Authentic Vietnamese Coffee: Mastering the Moka Pot Method

By | Updated June 27, 2023

There’s something undeniably captivating about the bold, intense flavors of Vietnamese coffee, and its growing popularity has coffee enthusiasts searching for ways to recreate this rich experience at home.

One route you may not have considered is using a Moka pot, a beloved stovetop coffee maker that can take your love for Vietnamese coffee to new heights. 

Here we’ll explore the art of brewing Moka Pot Vietnamese Coffee and delve into its unique qualities with helpful tips and recipe variations to enhance your next cup.

Key Takeaways

  • Moka pots can make authentic Vietnamese coffee with its signature bold flavor and sweetened condensed milk.
  • The unique brewing process of the Moka pot, which involves passing hot water pressurized by steam through the ground coffee, creates a strong and concentrated espresso-like beverage that pairs perfectly with condensed milk.
  • To perfect your Moka Pot Vietnamese Coffee, choose the right coffee beans, adjust the grind size and water temperature, experiment with brewing time, and add flavors. Popular blends include Robusta beans from Vietnam for their intense taste and nutty undertones.

What Is Vietnamese Coffee?

The origins of Vietnamese coffee can be traced back to the mid-19th century when French missionaries introduced coffee plants to Vietnam. 

Although it took several decades for coffee plantations to establish fully, the country eventually embraced this new crop and integrated it into its culture.

Vietnamese coffee culture gained much of its identity during the French colonial period. 

As locals started enjoying this beverage alongside their colonizers, they developed distinctive brewing methods that catered to local taste preferences.

One such method involved phin filters: small metal presses that create strong, flavorful cups of java when condensed milk is added—a signature touch in Vietnamese-style coffees.

In contemporary society, Vietnamese coffee remains integral to daily life and social gatherings. 

Coffee shops are popular meeting spots where friends catch up over a steaming cup, or business associates negotiate deals—all while savoring robust brews infused with sweetened condensed milk.

The Uniqueness Of Vietnamese Coffee

The uniqueness of Vietnamese coffee lies in its bold flavor profile and unique brewing process. 

Typically made with robusta beans, these beans boast a higher caffeine content and stronger taste than the more common arabica variety.

Another factor contributing to the one-of-a-kind nature of Vietnamese coffee is its traditional brewing method – using a metal Phin filter. 

This unique apparatus creates a slow drip-brewing process, allowing time for all flavors to be extracted from the coarsely ground coffee, producing an incredibly strong and concentrated concoction.

Characteristic Flavor Profile Of Vietnamese Coffee

The characteristic flavor profile of Vietnamese coffee is genuinely one-of-a-kind, owing to its robusta beans and the addition of sweetened condensed milk. 

Robusta beans, grown primarily in Vietnam, have a higher caffeine content and a more intense taste compared to arabica beans.

When making Vietnamese coffee, adding sweetened condensed milk adds sweetness and contributes to the rich mouthfeel that sets it apart from other coffee beverages.

The contrast between the robusta beans’ bitterness and the condensed milk’s velvety sweetness creates an exquisite, refreshing, and delightful balance.

As you sip through this unique beverage, you’ll experience how these contrasting elements work together harmoniously – giving each cup its authentic Vietnamese flavor profile.

Moka Pot Vs. Phin Filter: The Differences And Benefits

Moka Pot and Phin Filter are popular choices for brewing Vietnamese coffee, but they have unique features and benefits. 

Here is a comparison between the two methods that will help you decide which one suits your preferences better:

Moka PotPhin Filter
An Italian invention, designed in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti.A traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing method, made of stainless steel or aluminum.
Works on the stovetop, brewing coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee.Works by using a slow-drip process, where water is poured on top of coffee grounds, and gravity pulls the water through the grounds and into a cup.
Creates a strong, concentrated coffee similar to espresso which can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with milk and other flavors.Brews a rich, bold coffee with a distinctive flavor profile that pairs well with sweetened condensed milk.
Moka pots are available in various sizes, offering the flexibility to make multiple servings at once.Phin filters are typically single serving, requiring multiple filters for larger groups or multiple cups of coffee.
It can be more expensive than a Phin filter, but still a cost-effective option for brewing coffee at home.Phin filters are quite affordable and easy to use, making them a popular choice for many Vietnamese coffee lovers.
Requires regular maintenance and cleaning, especially the gaskets and seals, to ensure proper functioning and longevity.Minimal maintenance is needed, and cleaning is simple as it can be easily taken apart.

