Thursday, January 10, 2008

Breakfast #15: Vietnamese Coffee

title
Coffee is the fuel that powers me. It is such an integral part of me that I can’t see my life without it. I love it with my every cell and molecule. If you drew my blood you would see that it is 50% coffee (the other 50% being bacon…I know, I know, I live on the edge…but it’s the secret to my success I swear it!). And although caffeine is a stimulant, coffee actually soothes and calms me.

I drink coffee at any time of day. I can drink it after dinner and fall right to sleep. But the very best time for me of course is in the morning…when it signals, for me, the beginning of a new day. For years now I have been brewing my own every morning, the ritual of it eventually becoming as meaningful as the coffee itself -- the few minutes of quiet that is absolutely mine, the sound of the coffee gurgling its way out of the maker, the smell of it that envelopes me and tells me to wake up…

…and all the cool paraphernalia that you get to use!

My regular morning ration is a double shot made with my espresso maker (just an old mini Krups…although I really long for this one…sigh), which I take in a tall glass of steamed/frothed milk. I have stealthily observed my neighborhood baristas and I try to replicate their swift maneuvers with my little Krups. I also have a drip coffeemaker for when I have a big group over, and a small French press for when I’m feeling, mmm, French. My next project is getting myself a stovetop espresso maker so I can get all nostalgic about my morning coffees in Spain. Meanwhile, on other coffee fronts, my favorite cup and saucer set was a wedding gift – white porcelain cups with pewter handles and saucers. My latest cup acquisition came from my mum-in-law – tiny ivory demitasse cups from Germany.

This is why I never begrudge the big boys their toys…you see, I have mine too.

And now this charming Vietnamese coffee filter…I am completely smitten! I actually got this a while back. My best friend K brought it back for me from a trip to Vietnam, complete with a bag of Vietnamese coffee. What is the value of a best friend who knows what you like? Priceless!

As is the Vietnamese way, I placed a generous amount of sweetened condensed milk in a glass, spooned some of the Vietnamese coffee grounds into the filter, and poured in some hot water. After waiting for a respectable amount of coffee to drip down into the waiting pool of condensed milk, I took off the filter, stirred, and enjoyed. A little non-Vietnamese thing I do: Don’t stir all the condensed milk, so after you are done with your coffee, you have some sticky, mocha-flavored condensed milk to slurp!

What gets you going in the morning? :)

Postscript: In making my pizza for HHDD, I had to buy some semolina for sprinkling. The smallest bag in the shop was 1 kilo. So 1 kilo minus some sprinkling leaves me with a whole lotta semolina. If you have any recipes using semolina, and I do mean any, please pass them along! You can email me at eighty_breakfasts(AT)yahoo(DOT)com. Thank you!

50 comments:

wysgal said...

Haha, I can drink a tub of coffee and fall asleep right afterwards as well. When I was still working I would start with 2 cups of coffee that I'd brew at home, then after lunch I'd use a coffee press to make myself 2 more cups at my desk in the office, I'd head over to Starbucks in the early afternoon or late evening for a Grande-sized specialty drink, and if I had dinner out I'd end the meal with a frothy cappuccino.

From the looks of it ... Vietnamese coffee filters work like simple drip coffee makers?

Veron said...

I love vietnamese coffee...but it does not love me...I get all jittery after I drink it but I don't care ....it's yummy!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I have a stovetop espresso maker, actually I have a few. I was given two by my grandmother's friend when I was a teenager and didn't have a clue what they were or what to do with them. She told me (wisely) that one day I'd grow to appreciate a fine cup of coffee and that I'd love them. They're nearly 20 years old to me. I think she'd had them for a number of years before that.

My friends love my coffee, even those who have posh ones like the FrancisFrancis you mention. I love mine so much I refused the offer from my Mum to buy us a posh one for Christmas. After school drop off I get home and have a little routine of putting a pot on, warming some milk and then drinking a few delicious cups of coffee.

Sorry for such a long comment you just touched on something.

glamah16 said...

