Spending $5 on an iced coffee every morning is expensive, and Keurig machines and cold brew makers are too much of a hassle. If these are familiar struggles, Vietnamese iced coffee is something you need to try. Made with a handheld filter that doesn't require electricity, this tasty cup of iced coffee is quick and easy to make with fewer than 5 ingredients. What more could you ask for?

Phin: The Coffeemaker

Chloe Lee

A phin is a traditional coffee filter used to make Vietnamese coffee. Before working at a Vietnamese restaurant, I'd never seen or heard of one, but I fell in love with its size, price, and user-friendliness. It's small and portable enough to take on the go, and it is made of aluminum so it's easy to clean and perfect for college students who don't have a lot of extra space. Coffee grounds are placed inside the barrel as the weight rests on top of the grounds, and then hot water is poured over it. There is no electricity or special coffee pod required for this filter, so it's super easy to use as well.

Cà Phê Sữa đá: Traditional Vietnamese Coffee

Chloe Lee

Traditional Vietnamese iced coffee is made differently than your average latte or americano. There are very few materials needed to make traditional iced coffee; all you need is the coffee filter, a cup, coffee grounds, sweetened condensed milk, salt, and ice. 

I recommend the Trung Nguyen and Cafe du Monde brands,as they are well renowned for their strong and chocolatey notes, attributed by the blend of robusta beans.

Traditional Vietnamese Coffee

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:15 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Easy


  • 3 tablespoons condensed milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Trung Nguyen or Cafe du Monde coffee grounds
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1.5 cup ice
  • 1 phin coffee filter
  • 2 glasses
Chloe Lee
  • Step 1

    Fill a cup with 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk.

    Chloe Lee
  • Step 2

    Put 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee into barrel of phin filter, and place it on top of cup with condensed milk. Add a pinch of salt on grounds to allow coffee flavor to "bloom."

    Chloe Lee
  • Step 3

    Pour hot water into barrel, but only enough for water level to rise above filter weight. Let it drip through. This also contributes to the blooming process.

    Chloe Lee
  • Step 4

    After first drip process ends, pour more hot water into barrel, filling it to the top, and let it all drip through. While it drips, fill a tall glass to the top with ice.

    Chloe Lee
  • Step 5

    After drip process has finished, stir coffee and condensed milk together.

    Chloe Lee
  • Step 6

    Pour mixed coffee over glass of ice. This will dilute the strong coffee. All finished. Serve and enjoy.

    Chloe Lee

#SpoonTip: Serve with a reusable straw to reduce plastic waste.

Customizable Coffee with the Phin

Chloe Lee

Now that you've learned how to use a phin, you can use it to make any type of coffee you want without the hassle or cost of using a fancy machine. You can play around with it: use different beans, change the strength by adding more or less water, or add in different types of sweeteners and creamers under the coffee as it drips. Time to get brewing!