So, you’ve decided to take Vietnamese coffee seriously. In addition to Vietnamese coffee beans, you need to invest in good Vietnamese coffee makers.
Choosing the right Vietnamese coffee filter is no easy feat, simply because you’ll be facing so many options online, especially on Amazon. But fret not! This guide will help you choose the one that matches your requirements.
But before diving into our list of best Vietnamese coffee makers, let’s first trace the roots of Vietnamese coffee and the innovative coffee phin.
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A brief history of Vietnamese drip coffee
Like so many things in Vietnam, coffee is a legacy of the French.
Coffee was introduced in 1857 by a French priest who brought an Arabica tree to start a small venture. By the 1950s, Vietnam became the top coffee exporter in Asia.
The Vietnam War in the 1970s gravely affected coffee production. But in 1986, thanks to the Doi Moi reforms and the reopening of Vietnam, coffee became an economic stronghold. Today, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer and exporter in the world.
Vietnam primarily grows Robusta, which contains more caffeine and tastes sharper and more bitter than Arabica. The Vietnamese also traditionally roasts coffee dark, making it more intense. To balance out the taste, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk, partly because fresh milk was limited.
This practice, and the use of the Vietnamese coffee maker or ca phe phin, has become the traditional way of making Vietnamese drip coffee.
Phin, the Vietnamese coffee maker
When exactly the phin, or Vietnamese coffee drip filter, came to be is unknown. But we do know that it is an integral part of Vietnamese coffee culture.
What a Vietnamese coffee maker looks like
The phin filter is a unique Vietnamese coffee brewer that’s like a cross between a French Press and a pour-over dripper. Like the French Press, the phin has a plunger that tamps out the grounds before brewing.
But because it has a plunger insert that stops water from dripping too fast, it can be said that the phin brews coffee through both drip and immersion methods.
The Vietnamese coffee maker contains four parts:
- A small cup-like filter chamber with a handle
- A plunger, which can either be a gravity insert for lightly tamping out grounds or a screw insert which can be tightened to a pin sticking out of the chamber base. Screw inserts can tightly hold grounds together and tend to extend brewing time.
- A perforated plate that sits on the mug or glass. This is where you place the filter chamber.
- A lid that keeps the heat in
Most phins are made of stainless steel. But some are made of ceramic or aluminum. It also comes in different sizes although the single-serve 4- and 8-ounce phins are the most common.
One of the best things about the phin is that it’s eco-friendly. It requires no electricity and no paper filters. There are paper filters for phins but it’s not recommended. Aside from the waste it produces, you will also be missing the essential oils found in a good cup of Vietnamese coffee.
How to use a Vietnamese coffee maker
The phin is one of the most beginner-friendly coffee brewers.
Vietnamese coffee usually uses medium-coarse to coarsely ground beans. Fine grounds might pass through the holes and produce an under-extracted coffee because water will speed through the grounds.
The grounds go into the filter chamber. If using a gravity insert, you can lightly press the grounds and let the insert settle as you pour water. If using a screw insert, you can tighten it until it stays securely in place.
The brewing time can also be adjusted based on how tightly you screw. The tighter it is, the longer the brewing time as water will pour slower. I recommend screwing it just tight enough to secure the grounds while also leaving out room for the coffee to expand or “bloom” once you start pouring water.
For a step-by-step guide on how to make Vietnamese coffee using the phin, check out these instructions.
Now that you’re better acquainted with this Vietnamese coffee dripper, it’s time to look at your options online.
Best Vietnamese Coffee makers
Thang Long means “Vietnamese Dragon” and is the former name of Hanoi. It’s also the maker of the most bestselling phin on Amazon.
Made of high-quality stainless steel, this Vietnamese coffee maker comes with a weighted or gravity insert that beginners will find easier to use.
It also has a wider plate that’s perfect for any mug or glass size. Comes in 4-, 6-, 8-, 11-, and 15-ounce sets.
- Premium stainless steel
- User-friendly gravity insert
- Lifetime warranty
- Dishwasher safe
- Plastic side handles for easy handling
Nguyen Coffee Supply is a Brooklyn-based Vietnamese coffee roaster. Aside from its superior quality coffee beans, the company also sells phin filters of great caliber.
Choose from the original 4 oz phin, the 12 oz phin, or the 24 oz phin which is great for batch brewing. Or you can get the phin filter trio, which includes all three sizes. All three use gravity inserts and are made of stainless steel.
For a complete set, get the original phin kit that includes a 4 oz. phin and a 340-gram bag of coffee.
- Lightweight stainless steel build
- Easy to use, with instructions provided
- Gravity insert
- Various sizes that fit every occasion
Like the first Thang Long Vietnamese coffee press on this list, this filter is made from robust stainless steel and comes in the standard 8-oz size. But instead of the gravity insert, this uses a screw-down press.
This Vietnamese coffee maker brews the usual single-serve but you can easily adjust results to your liking. The plate also fits most cups or mugs. It comes with a heat-resistant handle and a detailed instruction sheet.
- High-quality Vietnam-made stainless steel
- Screw insert lets you adjust brew strength and duration
- Dishwasher safe
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
Gladiator is another brand of phin that has high ratings on Amazon.