Condensed milk sounds very good with coffee. Ive never tried that! I assume the sweetned variety?

Burnt Lumpia said...

Ah Joey, I am very much like you. I can drink coffee at night at still fall asleep. And I'm sipping my morning coffee right this instant as I type. The only difference though is that half my blood is coffee, and the other half is beer. But bacon would be good too;)

Suzana said...

Oh dear. Coffee. Hi. My name is Suzana...and I am a coffee addict. I can't live without coffee!

The big hype around Europe atm is Nespresso. It really gets you some good coffee but I'm still holding to my built-in espresso maker - mostly because it's part of my kitchen cabinets and it was VERY expensive.

I'm afraid I never had Vietnamese but it sounds good.

P said...

OMG I'm enjoying the very same thing these days, thanks to Socky. She also brought me a bag of Vietnamese Moka coffee. It is chocolatey, but it's probably just the varietal, and not infused with chocolate. Who knows? But it is vanderful, and we are on our search for a Vietnamese coffee supplier here in Toronto.

Katrina said...

Vietnamese and Thai coffee are YUMMY! Oh, how I MISS being able to drink all the coffee I want! Back in college, I'd drink a tall thermos (about 4-5 cups) of coffee while studying, then sleep straightaway when I was done. But several years ago, I had to limit my intake by afternoon or I'd have trouble by bedtime. Now that I wake up so late every day, just one cup can keep me up till sunrise! It's a good thing the coffee shop chains all have decaf versions, but when I have dinner in a restaurant that doesn't, I usually have to watch and smell my companions' cups in envy.

Pille said...

I'm so happy for you, Joey! Your coffee reminds me of the Vietnamese coffee ice cream I made couple of times last summer. And as for semolina recipes - well, there are some on my blog, both for cakes and puddings. Not sure if it's exactly the same type of semolina flour..

Jen Tan said...

OMG joey! I could have written or have already wrtten this post!!! =) I ABSOLUTELY share the same sentiments with you over this dark liquid love of ours! hay I have a real relationship with coffee..like you I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT!!! I am fortunate enough to have all the contraptions you mentioned but sad to say...parted with my stove top bialetti and 2nd espresso maker =(

I too have this Vietnamese contraption (from a vacation there)and I think Viet style coffe is one of my favorite if not what I think is the best! hahaha

Love...love this post! Love..love coffee =) YEY...I AM NOT ALONE! hahahaha

ChichaJo said...

Hi Wysgal! Another coffee drinker! When I was working in Helsinki (my first project abroad and with crazy hours) I measured my coffee intake in pots brewed and not cups -- it was like my IV! Yes, I think they basically work like a drip...except cuter :)

Hi Veron! Aw! It is good though, isn't it? :) I think once in a while as a special treat won't be too bad ;)

Hi Amanda! I'm glad this post touched you...I really like the stovetop espresso maker too, reminds me of Spain! I am going to get one soon :) My cousin also swears by it, that it makes the best coffee. Thanks for sharing your coffee routine...loved hearing about it!

Hi Glamah16! Yes, the sweetened variety...it's gooood...milk and sugar in one :)

Hi Marvin! I too am sipping my morning coffee as I type (and had a coffee afer dinner last night)...enjoying reading about all your coffee experiences :) Ah, mythical beer-blood...so it does exist!

Hi Suzana!!! Hehe :) I have seen and heard a lot about Nespresso...I think I may have seen it here too...a stovetop is more attainable for me though :)

Hi P! I agree...it tastes great! Lucky us huh? :) Hope you find a good supplier over there! I have no idea where to fine one over here...but I hope to make it to Vietnam this year so we'll see :)

Hi Katrina! I used to drink tons of coffee before, by the pot! Now I just make them by the cup, or TALL glass, but I still manage to get a lot in :) I remember when I was working abroad, I manage to always keep my cool no matter what stresses came my way...until the day I broke the coffee pot. Hello Linda Blair.

Thanks Pille! :) That ice cream sounds fantastic! Thanks for the heads up...I'm going to check out all your semolina recipes!

