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My super-friend from college, Pia, who lives and works in Vietnam gifted us last Christmas with these luxurious porcelain coffee sets.   Each coffee set is made up of the cup, saucer and filter (chamber, press and lid).        P1060469bPia hand-carried plenty of these precious porcelains from Vietnam to Manila –  4 of which now belongs to me hehe!    Now, that’s what I call love!

Anyway, Pia taught me and AJ how to make drip coffee, Vietnamese-style.  I wasn’t able to take pictures of her “demo” but I made sure to document everything when AJ repeated the process the next day.

But first, you have to know this about Vietnamese coffee:  it’s strong and rich to a great degree.  If you are used to strong coffee (like me), this is the one  that you should not miss.   The most popular brand in the country is Trung Nguyen, and we’re lucky cos I happen to have one (which I got as a gift early last year) and was never opened until we got these coffee sets.

You will notice the No. 3 written in the front of the package.   That’s because there are 5 creative flavors to choose from.   Ours is No. 3.IMG_20130110_210439_bCreative 3 (Arabica Se).  Select Buon Me Thuot Highland Arabica. Se means “Sparrow”, the name given to this indigenously developed varietal, grown only in Vietnam. A sweet, refreshing coffee with no bitterness. Floral and vanilla notes; extremely versatile (from the Trung Nguyen website).

So how do we make a Vietnamese drip coffee?   It’s very easy but requires a little bit of patience:

1.  Place the filter chamber on top of the coffee cup.   Others prefer putting some condensed milk in the cup before topping it with the filter chamber.  The condensed milk will be your milk-and-sugar combined. P1060473b2.  Put 2-3 teaspoon of the coffee grind in the chamber.   (If you are not used to strong coffee, 1 teaspoon should be enough.)P1060485b3.  Put the filter press on top of the coffee grind and then press or spin gently until the coffee grind is even.   P1060486b 4.  Pour a bit of hot water into the chamber – just a little at first – to warm the coffee grind.  Wait for a few seconds then pour in the rest until the chamber is about full.    P1060489b5.    Close the chamber with the lid and wait for the water to “drip” into the cup through the coffee.   You can lift the lid to peek in and see if all the water has come down.     P1060494b6.  After a few minutes, it will look like this.   This “look” will tell you that all the water has dripped down.   P1060500bHere’s a useful tip from Trung Nguyen:  The best flavor is achieved in about 4 minutes. Water that drips through after that time may not be adding a lot of flavor to the coffee, so that is why it is best to adjust the amount of coffee to make it about a 4-minute brew.

Check out the rich, dark color – true signs of a strong coffee!   P1060501bP1060509b I swear I had heart palpitations after finishing a cup of this, haha!  That’s because I had it pure, no milk and sugar added.  It’s like drinking a pure expresso!

That aside, it’s easily one of the best coffee I’ve had.  It has hints of vanilla, sweet and nutty.   I thought at first that this is hazelnut but it’s vanilla pala.  I bet it’ll be perfect as iced coffee, too!  Filled with milk and topped with chocolate powder!

That’s what we’re try do next – Vietnamese Iced Coffee!

Thanks so much, Pia for your lovely Christmas gift.   Can’t wait to have you back at our apartment, this time for an afternoon coffee – Vietnamese style!