Today has been downright relaxing. Right now, I am sitting in the sunniest corner of my bedroom, propped up with dozens of pillows, and drinking coffee. Some people think of coffee as some quickly imbibed energy drink-but to me, it’s kind of my “me time ritual.”
I am drinking cold brewed Vietnamese iced coffee. For some people, it’s all about pumpkin spice lattés at the very first sign of fall…but my long time love affair has been with the less-acidic, caramely, malty, creamy, almost buttery notes of a good cold brew Vietnamese iced coffee. I realize that the big-name coffee chains have recently hopped onto the cold brew bandwagon, but I still prefer to make my own at home.
About a year ago, I was working as a kitchen manager for a fast casual Vietnamese street food restaurant. I had no idea that my greatest takeaway would be my introduction to the cold brew method, and the Vietnamese style of dressing an iced coffee. The whole process takes about 20-24 hours total, but it’s a very hands-off approach.
At home, I use a ratio of 1 cup of freshly ground coffee to 1 quart of fresh, cold water. I find it’s easiest to use a French press or a pour-over coffee brewer to filter the coffee.
Vietnamese Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
1 cup coffee grounds (I prefer Café Du Monde, but just use your favorite medium-ground brand)
1 quart fresh, cold filtered water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
Combine the coffee and water in a glass or plastic air tight container, stirring gently. Cover, and let it sit in a cool, dark area for 20-24 hours. This is important-if you let it sit for too little time, you’ll have a weak brew. If you let it sit too long, you’ll have a seriously bitter brew.
Meanwhile, you can blend your “Vietnamese creamer.” This is something that I’ve adapted from the restaurant I worked for. Although adding evaporated milk is not completely authentic Vietnamese sounding, it’s a way to cut down on the cloying sweetness, and it adds a bit of a nutty character to the coffee. It also helps to thin the condensed milk, for an easier to stir addition to your coffee. It’s simple-just combine both cans into an air tight container, stirring vigorously to combine. Feel free to taste it-it’s delicious. Finish licking the stickiness off of your fingers, store it in the fridge, and call it a night.
The following day, strain the coffee grounds from the coffee. I like using my Hario pour over coffee gadget for this, because it allows me to strain and funnel at the same time. Which is especially important if you have hipster tendencies as I do, and wish to store the coffee in a Mason jar.
To serve: Fill your glass (or in my case, a Mason jar-this isn’t just to be “cute,” I promise I’ll tell you why in a minute) halfway with ice, and fill the glass, leaving about an inch at the top. I like my coffee a bit on the strong side, but you can add up to a 1:1 ratio of water to coffee, depending on your preferences.
Add your condensed and evaporated milk concoction to taste. I like drinking my cold brew in a Mason jar so that I can put a cover on my coffee after I’ve added the milk concoction, and shake it like mad until the whole thing is combined.
I’ve been in love with this coffee for a year, and I hope you’ll fall in love, too.