Hi Jen! So happy you enjoyed this post...happier still to find another fellow coffee-lover :) You are certainly not alone! GO coffee, YAY!!! What happened to your Bialetti?? I'm thinking of getting one...

SteamyKitchen said...

I love V-coffee...but ohsofattening!

Jen Tan said...

well, i this this beautiful stove top bialetti from the defunct bacchus...i was loving it so much...i decided to bring it to the office...when I was brewing my espresso that day...i got a phone call so went back to my table..took the call...went back to work on my pc...and OMG!!! I forgot about my bialetti on the stove!!! when I got to it it was horrible...handles molten..body charred...I cried =( worst of all..I was to blame...

Jen Tan said...

P.S.

but you should get one joey..i makes a ligther espresso than machine but its fun to use..just always keep an eye on it. i think they have electric version of it..

let me know if you do get one =) you know what's missing frommy collection? A siphon coffee contraption! hahaha

Franco said...

Welcome to the Vietnamese Milk Coffee Club, Joey.

I'm now a coffee addict because of it. :) Personally, I love the process of making it, just as much as the taste.

Btw, I made a Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream a while back. YUMMY!!! I not sure why but the coffee flavor is even more intense in ice cream form. Must be the cream...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

An interesting way of making coffee! It must taste delicious...

Cheers,

Rosa

christine said...

Oh I love me my Vietnamese cup of coffee too!! How nice that you have your own drip at home, K is truly a gem! :) I grew up with a profound love of condensed milk so I knew the first time I'd try Vietnamese drip coffee I'd fall over head over heels, and I did! So when I was in Hanoi I had as much of it as I could.

There was a French-Vietnamese place at the Blue Wave mall (near MOA) that served a fantastic cup as well, think it was called Vienne Cu Chi or something like that but it's been closed down :(. I don't know what I would have done without my stovetop espresso maker in London. I still use it now when I'm just making for myself at home (which I only get to do on weekends now since I have my fill in the office). But I've cut down to one cup in the office and the rest of the day is tea. Then if I have dinner out, sometimes I treat myself to another cup. It's all the more satisfying then! :) Ahh! I just remember your "incident" with my espresso maker in London haha.

Nabeela said...

you can make upma with the leftover semolina.....or basboosa.
P.S: I don't have the recipes for it but try searching on blogs through google

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jaden! So true...but I'm not counting calories this year (my new year's resolution) :)

Oh Jen! I wanted to cry too as I read your tale, partly because I can relate (I broke my old coffee pot and almost had a nervous breakdown) and partly because you are a great story-teller :) Will let you know if I do get one!

Hi Franco! I love coffee -- taste and process :) The ritual of food is also an important factor in the whole taste process don't you think? And why, oh why, does it always come back down to the ice cream maker???

Hi Rosa! It is! And nice to watch as well :)

Hi Nens! "I grew up with a profound love of condensed milk" -- I hear you loud and clear! I love the stuff! I know that place in Blue Wave -- never been but C has mentioned it :) I have tried to drink more tea...but what has happened is that now I drink coffee and tea! Siiigh...I miss our London adventures!

Thanks Nabeela! I will google those recipes too :)

Rasa Malaysia said...

Ooooh, I love this kind of Vietnamese coffee...so strong and so good, but it's hard to wait for them to drip slowly...;)

mtan said...

My mom was my coffee pusher when we were younger, and she'd always use condensed milk in lieu of milk/sugar (her way of thinking, it's two in one!). Nowadays, when I have the deep urge for coffee with condensada, I go to Tommy's stall in Salcedo and have it there.

Can't drink as much coffee these days, but I love the smell, the taste, the ice cream versions (Franco, post about the Vietnamese coffee ice cream!!!), the candies, the cakes. What a little bean can do to us all.

Bordeaux said...

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. I have a freshly brewed cup at home and then stop for a real Thai iced coffee on the way to work. Sadly I had to give up my late afternoon cup recently, as I was turning into an unhappy insomniac.
Kudos to your friend for the Vietnamese drip. We enjoyed those in HCMC, but unfortunately we never bought some before we left for Bangkok. We're heading to Hanoi in March though and this time I will certainly be picking some up.

zeph said...