The construction of the set is not flimsy as it’s made of durable stainless steel. It’s also very to use because of its weighted filter press that doesn’t require screwing in.
This Vietnamese coffee maker is available in three sizes: small (6 oz), medium (8 oz), and large (15 oz). The package also comes with instructions and a QR code that leads to tutorials.
- Sturdy build
- Rubber knobs for easy handling
- Beginner-friendly gravity press
- Dishwasher safe and easy to wash
- Different size options for up to 3 servings
Update International is a commercial dining and kitchen supplies brand from the US.
Its phin coffee maker is pretty standard: commercial-grade stainless steel, rubber lift handles for easier handling, and a screw insert that lets you control your brew.
The lid of this filter has a convenient finger-lift tab. The plate is about 3.5 inches in diameter and fits most mugs and glasses. This filter can make about 6-8 oz of your favorite Vietnamese coffee.
- Snug-fit screw insert
- Rubber lift handles and finger-lift tab on the lid
- Textured filter chamber for easy grip
- Dishwasher safe
Trung Nguyen is a household name in Vietnam and is almost synonymous with Vietnamese coffee beans.
If you’ve already bought Trung Nguyen coffee, why not get the filter, too? This is what the Trung Nguyen coffee shops use, so this is as close as you can get to a café experience.
This Vietnamese drip coffee maker is beginner-friendly and produces a fine 4 oz cup. It’s portable and perfect for travel, too.
- Gravity press
- Durable build
- Hassle-free clean-up
- Easy to use
- Comes with easy-to-understand instructions
VietBeans is a Berlin-based company that offers top-quality Vietnamese coffee and filters.
This Vietnamese coffee maker is made from high-quality stainless steel to ensure high resistance and durability even with daily use. It’s also dishwasher safe, although occasional handwashing is advised for thorough cleaning.
- Holds approximately 200ml of water (6-7 oz)
- Quality build
- Fits most cups and classes
- Easy cleaning
Heirloom Coffee’s phin is one of the most durable in the market.
Its heavy-duty SAE 316 stainless steel is more corrosion-resistant than the lower grade stainless most other brands are made of. You can enjoy your ca phe sua da or ca phe den nong every day without worrying about wear and tear.
This Vietnamese coffee maker uses a gravity insert and can produce 7-8 ounces of coffee. It’s also easy to handle with its rubber grips.
- Corrosion and damage-resistant SAE 316 stainless steel
- Weighted gravity insert
- Heat-resistant rubber handles
- 8 oz capacity
- Easy cleaning
Inviting friends over for a cup of Vietnamese coffee? Using the usual single-serve phin means you’ll be stuck brewing coffee for a long time.
However, thanks to this large Vietnamese coffee pot by Gladiator, you can make enough coffee for 10!
This giant-size phin is made of the same high-quality stainless steel that Gladiator uses for its smaller phins.
It comes with a weighted gravity filter with a handle. The chamber itself does not have a handle but the lid has a rubber grip on top.
- Extra-large size that can serve up to 10
- Fits most carafe
- Top-quality stainless steel
- Gravity insert
- Rubber handle on lid
Unlike others on this list, this last Vietnamese coffee maker is made of beautiful, artisan-quality ceramic from Bat Trang village, a 14th-century porcelain and pottery village near Hanoi.
Most phin sets have four parts but this comes with six: a 3.1 oz brew chamber (with built-in plate), a weighted insert, a lid, a 7.6 oz mug, a saucer for the mug, and a spoon.
Not only does it produce a flavorful cup, but it’s also aesthetically appealing, making it an ideal gift.
- 6-piece set for a complete Vietnamese coffee experience
- Premium ceramic build
- Fuss-free cleaning
- Perfect for a single serving
How to choose the right Vietnamese coffee maker
So many factors that can affect your brew. This includes the type of beans, the grind size, the water temperature, the brewing method, and the length of brew. The phin you use also directly affects the brewing outcome.
Here are some factors to consider before buying a phin:
Gravity or screw insert
If you’re a complete newbie to Vietnamese coffee, you will find gravity inserts easier to use. You simply even out the grounds and then leave the insert lying on top of the coffee.
Screw inserts add an extra step but it helps create a smoother, more even brew as it holds the grounds in place. It also gives you more control over the length of brewing time. The tighter the screw, the longer it takes to finish a brew.
Stainless steel or ceramic or aluminum
Most phins are made of stainless steel for a reason. They’re more durable and have thicker material that retains more heat.
Aluminum phins have thinner chambers and are flimsier compared to stainless steel phins.
Ceramic phins do the job but the hand-poked holes are less consistent than stainless steel counterparts. They also usually come with only three parts as the chamber has an outer edge that mimics the plates usually found on stainless steel sets.
In addition, ceramic phins are fragile and may incur damage during shipping. They’re easy on the eyes but do consider this risk when buying one.
This depends on your requirements. Are you brewing for yourself only? Or do you see yourself making a batch for your family and friends?
Most phins are single-serve but if you plan to do batch brews, you can opt for large phins.
There you have it! We hope you were able to choose which of these beautiful Vietnamese coffee makers to buy.