If you walk into a coffee shop and see a patron under the age of 30, it’s probably fair to wager that the individual orders their coffee over ice. Iced coffee and cold brew have taken millennial and Gen Z consumers by storm — the size of the cold brew market in the United States has increased by an explosive 400 percent since 2015 and is expected to grow an additional 200 percent by 2025.
The beverage is so popular that it has inspired a number of unique drink recipes and flavor varieties — some internet personalities have even been offered to feature their own iced coffee orders on popular coffee chains menus. But if Charli D’Amelio’s “Charli” at Dunkin’ isn’t for you, perhaps Vietnamese iced coffee would be a better fit.
Vietnam is one of the world’s largest coffee producers, growing beans that, when brewed, create dark and bold roasts. Most Vietnamese coffee is grown in the Central Highlands region of the country — an area rich with nutrient-dense volcanic soil, which helps the beans develop more robust flavors. Vietnam in particular is known for growing the robusta bean, which contains 60 percent less sugar and fats than the popular arabica bean. As such, coffee from robusta beans tends to have a smoother mouthfeel and stronger, more potent flavors of nuts and chocolate.
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While Vietnamese coffee is spectacular when sipped hot, its iced form has exploded in popularity. Traditionally, Vietnamese iced coffee is served with sweetened condensed milk for a delicious morning pick-me-up, but the drink comes in many forms — something Vince Nguyen of Nam Coffee knows well.
Born and raised in Pleiku in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Nguyen spent his childhood around coffee, helping his mother with her coffee cart when his family moved to Saigon. When he emigrated to California, he noticed a lack of Vietnamese coffee and the familiar flavors of his childhood. Thus, Nam Coffee was born as Nguyen’s means of spreading his love for Vietnamese coffee stateside.
Nam Coffee has three distinct roasts available for purchase — Orange County Blend, District One Blend, and Da Lat — each of which has been used in a marvelous iced coffee drink recipe developed by Nguyen himself. Unique flavor combinations that may be unfamiliar to some Americans meet the comforting taste of an excellently brewed cup of coffee in each recipe. The best part? They can all be made both with and without alcohol.
A cup of coffee is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and recent trends like the Espresso Martini have demonstrated that the beverage need not be exclusively enjoyed in the mornings. If you’re looking to experiment with your newest favorite coffee drink for morning or evening enjoyment, try one of these delicious Vietnamese iced coffee recipes that seamlessly transition from day to night.
Lemongrass-Orange Iced Coffee
Carrying gentle notes of citrus and mint, lemongrass is an essential herb used in a multitude of Vietnamese dishes. With its subtle flavor profile, lemongrass is light enough to not overpower any other flavors it may be mixed with. As such, it is a perfect complement to Nam Coffee’s Orange County, a light arabica-dominated blend bringing forward citrus notes of its own. The Lemongrass-Orange Iced Coffee is a wonderful addition to your morning routine. For an evening treat, the herbaceous notes of lemongrass are truly able to shine alongside the floral qualities of gin.
- 2 ounces Nam Coffee, Orange County Blend
- 1 ½ ounces lemongrass syrup
- 2 ounces ounces orange juice
- 1 ½ ounces gin (optional)
- Garnish: lemongrass stalks, orange slices, or rosemary sprig
- Steep coffee using pour-over method or cold brew method.
- Fill a highball glass with ice, add lemongrass syrup and orange juice, and stir.
- Top with coffee and garnish with lemongrass, orange, or rosemary.
Vietnamese Espresso Tonic
The Espresso Martini meets the Gin & Tonic in this light and refreshing Vietnamese Espresso Tonic. Made with Nam Coffee’s Da Lat 100 percent Robusta blend, the coffee is dark, bold, and delicious. When combined with gin, simple syrup, and tonic water, the result is a cocktail that gives the Espresso Martini a run for its money as the king of coffee cocktails. If you’d like to opt for the non-alcoholic version, simply nix the gin. Either way, this drink is delicious and summer-ready.
- 2 ounces Nam Coffee, Da Lat 100 percent Robusta
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 5 ounces tonic water
- 1 ½ ounces gin (optional)
- Garnish: lemon slices
- Brew coffee using Phin filter method or substitute espresso.
- Fill a glass with ice and add simple syrup, gin, and tonic water.
- Top with coffee and garnish with lemon slices or rosemary.
Creamy Coconut Latte
Coconuts grow in abundance throughout Vietnam, and coconut coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the country. The two drinks collide in this Creamy Coconut Latte, featuring both condensed and coconut milks. Made with Nam Coffee’s District One blend, a 50/50 combination of robusta and arabica beans, the coffee is smooth with notes of chocolate and brown sugar. Want to booze it up? Dark rum adds an additional layer of flavor by offering hints of spice that perfectly balance the sweetness of milk and complement the hearty coffee flavor.
- 2 ½ ounces Nam Coffee, District One Blend
- 1 ½ ounces coconut milk
- 1 ounce condensed milk
- 1 ½ ounces milk
- 1 ½ ounces dark rum (optional)
- Garnish: dried coconut flakes
- Brew coffee using phin method or substitute espresso.
- Add condensed milk to the glass.
- Whisk coconut milk and regular milk together vigorously until foamy.
- Add ice, rum, and coffee, topping with foam.
- Garnish with dried coconut flakes.