It’s rainy, windy, dark and cold out – welcome to November in Vancouver. My final recipe of the year is a very simple one… but if you’ve never tried it before, it’s sure to become a staple for you this season (and, frankly, all year round).
The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in the mid-19th century, and the country’s climate made it an ideal grower for the plant. By that time, milk was a common addition to the beverage in Europe, where fresh milk was easily acquired, but the lack of accessible fresh milk at the time meant that many resorted to using sweetened, condensed milk in their drink instead. The rich sweetness of the milk paired with bitter dark roast coffee creates the perfect contrast in flavours, which is why this way to take coffee, while originally born out of necessity has since become a preferred taste by many.
Getting your hands on a Vietnamese filter (called a phin) is ideal as it creates a stronger brew, however if you don’t have it, a French press will do the trick. As well, getting traditional Vietnamese coffee (such as Trong Nguyen or Café du Monde brands) would be ideal as they have a different flavour all their own. Much like how condensed milk came in to use out of need, Vietnamese coffee often has chicory root blended in. Originally, chicory in coffee was used as a filler during times of shortage (such as during WWII), but now the flavour it adds to the coffee is so unique that it’s become an added characteristic to this drink. If you can’t find either at your neighbourhood Asian supermarket, a dark roast coffee of your choice can be substituted.
Whether you have it hot or on ice, this drink is both balanced and very satisfying… and I bet it’ll give your Double Double a run for its money. Enjoy!
Ingredients (1 Serving)
• 1 heaping tbsp Vietnamese coffee (already ground)
• ⅓–½ cup boiling water
• 2-3 tbsp condensed milk
• Ice (optional)
1. In a heatproof mug or glass, pour the condensed milk in. I would personally start with two tablespoons you can always sweeten it further after.
2. Prepare the coffee either using the phin or a French press. If using the phin, twist the filter in place and pour the coffee grounds in, followed by a few tablespoons of water. This allows the coffee to adjust before you pour the rest of the boiling water in.
3. Adjust the drip flow of your phin so that the full brew takes approximately 3–4 minutes. Any faster and the coffee will not brew properly, and any slower could result in an overly bitter mixture.
4. Allow the coffee to steep and drip directly over the condensed milk. The hot coffee “caramelizes” the condensed milk and adds a nutty flavour to the finished product.
5. Stir the mixture together and adjust the sweetness as desired.
6. Either serve immediately while hot, or pour the mixture over ice. Enjoy!