Is Vietnamese Coffee Strong? Answered

Vietnam is known as the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee. But in terms of flavor and caffeine, is Vietnamese coffee strong? Keep reading to find out.

Is Vietnamese Coffee Strong
Vietnamese coffee with its extremely concentrated flavor

If you’re a coffee addict looking for your next caffeine fix, you know that Vietnamese coffee, with its extremely concentrated flavor, is more than enough to satiate you! From ca phe nau (brown coffee) to ca phe trung (egg coffee)—traditionally roasted using a phin, Vietnamese coffee is prepared in various delicious and unique ways. With that said, just how strong is Vietnamese coffee?  

Vietnamese coffee is stronger than your average cup of coffee as it is made with Robusta beans. Coffee made from Robusta is generally known to have a stronger, nuttier, and darker taste than that made from Arabica—the other primary species of coffee beans. 

In this article, we will be talking about what makes Vietnamese coffee so strong, its health benefits, and how to make your own Vietnamese coffee.

What Makes Vietnamese Coffee So Strong?

Since the introduction of coffee beans by the French, Vietnam has established itself as the world's second-largest coffee producer. The majority of Vietnamese coffee is made from Robusta beans.

The Robusta’s amplified caffeine content, along with its chlorogenic acids (naturally occurring antioxidants), comes from the plant’s self-defense mechanisms in warding off pests and diseases. The levels of chlorogenic acids within Robusta are higher than in other species of coffee beans. Moreover, the oxidation products generated by these acids ultimately introduce a bitter cup quality or taste profile.

As for why most authentic Vietnamese coffee is made of Robusta, even though coffee aficionados prefer Arabica, the answer is simple—it's cheaper to produce. Vietnamese coffee is also known for having a traditional dark roast wherein the roasting process itself is often accompanied by other flavors such as mocha, chicory, vanilla, butter, or even whiskey.

Its unique brewing method also adds to Vietnamese coffee’s strong flavor. Traditionally brewed in a phin (a small metal cup that fits over most mugs like a coffee filter), the coffee is brewed incredibly slowly, which results in an intensely strong and small coffee that, some say, resembles a thicker, more caffeinated espresso.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on what makes Vietnamese coffee different.

How Strong Is Vietnamese Coffee?

After experiencing Vietnamese coffee for the first time, my mouth was immediately filled with a sweet and rich taste that left me pleasantly stunned. However, I did not expect the boost of energy to keep me up all night. This is something I’ve never experienced after drinking coffee. 

Since I couldn’t get to sleep, I just decided to find out why Vietnamese coffee is so strong and compare it to some other stuff that gave me a kick before. 

Is Vietnamese Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?

If it’s about the amount of caffeine per serving, espresso is sure to be at the top each time. However, we don’t just usually drink one shot of coffee. Instead, we have a whole mug, or sometimes even two! So, let’s take a look at the numbers to get the full picture.

a cup of espresso and whole coffee beans - is espresso supposed to be bitter
Espresso has roughly 64 mg of caffeine per one-ounce serving

Espresso has roughly 64 mg of caffeine per one-ounce serving. One cup of Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee contains 57 mg of caffeine per eight-ounce serving. The same eight-ounce cup of Vietnamese coffee would have 265 mg of caffeine—almost five times the amount and almost the same as four shots of espresso!

Starbucks is also known for stronger coffee, but an eight-ounce dark roast has about 190 mg of caffeine. A full eight-ounce mug of black coffee will have something between 50 mg and 200 mg of caffeine, depending on the brand. 

If you regularly drink coffee, you can imagine the boost of energy you would get from drinking four to five shots of espresso. Do yourself a favor and avoid Vietnamese coffee in the evening unless you intend on having an all-nighter.

You might also be interested in learning is Javy real coffee.

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Health Benefits Of Vietnamese Coffee

Aside from its strength, Vietnamese coffee is also known to be healthy. Below are some of the health benefits of drinking Vietnamese coffee:

1. Aids In Fat Burning

According to various studies, drinking caffeine can boost your metabolism through thermogenesis. 

Additionally, caffeine can speed up fat burning by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people. It only has this effect for relatively new coffee drinkers and tends to wear off once coffee drinking becomes a long-term habit.

2. Contains Antioxidants

Coffee beans contain antioxidants, including quinine. These antioxidants can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals—unstable molecules the body produces as a reaction to environmental stress.

