If you were ever curious about the difference between Vietnamese coffee and Thai coffee, this post will explain in detail the differences as well as what makes each coffee unique.
Vietnamese coffee and Thai coffee are some of the best beverages to enjoy on a hot summer day. While both hail from southeast Asian countries, there are subtle differences between these two coffee drinks. Both Vietnamese and Thai iced coffee share a lot of similarities when it comes to ingredients, strengths, flavors, and serving style. However, there are some contrasting differences that make each their own unique beverage.
In this post, I wanted to discern thee differences between these two delicious drinks that are perfect for scorching days where you need a pick me up and to quench your thirst!
Difference Between Vietnamese Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Coffee
Vietnamese iced coffee is made commonly with robusta beans and is brewed using a drip apparatus seeping over the top of sweet, condensed milk. Thai iced coffee uses a blend of other additive ingredients such as soy beans, sesame, corn, and cardamom mixed using either sweetened condensed milk or just plain milk and sugar. In comparing tastes, Vietnamese iced coffee has contrasting flavors of both bitter and sweetness and has bolder flavors than Thai iced coffee which is brewed with coffee beans with other additives.
All About Vietnamese Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Coffee
Coffee Filter Difference Between Vietnamese Coffee and Thai Coffee
The “phin” is the Vietnamese name for the decanter, a simple, yet distinctive Vietnamese single serve coffee filter. It instills a slow-drip process of on-the-spot coffee brewing.
The “tungdtom” is the Thai filter made from a muslin bag that commonly has a metal ring with a handle. It allows the coffee mixture to brew and then is served with condensed or regular milk.
What’s sweeter: Vietnamese Coffee versus Thai Coffee?
Vietnamese iced coffee is sweeter than Thai iced coffee. The reason Vietnamese iced coffee is sweeter is because it commonly uses sweetened, condensed milk as the creamer and sweetener whereas Thai iced coffee preparations vary using condensed milk, evaporated milk, regular milk, and sugar.
Which iced coffee is healthier?
The most common way to prepare Vietnamese coffee is to use sweetened, condensed milk, which increases the calorie content of this beverage. Thai iced coffee can be prepared using both condensed milk or milk and sugar, the latter having less calories than that of its Vietnamese counterpart.
All About Coffee from Vietnam versus Thailand
Vietnamese Iced Coffee Blend
Vietnamese iced coffee is renowned for using robusta beans. Vietnam is a place where Robusta is easy to grow, where the Arabica bean has trouble growing. In the states, you’ll often find Cafe du Monde brand used to make Vietnamese iced coffee.
If you are looking to make Vietnamese coffee like you find in your favorite Vietnamese restaurants, you can certainly use Cafe du Monde to replicate that taste. However, Cafe du Monde is not traditional in Vietnam. Authentic Vietnamese coffee has a blend of both arabica and robusta beans. For Americans drinking Vietnamese coffee, this may be too strong and harsh for tongues trained with pure arabica beans. However, the sweetened, condensed milk allows the strength and tone of robusta beans to be diminished, allowing for a more pleasant experience for those used to arabica beans.
The reason why condensed milk is used in Vietnam is because when this drink is sold by street vendors, the milk doesn’t go bad when it’s exposed to the heat and humidity, especially during hot summer days.
Vietnamese iced coffee can be found under the names:
- Ca Phe Da
- Ca Phe Sua Da
Thai Iced Coffee Blend
Thai iced coffee is not just made with coffee beans. The coffee beans are a distinct blend of other additives that include corn, soy beans, cardamon, sesame seeds, and rice. The mix can often be found at your local Asian market available in the form of a powder to convention coffee (or you can buy it online here). Thai iced coffee has chocolate notes and spices.
Names for Thai iced coffee can be found under phoenetic spellings like:
- Gafae Yen
The “o” means black, the “liang” and variations means cold, “gafae” means cofee, and “yen” means cold.
Brands of Ingredients to Use
Below are some of the brands that Vietnamese restaurants in the United States use to make iced coffee.
Longevity Brand for the Sweetened Condensed Milk in Vietnamese Iced Coffee
This is the brand to use for your iced coffee. There is one with the cow that you can use too, but to get the flavors that the Vietnamese restaurants use, I would recommend the one that has an older gentleman with a bun as the logo. My mom used to call it “milk with the old man on it.”
Vietnamese Iced Coffee Blend
This is the can that you should look for at Asian markets when shopping for coffee.It’s the one in yellow tin cans. They sell them in various sizes.
Thai Iced Coffee Blend
You should use a Thai coffee blend that includes the common additives found in Thai iced coffee. There are two brands that are most popular. Below is the one I like (buy here).
Now that we’ve compared the differences between Vietnamese iced coffee and Thai ice coffee, I hope I’ve provided you with clarity on the deliciousness of both beverages and how each of them are distinctly unique in their own flavors.
What gets your vote? Have you tried them both?
Comment below and let me know what your favorite coffee is and what you find as your favorite.