Ultimately, the choice between Moka Pot and Phin Filter depends on your preferences, budget, and how you enjoy your coffee. 

Both methods result in a strong, flavorful cup of Vietnamese coffee, but the taste and experience will vary with their distinct brewing processes.

Advantages Of Using A Moka Pot For Vietnamese Coffee

Moka pots make an excellent choice for brewing Vietnamese coffee due to their unique advantages. 

  • Moka pots can produce a concentrated espresso-like beverage perfect for mixing with sweetened condensed milk, resulting in the well-loved Vietnamese condiment called Ca phe sua da.
  • Moka pot brewing allows users to customize their coffee’s flavor and intensity by adjusting grind size and water temperature.
  • Using a Moka pot enables coffee lovers to recreate authentic Vietnamese coffee without investing in expensive equipment like an espresso machine or a traditional Phin filter.

How To Make Vietnamese Coffee With A Moka Pot

Necessary Ingredients

To make Moka Pot Vietnamese coffee, you will need a few essential ingredients. 

Here are the necessary components for crafting this delicious beverage:

  • Ground coffee: Use freshly ground, dark roast Robusta coffee beans for an authentic flavor.
  • Sweetened condensed milk: This crucial ingredient gives Vietnamese coffee its unique taste and sweetness.
  • Hot water: Use hot but not boiling water to prevent scorching the coffee grounds.
  • Moka Pot: This stovetop coffee maker will brew your concentrated espresso-style coffee.
  • Cup or mug: To serve your freshly brewed, hot Vietnamese coffee.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To make Vietnamese coffee using a Moka pot, follow these easy steps:

  1. Grind your coffee beans: Use fresh medium-fine or fine-ground dark-roasted coffee beans for the best flavor. Measure out two tablespoons of ground coffee per cup of water.
  2. Boil the water: Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka pot with hot water up to the safety valve level. Place it on your stove over medium heat and let it come to a boil.
  3. Add ground coffee: Turn off the heat and add plenty of ground coffee into the basket-shaped middle chamber without pressing down or compacting it.
  4. Assemble the Moka pot: Put all chambers back together and use a towel or oven mitts to grip onto each component while twisting them together tightly.
  5. Brew the coffee: Place your Moka pot on the stove over low heat enough so the flame doesn’t extend beyond the pot’s base. Let it brew until you hear gurgling sounds, meaning all water has boiled through and collected in the upper chamber.
  6. Pour & serve: Remove from heat and pour a small amount of sweetened condensed milk into your cup. Pour the freshly brewed coffee over the milk, stirring well to combine both ingredients.

Following these simple instructions, you can easily enjoy authentic Vietnamese-style Moka Pot Coffee in your home!

Tips For Perfecting Your Moka Pot Vietnamese Coffee

To achieve the perfect cup of Moka Pot Vietnamese Coffee, it is important to choose the right coffee beans, adjust the grind size and water temperature, experiment with brewing time, and add unique flavors.

1. Choosing The Right Coffee Beans

Selecting the right coffee beans is crucial for making the best Moka pot Vietnamese coffee. 

Medium grind and dark roast coffee beans are ideal for this method, as they produce rich flavors and strong espresso shots.

Some popular blends include Arabica and Robusta blends from Vietnam, which offer a bold taste with nutty undertones. 

When selecting your blend, ensure it suits your preferences and brewing method.

With Moka pots, choosing a bean that can withstand high temperatures without burning or losing its characteristically intense flavor is essential.