3. Boosts Energy Levels

Though the effects are short-term, caffeine can increase endurance performance and capacity and reduce perceived exertion.

4. Reduces The Risk Of Diseases

Research has found that frequent caffeine consumption can help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.

How To Make Vietnamese Coffee At Home

Ingredients:

  • Two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk (or to taste)
  • One-third of a cup of hot espresso or two to three tablespoons of freshly ground coffee
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Methods:

Vietnamese Coffee With Espresso

Step 1: Mix 

Place the sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a glass. 

Add the hot espresso.

When making Vietnamese coffee, the rule of thumb is to add one part sweetened condensed milk and two parts espresso. Of course, it will still vary depending on your tastes, so you can adjust it to your liking by adding more espresso or using less condensed milk.

Step 2: Stir

Stir to dissolve the condensed milk and taste it to see if you need to add more.

Step 3: Add Ice (Optional)

For an iced coffee, add some ice cubes and serve it immediately.

You may also want to try our delicious coconut coffee recipe from Vietnam.

Vietnamese Coffee Using Phin

Step 1: Add The Milk

Place the sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of a glass.

Step 2: Prepare The Coffee

Place the coffee filter on top of the glass. Place the ground coffee into the filter cup, then press it down with a removable press.

Pour in a small amount of boiling water to moisten the coffee. Wait a few seconds, then slowly fill the filter cup with boiling water.

Place a lid on the filter and wait for the coffee to drip into the glass slowly. Depending on the size of your filter, it should take about five minutes for the coffee to fill the glass.

Remove the filter.

Step 3: Stir

Stir to dissolve the condensed milk and taste it to see if you need to add more.

Step 4: Add Ice (Optional)

For an iced coffee, add some ice cubes and serve immediately.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on what’s the best coffee for Vietnamese coffee.

3 Best Vietnamese Coffee Brands That You Can Try

1. Vinacafe Instant Coffee Mix

One of our top choices in terms of Vietnamese coffee brands is Vinacafe Instant Coffee Mix—an instant coffee that is sure to provide tons of flavor for people who are on the go. Even though connoisseurs don’t take instant coffee seriously, this option stands head and shoulders above most coffee brands we’ve seen. It is fragrant, bold, and, ultimately, a very convenient way to start your morning.

woman, drinking, coffee
A fragrant bold, very convenient way to start your morning

However, it won’t be as full-bodied as a standard drip brew coffee. It comes across as slightly watery, which may be disappointing to those who prefer traditionally textured coffee.

Pros

  • Very convenient
  • Surprisingly flavorful
  • Fragrant

Cons

  • Slightly watery
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2. Trung Nguyen Vietnamese Coffee

Trung Nguyen Vietnamese Coffee is a great option for people who prefer a more traditional type of coffee that has a lighter blend with low acidity, providing a very smooth drinking experience. This brand is a good choice for people with sensitive stomachs due to its low acidity.

Moreover, it is also on the more affordable side, which makes it a good choice for those who would like to drink coffee, but are on a tight budget.

The coffee has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Nonetheless, it is—for the most part—a high-quality choice that coffee lovers will truly appreciate.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Low acidity
  • Smooth drinking experience

Cons

  • Slightly bitter aftertaste
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3. Saigon Phin Daklak Pre-Ground Coffee

The last Vietnamese coffee brand we recommend is Saigon Phin Daklak. This pre-ground coffee has a mild and mellow quality. Drinkers who prefer a more low-key coffee experience will enjoy drinking this coffee.

The coffee company advertises that the blend is fantastic for making Vietnamese-style iced coffee, but you can make this blend in any way you want.

However, some buyers report that Saigon Phin Daklak has a peculiar aftertaste. This isn’t necessarily something you will experience, but you might want to keep it in mind. Otherwise, it is a good quality coffee brand with a moderate price.

Pros

  • Moderate price
  • Great for iced coffee

Cons

  • Peculiar aftertaste
  • Pre-ground doesn’t taste as good as whole bean 

You may also be interested in reading our guide on the best Vietnamese coffee brands in 2022.

Author

  • Danico Dacillo became a fan of coffee when he was in college 'cause it helps him stay awake. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, but now working as a content writer. His passion for writing started when he was still in grade school -- as a sports news writer.