on the stove or in a microwave if you like your coffee steaming-hot.
To make two glasses of chilled Vietnamese coffee with coconut, first prepare your coffee as above and let it cool, add a scoop of crushed ice to each glass, then the same portions of coconut cream or coconut milk and condensed milk, as above. Unless you have a super sweet tooth, you probably won’t need sugar.
Another option is to add coconut ice-cream so you have a Vietnamese-style affogato. The easiest way to do this is after you combine your coconut cream and condensed milk pop it in a plastic container and freeze it until it’s frozen, then add it to your chilled glasses of coffee.
Do let us know if you make any of these. We’d love to know how your Vietnamese coffee turns out for you. We’d also love to see someone start a #VietnameseCoffeeChallenge…