A while ago a guest brought us some Fair Trade coffee beans and it's been sitting in our pantry ever since. We're not big coffee drinkers. The only coffee I ever make at home is Vietnamese coffee, and I only make it when we have guests over. To make cà phê sữa nóng (literally Hot Milk Coffee in Vietnamese) you need a strong coffee, and the dark, extra bold French roast blend from Africa that our guest gave us was perfect for the job. My husband's friend Andrew came over today and he is addicted to Vietnamese coffee, so I made him several cups. Somehow the caffeine does not seem to stop him even late in the evening...
Making the coffee took me back in time. It reminds me of the coffee I used to make for my dad when I was a little girl growing up in Paris. He still lives there today. I would fall into a trance-like state watching the coffee drip, drop by drop into the tall glass of luscious condensed milk. Later on, we got an espresso machine but I was still making coffee for my papa every morning. I think about you, Papounet. I miss you dearly.
Servings: 1 serving
1 Vietnamese coffee filter
3 Tbs dark roast coffee, freshly ground
3 Tbs sweetened condensed milk
1 cup water, nearly boiling
Pour the sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a tall glass.
Put the dark roast, freshly ground coffee in the Vitenamese coffee filter. Tighten the screw of the filter so that the coffee does not escape, then cover with the lid. Place a tall glass underneath. Pour a little bit of water in, to make sure the coffee is totally submerged and start dripping. Fill the water completely (make sure you don't pour too much water so that it does not overflow).
You'll start seeing the condensed milk turning into a nice caramel color at the bottom. Stir well with a long-stemmed spoon. I transfer the liquid into a small cup to cut down on the amount of caffeine. I typically serve the coffee with tea cakes or rau câu (a Vietnamese dessert) .
Sip slowly, it's time to relax!
I wrote the recipe for 1 serving because I think the flavor is so much more intense when it's made individually. It has be extra strong. There's nothing subtle about this drink!
Start with cold, fresh filtered water to avoid that off-taste because of the presence of chlorine in regular water.
I mentioned in the instructions to use nearly boiling water. Plain water boils at temperatures from about 200°F to 212°F. The temperature for brewing coffee is about 200°F for an optimal taste.
I use the Longevity Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, the one with the picture of a white long-bearded old man. You can easily find it in Asian stores, well at least it's very easy to find it in California.
You may serve this drink with rau câu, it's a Vietnamese jello cake. I'll post the recipe later, it's ultra simple.