Vietnamese Iced Coffee

All I needed was five minutes. Just five minutes of peace and solitude.

I was running around all day, ticking off each item on my to-do list, and by late afternoon, all I could think of was sitting down by myself. Have you ever had those days? Those hairy days when you rise at dawn and go non-stop? That was me, and to make matters worse, I was feeling the effects of not indulging in my afternoon coffee.

So when I found my five minutes, I seized it.

I looked in the depths of my cupboard and found it. A can, filled with bliss. My love affair with condensed milk started at a young age, and I resisted every temptation to lick the lid as I opened it to reveal the creamy sweetness within. I was making myself a Vietnamese Iced Cofeee.

With just a few minutes to spare, and without the traditional metal filter (phin) used in steeping the dark rich coffee grounds, I let my coffee maker do the work. Traditionalists will surely gasp, but I have a few short cuts that work. I cheat by letting my smart coffee maker grind the beans and steep at its highest setting for maximum richness. And I take a little extra precaution. Reaching into the freezer, I pulled out a tray of coffee ice cubes.

I have learned that rather than filling my cup with regular ice cubes (as seen above), my iced coffee becomes even more full flavored when I pour in a cascade of chestnut hued coffee ice cubes. As they melt, swirls of deep coffee flavor add to my drink, making it more robust. I may be cheating a bit, but if it means a cool glass of bliss in five minutes, then it works for me.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Yield: Serves 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

There are so many resources out there on how to make authentic Vietnamese Iced Coffee. To learn how to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee easily using a traditional metal filter and resources for coffee, refer to these Vietnamese Iced Coffee Tips by Andrea Nguyen and these instructions Bon Appetit.


2 tablespoons dark French roast coffee, ground (use the richest you can find - see Notes below)
6 oz boiling water
2-3 tablespoons condensed milk (I use low-fat for less guilt)
1 cup coffee ice cubes*


If you have the option to control your coffee maker's steeping methods, select the strongest, darkest brew. Otherwise, steep your coffee in hot boiling water for about 4 minutes, then pour the filtered coffee into a glass.

Stir in the condensed milk, then fill the glass with coffee ice cubes. Enjoy!

* I like to make my coffee ice cubes by pouring any extra brewed coffee into ice cube trays. Having a stash in the freezer means iced coffee all summer long.