We all know each country has a unique way of preparing and presenting their coffee. Such as how coffee in Turkey can be brewed in the sand, the coffee ceremony in Ethiopia, or Vietnam’s special coffee called Ca Phe Trung, the egg coffee. Yes, egg coffee. Intrigued yet? Keep reading. The main difference is that egg coffee has, well, egg in it.
Traditional Brewing: Vietnamese Phin Coffee Filters
To better understand the way Cà phê trứng is prepared, it is important to learn about the traditional and most common ways coffee is brewed in Vietnam. Common drinks like cà phê sữa đá’, have the same core ingredients as Cà phê trứng.
Any good cup of coffee in Vietnam starts with Robusta coffee, condensed milk and the use of a Phin. Using condensed milk is a staple in vietnamese coffee and was actually invented out of creativity. There used to be a lack of fresh milk in the past and so condensed milk was a perfect substitute. Coffee is served using a ‘Phin’ which are traditional coffee filters. Instead of coffee being prepared in high quantities, coffee brewing is very personalized with each cup having its own Phin on it.
The Phin is made of metal and consists of a saucer, brewing chamber, and a press. The saucer is put on top of the cup which already has condensed milk in it. Before putting the chamber on top of the saucer, the lid is put on the bottom of the chamber. Then the coffee is put into the chamber, and the press is pushed down. Once that is done the lid then goes on top of the chamber. The next step is to add a little boiling water to the chamber, then after maybe 2-3 minutes, fill the chamber up. The coffee will start to drip slowly into the cup mixing with the condensed milk to give it a rich, creamy consistency. This can be served as ice coffee, ‘cà phê sữa đá’ in Vietnamese, or can be served hot.
And here’s a video of the whole brewing process:
Ca Phe Trung: Vietnamese Egg Coffee
So this brings us to Ca Phe Trung or Egg Coffee. Like many of the coffee inventions in Vietnam, Ca Phe Trung was created out of creativity and the need to meet a demand. For those that are eager to try new flavors and methods of drinking coffee, trying Ca phe trung may be next on your list. Although coffee and eggs might not sound like a good combo, it’s definitely worth giving it a try! So here are some answers to the questions you are probably bursting with.
History of Ca Phe Trung
Ca phe trung consists of egg yolk, condensed milk, sugar, and robusta coffee. Ca Phe Trung was created by a man called Nguyen Giang in 1947. Mr. Giang is said to have created the coffee in Hanoi when he was working as a bartender at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. During that time there was a milk shortage in Vietnam and so Mr.Giang came up with a way to still have light, frothy and sugary coffee. Mr. Giang found that if he whisked the egg yolk until they were light and frothy, they mixed great with the strong robusta coffee and condensed milk. Mr.Giang started selling the coffee to foreigners at the hotel and word spread quickly.
No one else was making anything like he was and he soon left his job at the hotel to open his own coffee shop, ‘Giang Café’ which remains a very popular destination in Hanoi. Ca Phe Trung is now a very popular drink in Hanoi, with several shops serving it. However, if you have the chance to be in Hanoi check out Giang Cafe for the original Ca Phe Trung experience.
So, are you interested in trying your hand at making this delicious drink? There’s many ways to go about it. If you want to prepare it the same way it is prepared in Vietnam, a phin would be ideal to brew the coffee. If a phin is unavailable then it is ok to make an espresso, or use coffee made in a french press. Vietnamese coffee would also be ideal to get that strong taste, however, it is ok to use strong, fresh roasted coffee.
Here’s a quick home recipe that serves two people:
- ½ cup of Condensed Milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups of hot water
- 3 tbsp of coffee
- Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk it until it becomes frothy. If you have a mixer you can use it to speed up the process.
- Then add the condensed milk into the bowl and whisk it again.
- Meanwhile, brew your coffee using a phin or your preferred way of brewing.
- Add the coffee into a cup.
- Slowly pour the condensed milk and egg yolk mixture on top of the coffee. And enjoy!
Vietnam is home to a variety of coffee that is unique to the world. The coffee tells a tale of how Vietnam has taken a drink brought by the French and added their own touch and feel to it, evolving into something completely new. If you are as curious as we are, you are probably on your way to the kitchen to try the egg coffee; and we are right there with you!