2. Adjusting Grind Size And Water Temperature

Adjusting your grind size and water temperature is crucial in creating the perfect Moka Pot Vietnamese coffee cup. 

For example, the grind size should be medium-coarse for brewing with a ‘phin’ filter, slightly coarser than espresso but finer than drip coffee.

This ensures optimal extraction and allows for a fuller-bodied cup of joe.

It’s important to note that changing these variables can greatly affect the taste and quality of your coffee. 

For instance, using hot water straight from the tap may lead to an under-extracted or burnt flavor due to high mineral content or other impurities present in some plumbing systems.

3. Experimenting With Brewing Time

One of the easiest ways to perfect your Moka Pot Vietnamese coffee is by experimenting with brewing time. 

The longer you brew, the stronger the coffee will be. 

However, it’s important not to let it brew for too long, as this can result in a bitter taste.

A good rule of thumb is to start with a brewing time of around 3-5 minutes and adjust based on your preferences.

Additionally, if you want some added flavor complexity, consider playing around with ratios during experimentation, like adding more or less water/grounds per cup or mixing in flavored syrups or spices before or after brewing.

4. Adding Unique Flavors

One of the great things about making Moka Pot Vietnamese coffee is its versatility. 

By adding unique flavors, you can take your cup of joe to a whole new level.

For starters, sweetened condensed milk is an essential ingredient in traditional Vietnamese coffee and adds a creamy sweetness that perfectly balances the boldness of the coffee.

Experimenting with different types of coffee beans can also produce exciting results. 

While many Vietnamese coffees use robusta beans for their strong flavor and high caffeine content, using arabica beans instead lends a more delicate taste with fruity or floral notes.

Elevating Moka Pot Vietnamese Coffee: Recipe Variations

Refreshing Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

Looking for a refreshing twist on traditional Vietnamese iced coffee? Here’s a recipe to try:


  • 1 cup strong brewed Vietnamese coffee
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream


  1. Brew a pot of strong Vietnamese coffee using your moka pot.
  2. Mix the sweetened condensed milk and coconut cream in a separate bowl until well combined.
  3. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  4. Pour the brewed coffee over the ice cubes.
  5. Pour the condensed milk mixture over the coffee and stir well.
  6. Enjoy your refreshing twist on traditional Vietnamese iced coffee!

Fun fact: Adding coconut cream gives this drink a unique flavor that pairs perfectly with the robust flavor of Vietnamese coffee.

Remember to experiment with different variations to find your perfect balance of sweetness and strength!

Decadent Moka Pot Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe

Looking for a way to take your Moka Pot Vietnamese Coffee to the next level? 

Try this easy and indulgent recipe for Decadent Moka Pot Vietnamese Iced Coffee:


  • 30 grams of fresh-ground Vietnamese coffee
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew the 30 grams of coffee in your Moka Pot as usual.
  2. Once brewed, top up with plenty of ice cubes in a tall glass.
  3. Drizzle over sweetened condensed milk to taste, stirring gently until combined.
  4. Enjoy your creamy and decadent Moka Pot Vietnamese Iced Coffee!


Feel free to experiment with different flavors and textures! Here are some ideas for variations on this recipe:

  • Swap out the sweetened condensed milk for coconut cream or half-and-half for a richer flavor.
  • Add a pinch of cocoa powder for chocolatey goodness.
  • Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat.

With its unique blend of sweetened condensed milk and robust Vietnamese coffee, this recipe is sure to impress. Give it a try today!

Final Thoughts

If you want to experience Vietnamese coffee’s unique and robust flavor, using a Moka pot is a great option. 

With its ability to produce an intensely concentrated brew, the Moka pot allows you to savor every sip of your coffee.

By following our guide on how to make Vietnamese coffee with a Moka pot and tips on perfecting it, you can create your own cup of authentic Vietnamese coffee at home. 

Don’t forget to experiment with different beans, grinds, and flavors to find your perfect blend.

Whether hot or iced, classic or decadent, there are endless ways to enjoy this delicious beverage.