Hi Joey, you were right on the spot. I too, have the uncanny ability to sleep soundly despite three espresso shots before hitting the sheets. I'm beginning to think it was some sort of a mutant ability until you wrote about it. Now the French press, in the humble opinion of this nomadic bachelor, is still the best way to make coffee, although I admit that fancy retro espresso maker, would make a real good kitchen bling. :)

Big Boys Oven said...

I adore this vietnamese coffee, strong and pleasent.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Bee! I agree...I'm usually bouncing in my seat wait for the coffee to be done...it doesn't help my patience seeing the yummy coffee splatter on the condensed milk or smelling its heavenly aroma!

Hi M! My granmda was our pusher :) She gave us sweet, milky, decaf versions...I loved the taste even then. like I Tommy's too :) We are all slaves to the bean!

Hello Bordeaux! Lucky you to be able to grab a real Thai coffee on your way to work! Hope you can get some of these filters when you go to Hanoi...they make great coffee and are great to whip out for company too :)

Hi Zeph! Glad to know that I'm not a nutant either, hehe :) Yes, I have always read that really coffee tasters use a French press...they are definitely great to have and easy to use to boot! I found the retro espresso machine here...oh no...there goes the wallet! Bling is right! :)

Hi Big Boys Oven! Thanks for popping in :) I like it too...when it comes to coffee, I like things on the bold side :)

Jen Tan said...

hey joey! thanks for the sympathy and for the compliment =)reading all the comments here really makes me happy...so many people like us enamored with the brew...and desensitized by its powers...

maybe we should start a coffee cult? hahahaha ;P

Coffee at breakfast...a splendid thing! Can have coffee without brekkie but NEVER brekkie without coffee!!! hahahaa

Hey Bordeaux! Grab some Trung Ngyuyen coffee too...pabili!!! HAHAHAH =)

Gourmet Traveller said...

Hi Joey, I LOVE coffee as well and my favorite is illy double espresso (illy pods made with my Francis!Francis! espresso machine) and milk frothed using my Nespresso Aeroccino. You should get one of these - it makes frothing milk so easy. Somedays, I use my Bialetti stovetop when I feel like having lots of coffee in big cups. Do you want me to get you a stovetop from here?

Anonymous said...

your food shots are very beautiful! what camera do you use? :)

ChichaJo said...

Hey Jen! Hahaha! Yes, great to see so many people in love with this special brew :) As for brekkie...I'm have some coffee right now!

Hi GT! Illy on your Francis!Francis! I die a million envious deaths! Heehee :) Thanks for the sweet offer but we have stovetop brewers here so no need to lug that bulky thing on my account...hey, when are you coming? Can you sneak Doodsie and Natalie in your maleta? Hehehe...

Hi Anon! Thank you! :) I use a Fuji Finepix S1 Pro with a Nikon 28-70 mm lens :)

Dhanggit said...

i did bought a coffee filter when i was in vietnam for a vacation..we still use them in preparing coffee at home..although im not really a coffee person..i love to sniff them as i prepare for other people..hehehe ..what gets me going in the morning is a bowl of cold chocolate milk!!

ps, i think i have some semolina recipes i could pass on to you :-)

Gourmet Traveller said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for a visit in July or August. Trying to convince Rosanne to meet me in Manila. Have you seen recent photos of Natalie? She is adorable!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Dhanggit! Cold chocolate milk is always yummy :) Yes, please pass anything semolina on to me! Can you email me? Are they on your blog? :) I'll check now :)

Hi GT! I saw the Christmas calendar photos...*gigil*! Yes, please convince her to come...we miss her!

Mansi Desai said...

I've never had vietnamese coffee...but I'd love to try:) and yes, I do have a perfect semolina cake (basbousa) recipe on my6 blog for your 1 kilo-sprinkled rawa:D

Tartelette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tartelette said...

