Vietnamese Ice Coffee (Cafe Sua Da)


Vietnamese Ice Coffee is an intensely brewed coffee concentrate that drips down into a tall glass of ice and a big spoonful of sweetened condensed milk.

If you love coffee, and have only tried weak, watered down coffee served over ice, you’re in for a big awakening.

Vietnamese Ice Coffee is creamy, rich, smooth and sweet. Oh, and intense coffee flavor. It’s bold in flavor and makes a wonderful Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream as well.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Cafe Sua Da)

When I made this on TV years ago, I was grateful that I brought extra coffee, ice and sweetened condensed milk – the entire television crew and morning hosts/hostesses all wanted a galls of Vietnamese Ice Coffee for now….and another one to save for their afternoon treat!

How to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Cafe Sua Da)

1) French roast medium coarse ground coffee: You can use any type of coffee really. Many Vietnamese use Cafe Du Monde French Roast Chicory coffee, but as long as the coffee is medium coarse ground, you can use it. Fine ground coffee would fall right through the little holes of the coffee press.

2) Sweetened condensed milk: It’s the sweet, sticky, thick stuff – NOT evaporated milk! No substitutions here!

3) Vietnamese coffee press: Found at any Asian market – usually between $1.50 and $6.00, or online – Amazon sells them!

4) 2 glasses: one filled to the brim with ice.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Cafe Sua Da)

Step 1: Add 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to a glass

Add grounds

Step 2: Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee to the base of the coffee press. Wet the grounds just a little bit with some hot water.

Screw on the press tight

Step 3: Screw on the press tight. The coffee should be packed well.

Pour boiling hot water

Step 4: Pour boiled hot water into the coffee press.


Cover with its little hat.
Step 5: Wait. It will drip veeerrrry….veeerrrry slowly. It takes 3-5 minutes to finish brewing.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

The longer it takes, the stronger the coffee. Notice that there are only a few drops per second. For me, I can’t wait any longer than 5 minutes. If the coffee is dripping too fast, then use a small spoon or tip of knife to screw the press on tighter, 1 turn clockwise. Or if it’s dripping too slow, unscrew 1 turn counterclockwise.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

While it’s dripping, go get some ice in a glass. You’ve got nothing else to do!

Viet Iced Coffee

Step 6: Once it’s finished, stir well.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

You can set your coffee maker on top of its overturned lid to prevent dripping onto your nice table.
Step 7: Pour over ice and enjoy!

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Vietnamese Ice Coffee Recipe

Servings: 1 Prep Time: Cook Time: 6 minutes

You'll need a Vietnamese Coffee Maker.


2 tablespoons medium course ground coffee
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk


1. Boil water, remove from heat to cool just a bit while you measure out your coffee grounds.
2. Add sweetened condensed milk to a cup. Fill a separate, tall glass with ice. The more ice you use, the weaker the iced coffee.
3. Spoon in the coffee into the Vietnamese Coffee Maker. Wet the grounds with about a tablespoon of the hot water. Screw on the press, finger tight. Pour in the hot water and cover. The coffee will slowly drip into the cup. Use the tip of a spoon or butter knife to turn the press clockwise (for tighter press, if the coffee is dripping too fast) or counter-clockwise (too loosen if the coffee isn't dripping at all.) It should take about 3-5 minutes to finish brewing. Adjust the press as needed.
4. Stir the hot coffee and the sweetened condensed milk well. Pour over the ice in the tall glass.

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Comments 95

  1. Chuck

    I love Vietnamese iced coffee! But I haven’t had one in a LONG time. I’ve been caffeine free since 1994. I think I would be awake for days if I had one now.

  2. sharon

    MMM, Vietnamese coffee makes me happy too. Maybe a stupid question, but what’s the difference between Vietnamese & Thai coffee? I need to get one of those cute coffee presses!

  3. joanne

    I love Vietnamese coffee with a great bowl of pho. I’m also partial towards evaporated milk. My mom calls it sweet milk. Must be a Hong Kong thing. My son has grown up calling it sweet milk, and loves it spread on the Hong Kong style white bread, which looks like pain de mie.

  4. Grifola frondosa


    So why was the host standing on a box and you were standing in a hole in the floor?

    Just wonderin’

    PS: She looked like she needed a jolt of something.

  5. The Survival Gourmet

    I don’t care for coffee at all but you do take the most wonderful pictures!

  6. Ann

    Oh, YUM. You had me at “coffee” and “sweetened condensed milk” – done. I adore that little coffee press too. Just what I need, another kitchen tool!

  7. christey

    oh that looks sooo good! I have never bought cafe du monde, but peter took me there when i took him to new orleans for his birthday (7 days before Katrina hit, go figure) and i LOVED their coffee (and their (as i yell to peter how do you spell ‘beignet’?!) beignet’s, of course!)
    anyhow, have never had experience with Vietnamese Iced Coffee but I just love all coffee, so now i must try this.
    btw, i love the pics, GREAT lighting on ‘how-to’, I almost thought those were stock from possibly cafe du monde site or something πŸ˜‰

  8. kat

    the press I have doesn’t have the little niche at the top, so I usually have to use some paper towel to keep my fingers from getting burnt when turning the knob….still, I love vietnamese coffee!

  9. Kitt

    I love me some cafe sua da! But I won’t make it at home (and rarely make Thai tea, another favorite) because I could chug 10 cups in a row (or an entire pitcher of tea). It’s exceedingly addictive.

    One note: Most Asian groceries carry those cans of Cafe du Monde, so don’t worry that you have to go to New Orleans for it!

