With vaccinations on the rise and life slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy, we are once again gathering and it feels good. Coffee dates, lunch meetings and after-hours events are picking up. But percolating summer temps means it’s time to replace our go-to hot cup of coffee with its chill cousin.
Lattes are good but iced lattes are better. And Vietnamese iced coffee will make you fall in love with coffee all over again.
Repurpose for Pleasure
My grandmother introduced me to iced coffee as a way to repurpose leftover coffee at the end of the day. Born in the Depression, she wasted nothing and would add a splash of milk, a spoonful of sugar and some ice to savor a delicious glass of iced coffee once she got home from work.
It’s been a tradition I continue to carry on, but now I have found a kicked-up version that will convince you to reserve some of the morning’s coffee for a welcome afternoon treat. I know she would have loved this slightly sweeter, more decadent version created by the Vietnamese.
Vietnamese iced coffee is so good, you may choose to sip it all year long and that’s a fine idea. Rich, dark coffee becomes silky and a real treat with the addition of a tablespoon (or more) of thick, sweetened condensed milk.
Add some ice to this two-ingredient blended concoction and all is well with the world. At least for a little while or until the next day when you have more leftover coffee.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
The world’s second-largest producer of coffee, Vietnam accounts for nearly 20% of all coffee exported globally. Robusta, their most widely grown variety, is known for high levels of caffeine and slightly bitter notes. However, the coffee’s bitterness is easily offset by adding ice and a good glug of sweetened condensed milk. These two additions dilute the strong coffee and are what makes Vietnamese iced coffee a beverage we all want more of.
Known as cà phê nâu đá and made on every street corner of Vietnam, this drink is a national treasure. A slightly sweet and satisfying combination is why it continues to gain traction globally. While the traditional method is to grind fresh coffee beans and let them drip into a cup a la Chemex style, my preference is to use the morning’s leftover coffee. It’s easier and the result is a strong coffee made delectable by adding a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk and plenty of ice.
The next time you have leftover coffee, try this at home and you’ll see why this version is Vietnam’s preferred beverage of choice.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
With rising summer temperatures, this amped-up iced coffee will have you stocking up on sweetened condensed milk. A tradition in Vietnam, this recipe is gaining attention globally and, in one sip, you'll know why. Rich, thick and sweet, think of this as iced coffee on steroids. And the bonus is you don't have to toss your morning leftover coffee, but can repurpose it in the afternoon with this stunning summer pick-me-up treat that may become a daily habit.
- 1 cup leftover coffee
- 1-2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk depending on your taste
Reserve any leftover morning coffee for this treat in the afternoon.
In a tall glass, pour one cup of leftover coffee.
Drizzle in a good tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk and stir well to combine. Taste, adding more sweetened condensed milk, if desired.
Add ice to the glass, stir again and enjoy.