ice

Saigon Vietnam is one hot city.  In fact the average temperature there rarely gets below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.   Which is why coffee sure was a poor choice when it was introduced by the French to Vietnam in 1857.  But if you know the Vietnamese people, you’ll understand that they are some of the most ingenious and creative people in the world.  So they took coffee and made it their own – in fact many people credit the Vietnamese for bringing Ice Coffee to the modern world.

What Makes Vietnamese Coffee Different?

Its Strong – First off, it’s strong and that’s what makes it awesome.  Using unique small presses which were hand-crafted by poking holes in aluminum at the time, the early coffee brewers in Vietnam pressed the coffee down hard and let the water seep through it slowly.    To get a small tiny cup of coffee with this method takes 5 minutes or more.  But it turned out to be an amazing method that turned the coffee beans into an extraordinary espresso far better than you could find in any other place in the world.

Condensed Milk –  Coffee requires milk right?  Well, in Vietnam it was so hot that milk spoiled almost immediately.  So what did they do? – They used sweetened condensed milk which would not spoil.  The super thick condensed milk gave the coffee an extraordinary texture – like a thick and rich mocha.

Ice – And the final ingredient – Ice.  Vietnamese want to cool off so they pour the thick coffee over ice.  Because the coffee is so strong and thick, the ice coffee is bold and rich and not watery like the coffee you might find at Starbucks. Vietnamese Ice Coffee is to Ice Coffee what Mexico is to the Taco.  You don’t want an American Taco from Taco Bell right, so don’t go to Starbucks for your Ice Coffee.  Go right to the source.  Get the best iced coffee – Vietnamese Ice Coffee.

So why are these carrying a big block of ice down the street?

We took this picture of these two fellows carrying this big block of ice right down the middle of the street.  Well as it turns out refrigeration in Vietnam is still expensive so many of the local beverage and coffee merchants still have to get their ice the old fashioned way.  A lot of this big block of ice went right into Iced Coffee.