  10. Alexander

    Yum-e!! I love Vietnamese iced coffee.. perfect for breakfast with a hot bowl oh Mi Bo Kho! Vietnamese sure know where its at!

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

  11. meeso

    This press looks like the one from India, and I think the coffee sounds quite a bit the same, with the chicory… I’m not sure if there is a difference but I’m going to try this with my Indian filter coffee… Looks too good not to try!

  12. Lisa

    coffee and condensed milk! sounds fantastic. I will definitely have to buy one of those baby coffee presses (they’re cute!)

  13. Vu Bui

    Hahaha that orange can… so familiar!

    I used to drink this stuff all the time… but I don’t drink coffee any more. πŸ˜‰

  14. kate

    nice Jaden , i’d seen this vietnamese coffe long back with nordjulus but havent been able to get my hands on the coffee press. know of someone who can mail it to africa ?
    the pics are wonderful.
    haha n carnation is such a honkie thing for me always πŸ™‚

  15. lifeinrecipes

    Vietnamese coffee is fantastic – don’t know why it never occurred to me to make it at home. Your site looks awesome – been out of the loop for a while.

  16. Cenk

    This is possibly my most favorite drink in the whole world. I recently made DL’s Vietnamese coffee ice cream (4 batches in two weeks *cough*) and it is as good as the drink itself. thanks for the step-by-step photos and resources for the coffee press.

  17. Mike

    I’ve never had it but sounds like a good change from what I’m used to. I also fell in love with something probably kind of similar–the teas and coffees they would prepare in India. Some times, you can pick out the spices that flavor something, but other times, everything is just in such harmony, that it becomes hard to pick apart. It was a delightful way to wake up each morning.

  18. Joseph

    I love that you recommended Cafe Du Monde! The chicory adds such a unique flavor that isn’t bitter like other roasts (even though the Sweetened condensed milk balances things out). Last I made Vietnamese coffee I used Cafe Du Monde and was not disappointed. Thanks for this Jaden!

  19. Garrett

    Wow, thanks for breaking that down for us! I was always curious about it. I do believe that this coffee would make for fabulous, fabulous ice cream or pastry cream flavors.

  20. cindy

    i love this stuff, i get it at the places we go for pho. it never occurred to me that the little press would be so easy to get, and then i can make it at home!

  21. Melissa

    Oh, I loooooooooooooove Vietnamese coffee! I bought the little filters a couple of years ago but sadly have hardly ever used them. As you can imagine the Scottish climate doesn’t really lend itself to drinking coffee cold!

  22. Barry

    I do love the Vietnamese coffee but this also reminds me of a now defunct cheese-shop-that-turned-into-a-coffee-shop back in San Diego called Quel Fromage. They used to make the most ridiculously rich and awesome Mocha with sweetened condensed milk. I might have to try and recreate that this weekend.

    By they way, Jaden, all of the photos you post in your blog are way better than your official photo in the masthead. Not that you look bad in any photos but I encourage you to use one of them instead! I’m just sayin’…

  23. Cakebrain

    I’ve always loved Vietnamese Coffee because of the Condensed milk. Yum. Now you’ve inspired me to use this flavour in home-made Ice Cream! or Tiramisu. hm.

  24. Zenchef

    The segment on TV is so cuute! You’re getting good at that TV thing. I watched it three times in the row, does that make me officially a stalker? haha πŸ™‚
    I love vietnamese coffee and i always order it at my favorite viet’ restaurant here in NY. Not a bad idea to start making it at home.

    btw: i almost pee’d in my pants at the comment you left on my blog. hahaha.

  25. mochachocolata rita

    wiohohohoooo i think it will make me very very happy too…especially in the mornings when i have recently been super cranky, lemme blame it on the hot and balmy hk summer….

    now i need some icy cold lime soda

  26. nathan

    the first time i ordered this at a pho restaurant, i had no clue what to do with the metal thing. i ended up making a mess all over the table – but the coffee was delicious.

  27. Jen

    YES!! I was wondering what to do with the cans of cafe du monde coffee sitting in my cupboard!! You’re my hero!!! πŸ™‚

  28. Wendy Withers

    Thanks for this! One of my best friends loves Vietnamese iced coffee, so now he’ll be happy indeed.

    And, my mom wanted to make sure I sent you a message about how much she loves reading you in The Trib now. I mentioned that I’d send you emails after seeing her read the food section, and she got very excited. She especially approves of your use of fresh ginger.

  29. Lynn

    Yeah! I’m so glad that we Mac users can now watch your videos. You did a terrific job and look like you’re having a good time. Now I need to go out and buy one of those coffee filters. Like my kitchen needs one more gadget. Thanks!

  30. Chez US

    Diane & Todd over at White on Rice Couple, made us some of this GREAT coffee when we had lunch with them last month. I always forget how much I enjoy coffee this way, until I have it again and we even have the tools to make it at home – may be time to dust it off and enjoy!

  31. White On Rice Couple

    Thanks for the mention Jaden! You are looking so mighty fine girlfriend, you’re looking different every time I see ya. Is it the coffee? Chasing the boys around? What ever it is, tell me your secret to beauty!

  32. Pille

    I’ve never had Vietnamese iced coffee, but I’ve made Vietnamese coffee ice cream couple of times (recipe courtesy of DL). That was absolutely delicious!!!

  33. Mansi

    Jaden, the new look is awesome! sorry for the late feedback, was just tied up with work!!

    keep up the good work, and keep drinking that iced coffee!!:)

  34. Barbara

    While we were in Malaysia, we had coffee similar to this and I LOVED it! Now, whenever we go to a Vietnamese restaurant in town, I order coffee and reminisce.

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