I love my Vietnamese Coffee Filters! I even use them for dessertsand they make great conversation items at the table. I can drink it all day long...

Barbara said...

I love this coffee too. There is a restaurant here that serves it and I have a photo exactly like yours. I'd get really fat if I kept condensed milk in my cupboard as I would eat it by the spoonful while I'm waiting for the coffee to brew.

eydie said...

OMG! All that coffee talk was intoxicating.....I'm dizzy with desire! I have never had vietnamese coffee, but I am thinking about it now.....my favorite so far is French Press at home......

Arfi Binsted said...

it is similar to indonesian way making coffee. very very similar!! lovely to see another culture from another country.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mansi Desai! It's really luscious what with the sweetened condensed milk and the Vietnamese coffee itself being very rich and almost chocolate-y :) Thanks for the heads up on the semolina recipe...will check out your blog for it!

Hi Helene! That dessert sounds divine! Hmmm...now if only I had an ice cream maker :)

Hi Barbara! We are the same because I also take spoonfuls of the condensed milk as I watch the coffee drip! Yikes! :)

Hi Eydie! French press I think is what retains the truest flavor...I have one too :)

Hi Arfi! One of the things I love about blogging is learning about the different cuisines and cultures...and the surprising similarities we all have! :)

Mahek said...

hi
i love coffe as much as you and have a great liking for coffee pots
you have clicked yours so well is the upper portion the coffee filter does it have a lower portion too.
In southern india coffee is the main drink and they make decoction with ground coffee with a filter.
thanks for your write up

Julie said...

This is my first visit to your blog (from a link on Food Blogga), and it's great! I loved reading this post because I was in Vietnam last year and adored the sweet, milky coffee. I need to vary my coffee paraphenelia so I can recreate it!
Julie

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mahek! Nice to know we have something in common :) This is basically just a filter that you put over any glass or cup were you are going to drink your coffee :)

Hi Julie! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment :) The variety makes me enjoy coffee even more! I have never been to Vietnam but that will soon change as I have a trip to Hanoi planned! Any tips? :)

White On Rice Couple said...

You love Viet coffee! You rock! We love ya already.
Viet coffee is a staple for us too, especially when it's created just the way you taught. Great job!

ChichaJo said...

Hello White on Rice Couple! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a nice comment :) You guys have a great site...and now I'm going to go get some Vietnamese recipes there! :)

Heck said...

personally..I like a double cubano espresso with a little half and half...I know, I know, coming from someone who works at a little chain of cafes called The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, I shouldn't really be talking about coffee since we're corporate run...but I am a coffee lover...and this is one way I adore it...if you don't know what cubano style espresso is, put a little brown sugar or raw sugar in the middle of your espresso grounds when you're setting up a shot...when the water runs through the bayonet, it will melt/partially caramelize the sugar and mingle it with the espresso while it brews, resulting in a sweet, slightly smoky taste to the espresso...which is utterly different than if you just simply stirred in the sugar... :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Heck! Thanks for dropping by and for the great tip! You can be sure I'll be trying this out the next time I brew a cup :)

Pia said...

Hi! I love Vietnamese coffee, too, although I've never made any at home. I came across your post in my vain search for a source for Vietnamese coffee presses in Metro Manila. My mom-in-law just came from Vietnam and brought home some Vietnamese coffee for me and I am desperate to make some for myself. Would you know where I can purchase one? Do you think a French press would work? (I know purists are probably shuddering, but I am desperate!) Thanks!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pia! I haven't seen the Vietnamese coffee filters here but a coffee press should work I think...it is still coffee after all and if we've got no choice then we have to make do right :) But if you find any drip contraption that you place over your cup it think those should work in the same way...

Pia said...

Thanks for the quick reply. I was in Rustan's last night, just trying my luck. All they had were French presses, which I already have. I'll try that out tomorrow. I also saw one contraption in Starbucks (filter on top of a Starbucks mug), but I'm going to try my luck with the French press first. Thanks, again!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pia! You are most welcome! Wish I could be more help...