Vietnamese Coconut Coffee (Cafe Cot Dua) is an interesting drink that has the intensity and aroma of coffee and the subtle richness of coconut milk. This strong and velvety coffee is definitely a must-try.
Coconuts can be found everywhere in Vietnam, a tropical country. For a very long time, Vietnamese people have been using coconut milk in food, desserts and drinks.
It is fairly easy to come across coconut coffee in all major cities of Vietnam, and it is particularly popular in Hanoi and Saigon. We call it “cafe cot dua” or “cafe dua” in Vietnamese.
Cafe Dua can be enjoyed either hot or cold. The richness and fragrance of coconut milk compliments the aroma, intensity and chocolate notes of Vietnamese coffee so well. Vietnamese coffee itself is usually very strong, so as a result, there’s often an added element to tone it down.
The recipe I’m sharing today is for the hot version of coconut coffee. The drink is strong and gently flavored with rich coconut milk. I like to enjoy it slowly whether it’s hot or cold outside.
Ingredients and Tools
To make this drink the traditional way, you will need a Vietnamese coffee phin filter which can be found on Amazon or at many Asian grocery stores. In case you cannot find it, you may try using very strongly-brewed coffee.
As for ingredients, you will need the following:
- Vietnamese ground coffee,
- coconut milk, and
- sweetened condensed milk.
I wrote a section about choosing Vietnamese ground coffee last year. The two popular choices in the US. are Trung Nguyen and Cafe Du Monde. If you visit Vietnam, I recommend trying some local brands, such as Cau Dat Farm.
If you want to make a dairy-free or vegetarian/vegan version, use sweetened condensed coconut milk or sugar instead of sweetened condensed dairy milk.
Summary of What I Used to Make this Recipe
- Trung Nguyen Creative 8 Ground Coffee: this is the only coffee blend from Trung Nguyen we use. Other Trung Nguyen blends are not as good as this one.
- Longevity sweetened condensed milk: the household brand in Vietnam, but almost any brands you can find in your local stores will work.
- Aroy-D coconut milk: currently the best canned coconut milk in my opinion. I like the taste and the ingredients are just coconut and water.
- Vietnamese phin coffee filter: I brought mine from Vietnam.
- Bialetti electric frother: froth liquids in seconds.
- Cuisinart stainless steel electric kettle: good for boiling water to make coffee or tea since you can select the appropriate temperature.
How to Make Vietnamese Coconut Coffee (Cafe Cot Dua)
It is quick and easy to make Cafe Cot Dua and I put together a fun clip below to show you how.
If you need more tips for brewing Vietnamese coffee with a phin filter, you can find them (as well as a video) in my previous recipe.
The short version of how to make this drink is:
- brewing the coffee,
- warming the milk,
- then combining them.
You can literally make this coconut milk coffee that way, but just simply combining all the liquids together isn’t enough. If you want to have a beautiful as well as velvety cup of coconut coffee just like at coffee shops in Vietnam, here’s an easy extra step.
After brewing the coffee, froth it until a thin foamy layer is formed on top. With an electric frother like this Bialetti, it takes me only 15-20 seconds. You can use a handheld frother or even shake it vigorously in a jar with a secured lid. Then pour the coffee over the warmed milk mixture.
I guess you may find that it sounds weird to froth the coffee, and not the milk. I actually tried both ways (multiple times) and found pouring frothed coffee over the coconut milk mixture results in a tastier drink than pouring frothed coconut milk over the coffee.
If you ask me why so, I don’t really have a clear explanation. The flavors meld together nicely while I can still recognize the presence of intense coffee and rich coconut milk. I think you may want to try both methods and compare for yourself :). Below is the recipe card with detailed measurements and instructions.
Other Vietnamese coffee drinks you may like:
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Coconut Coffee (Cafe Cot Dua)
- 2 tablespoons Vietnamese ground coffee
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water (about 190-200F)
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 2-3 teaspoons sweetened condensed milk (to taste, see Notes for dairy-free options)
- Place the cup spanner of the phin filter over your brewing glass. Add ground coffee to the filter chamber, try to spread them evenly inside the chamber. Then gently place the filter chamber over the cup spanner.
- Place the filter press on top of the ground coffee inside the chamber and press gently. Add 1 tablespoon of hot water to the chamber and wait for about 20-30 seconds to let the coffee bloom.
- Add the remaining hot water and cover the chamber with the filter cap. Wait for the coffee liquid to drip through the holes at the bottom of the filter chamber and cup spanner.
- Total brewing time should be around 4 minutes. If the coffee drips too quickly, press the filter press a little more to slow it down. There should be 1-2 drops at a time. Once the filter chamber is empty, remove the filter from the glass.
- In a small saucepan, add coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. Stir and warm the milk mixture over medium-low to medium heat until steams start to come out and small bubbles start to appear around the edge. Do not let the mixture boil. Turn off the stove and pour milk mixture into your serving cup.
- Froth the coffee by using an electric frother or shake it vigorously in a jar with a secured lid (optional step but strongly recommended).
- Pour both the coffee and all the foams over the coconut milk mixture in the serving cup. Serve immediately.