And it had to be Vietnamese Iced coffee. I don’t mean that sarcastically, it really did have to be exactly that. Even though I’d never tasted it. Or liked coffee. Or had the odd little metal hat filter, much less a specific can of coffee. Or the extra money.
But I did have determination. And quarters. Lots of quarters. Maybe $15 over 2 trips. And by that point I was going to love Vietnamese Iced Coffee even if I O.D.’d on my first glass. Ca phe sua da (as you may find it in certain Asian restaurants) is a bit strong. The strongest drink I usually go for is an occasional sweet tea. No soda. No triple machiato, chai tea gone wild (though chai tea is a lot of fun to make & we’ll proly get to that some time…), I like water. Though my nutritionist side says to disclaimer that soda, juices, and triple machiato chai gone wild are okay to be had in moderation, my hokey side says moderation = 1 non-water a day. We fight over stuff like that.
Back to ca phe sua da. Isn’t that a pretty word, just try saying it quietly to yourself. Don’t let anyone else know how bad we butcher Vietnamese, but try it. And then taste it. It’s very simple to make. and looks flat out gorgeous sitting on the counter, or by computer, even 26 hours after it was made. It’s okay to be in love and scared of caffeine.
Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese Iced coffee)
- Get a funny lil’ hat filter. My local Asian store had at least a dozen, but amazon has several varieties (it should look like this). If your store has it cheaper, perfect.
- 1-2 Tbsp coffee. The Vietnamese in the states usually go for the Cafe du Monde, for both flavor and ground size. I picked mine up from the same Asian Supermarket.
- Some Sweetened Condensed Milk.
1. Set the water to boil & fill the coffee filter to the inner rim with the coffee grounds. You can measure out 1 or 2 Tbsp, but I get frustrated when I can’t remember how much I want, so the inner ridge works just fine for me.
2. Screw the lid on snugly, then unscrew it 3/4 of a turn. This will compress the grounds just right, while giving them a bit of room to expand once the water is introduced. Add somewhere around 2Tbsp of S&C Milk into a glass, then place the filter above it and fill it with water. After an initial burst, the coffee drip should slow to around 3 drips/second. It should finish in about 5 minutes, leaving you with a gorgeously layered drink, which is Ca phe sua nong, till you add the ice. I’ve been enjoying the hot little shots made with agave syrup, because they remind me of Dona Carmen’s coffe that I finished 5 cups of in Guatemala (my friend kept on taking pictures of empty coffee mugs to commemorate the moment).
3. If you mix that little bit of steaming goodness & pour it over a tall glass of ice that then gets stirred or shaken, you have wonderful ca phe sua da.
4. Sit back and reminisce over the wonderful experience of making a drink treasured by countless folks, ignoring the caffeine buzz that’s coming. Supposedly, the lack of a paper/cloth filter allows more oils to make it to the coffee & therefore more caffeine. My chemistry friends shake their heads that I’ve forgotten whether that’s tru or not/