How to make Vietnamese Coffee with a phin filter

These filters are great for people who don’t have room for a coffee machine or who like to make a single cup at a time. All you need is hot water and this filter kit. If you want to brew iced coffee, follow the same instructions but put the filter assembly over a cup with cubed or crushed ice.

The kit includes:

  • filter chamber,
  • filter press,
  • cup spanner, and
  • cap.

Some people prefer a glass mug or cup because they can watch the progress of the brewing. This method takes about 4-5 minutes from start to finish, somewhat less than brewing in a coffee machine, and it is more fun and guarantees incredible flavor. Trung Nguyen coffee is a little coarser than most ground coffee. It is made for this method, although it still works fine in most coffeemakers.


Step one:

Measure out 3 slightly rounded teaspoons or one rounded tablespoon of coffee and place into the filter chamber. You can adjust the quantity somewhat for your taste, but if the coffee is too loose it will brew too fast and lose flavor, and if packed too tight, it will brew too slowly and get cold, so don’t vary too much from the 3 teaspoons recommended.

Step two:

Tap the chamber a little to settle the coffee.

Step three:

Place the cup spanner on top of your cup, and place the filter on top of the spanner. Place the filter insert lightly on top of the coffee. Spin it once or twice to even out the grinds. Do not pack it down; the weight of the insert is enough to do the job.

Step four:

Wet the coffee using about 20 ml (a couple of tablespoons) of hot water… which makes the water level rise just above the filter insert. Wait 20 seconds for the water to sink into the coffee. It doesn’t matter if it all sinks in; after 20 seconds, pour the rest of the water in as shown in the next step. The best water temperature is about 85°C to 90°C. Water from a hot water machine is fine, or boiling water that has cooled for a couple of minutes.

Step five:

Now pour hot water in till it is almost to the top of the filter chamber. Don’t worry if some grounds float loose; they will not affect anything.

Step six:

Now it is time for the coffee to brew. Put the cap on. Sit back and relax, the brewing takes about 4-5 minutes typically. If brewing is too fast or too slow, you may want to use more or less coffee next time, respectively. We suggest pre-heating the cup with hot water before you put it together, as it helps keep the coffee hotter. If you want to use sweetened condensed milk, as they do in Vietnamese coffeeshops, add the milk to the cup BEFORE brewing for the most authentic experience.

Step seven:

If you are using a glass cup or mug it is easier to see when the brewing is done. If not, then after 4 minutes lift the cap and see if the water has drained. Sometimes after 4-5 minutes there will still be a little water brewing. No problem; remove the cap if you want to drink the coffee at that time, turn the cap upside down onto the table, and place the whole filter assembly on the cap to continue draining. Then you can add the extra to your cup later if you want.

Step eight:

Stir the condensed milk up into the coffee or add your cream and sugar at this time. CAUTION: Filter parts can get hot to the touch, so be careful handling them. Use the handles or touch it gently first to make sure it isn’t too hot to handle.

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