How to make a 3-layer Vietnamese Coffee (Cafe Nâu đá)

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How to make a 3-layer Vietnamese Coffee (Cafe Nâu đá)

If you’re a coffee lover, Vietnamese coffee is a must-try. It is characterized by a special brewing process and its sweet, strong flavor. Vietnamese coffee is great either hot or iced and it is very easy to make at home, so let’s give it a try.

You will need vietnamese plain coffee powder, condensed milk, boiling water and the must-have special piece of equipment is a Vietnamese coffee filter, which is unique from other filters and presses.

Step 1Now, first step is to make your filter clean and warm. Put your filter in a bowl, and pour boiling water over it. Then take them out.

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Trung Nguyen is a very popular vietnamese brand for coffee powder. You can find this brand at asian grocery store.

Now your filter is already warm, put 4-5 tsp coffee into your filter, it depends on how strong you want your coffee to be. You should keep the amout of coffee in the filter so that the filter cover can stand thereafter.

Now pour about 10ml of boiling water into the filter and wait 2 minutes. By doing this, the coffee powder will enlarge itself in hot water so that we can make the best out of it.

After that, put more water into the filter. In this step, the water level also depends on how strong you want your coffee to be. Everything’s set, let’s wait and see the coffee dropping out. It would take about 10-15 minutes.

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Now’s it almost done, let’s make a cool 3-layer-milk-coffee.
Firstly, pour the condensed milk into another glass.

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Then use the coffee foam maker to beat the coffee

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When the foam is at the level you want, pour your coffee slowly over the condensed milk.

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And there you go, a perfect 3-layer-coffee. In Vietnam we call “brown-coffee” when you drink it with milk, or “black-coffee” if without. You can stir your coffee with milk to get the brown color.

6 Comments so far:

  1. Catherine Reyes says:

    Hi there huong bui 🙂

    could you give me a tip where to buy those vietnamese coffee filters without paying a fortune? i am living here in Philippines and know vietnamese coffee from a few visits in Bangkok. It is a marvelous taste i have to say.

    • huongbui says:

      Hi Catherine,

      sorry for the late response :). To be honest I don’t know how you can get this filter from Philippines. Have you ever tried to look for it at

  2. Tiến says:

    Hi Huong,
    My Vietnamese is not so good anymore so will do this in English, if you don’t mind.
    I missed the step where you have to twist on that “damper” to keep the coffee grinds in place. How tight do you twist that on? Do you ever have to loosen it after you have poured the water in?
    I think I may have put it on too tight and got nothing coming through the first time. The second time I think I had it too loose so got some coffee grinds coming through with the water as well. One good thing when it is loose, it only took a couple of minutes for all the water to filtered through though. hahaha!
    Btw where I am, they call it “Cafê Sữa Đá” or without ice “Cafê Sữa Nong” 🙂

    Love your recipe and instructions. I finally able to make the Chè Bí that I always wanted to attempt to make but were to afraid to mess it up until your video made it simple for me. Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you and more videos 🙂

    • huongbui says:

      Dear Tien, your comment somehow doesn’t appear on my dashboard, so I couldn’t see it until today. Sorry about that! I just slightly twist the “damper” so that it’s still loose enough to get the coffee drop down every 1 or 2 seconds. It’s quite up to your feeling though, when you make it often, you’ll get used to it :). Btw, thank you so much for supporting me and don’t be afraid to mess thing up, cause I do it all the time, hihi.

  3. Sieg says:

    Hi there,
    This may sound like a strange question but I was wondering about the ‘foam maker’. Is this a device specifically used in Vietnam for this style of coffee? If so would I find this at an Asian grocery store? Or would an ‘electric milk frother’ do the same thing?

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