If you have travelled to Vietnam, you might have heard or even tasted the very unique Vietnamese Egg Coffee - or Ca Phe Trung in Vietnamese - in the old quarters of Hanoi. If you haven't heard of this unique drink yet, buckle up as you might be in for a treat! Made with whipped egg yolks sweetened with condensed milk and Vietnamese coffee, this is a true delicacy from Hanoi that might be your new favourite dessert coffee!
The fascinating history of the Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Time travelling back to 1946, Vietnam was in the middle of the French Indochina war and many of the fresh ingredients were scarce. The young coffee connoisseur named Nguyen Van Giang at the time was working as a barista in Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, Hanoi, and was forced be creative in his coffee making craft due to the war time shortage. Instead of fresh milk, he used egg yolks and condensed milk - the two very easy to find ingredients - to substitute the creamy foam in his coffee drinks.
Today each of us might possess an electric hand mixer or at least can buy one very cheaply; in 1946, Giang would have to whip his egg yolks by hand with a balloon whisk, which was a lot of time and effort to create the foam with the perfect consistency and no eggy residue. Soon enough, his effort paid off. The Hanoians were in love with this new drink, they appreciated both its tastiness and the craft invested in this. His cafe quickly became well known and his egg coffee became a trend amongst the upper class in Hanoi.
So when you enjoy your Vietnamese Egg Coffee, besides its perfectly delectable taste, you can also treasure its story as a living proof of the resourcefulness of the Vietnamese people.
The cultural must-try in Vietnam
70 years have passed and the egg coffee remains one of the must-try dish when you visit Vietnam. When in Hanoi, you should definitely try the original Giang cafe that invented this iconic drink on 39 Nguyen Huu Huan street. Even though you can enjoy this drink everywhere around Vietnam and even re-create it at the comfort of your home, Giang himself professes that his secret recipe makes his egg coffee the best and the most original you can ever find anywhere in Vietnam.
Isn't that enough reason to add Vietnam to your next travelling destination?
Is this really made of raw eggs? Are there alternatives?
If the thought of drinking raw eggs make you feel squeamish, there are already many dishes out there made from raw eggs that you might not be aware of, including mousses, soufflés, tiramisu, and so on.
That being said, food safety remains important, and as per the NHS guideline, "infants, children, pregnant women and elderly people can now safely eat raw or lightly cooked hen eggs, or foods containing them, that are produced under the British Lion Code of Practice" , and should avoid eggs that are not British Lion stamped, not hen eggs (e.g. duck or quail eggs), or from outside the UK
If you would like to try the authentic Vietnamese Egg Coffee, unfortunately there's no best alternative out there. However you might consider switching whipped egg yolks with cartoned eggnog from the supermarket; it's not the most authentic but still makes a delicious drink.
What type of coffee should I use for Vietnamese Egg Coffee?
Typically in Vietnam, coffee made from Robusta beans will be served in the egg coffee as the bold, dark chocolatey flavour of the Robusta beans perfectly balances with the rich and sweet whipped egg yolks. You can grab one of these typical Vietnamese beans such as the Traditional Roast Blend, Robusta or even the fancier Peaberry coffee in our Vi Asia store so you can make a more authentic flavour.
If you prefer a milder flavour and half of the caffein intake compared to Robusta, Vietnam Arabica will be your perfect choice.
Some tips to make your Vietnamese Egg Coffee even better
The Vietnamese Egg Coffee is best served when it's warm, so here's a couple of tips to keep it warm and elevate your egg coffee to the next level:
- Always make your egg coffee when you want to drink it straight away. Just like any coffee, they are best when served fresh.
- If possible, use condensed milk and eggs at room temperature. Alternatively 30 minutes before making your coffee, remove the ingredients from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature to warm up.
- If you're adding fresh milk, froth it a little bit if you can, or warm it up slightly in the microwave before mixing.
- Once your coffee is made, sit your coffee in a bowl of hot water to keep it warm so you can take time enjoying it before it goes cold.
How to make Vietnamese Egg Coffee: the full recipe
To make your perfect Vietnamese Egg coffee, you will need the following ingredients:
- For Vietnamese coffee:
- 15g (2-3 tablespoon) of coffee ground for filter (medium-coarse grind)
- Traditional Vietnamese phin filter - 4oz size
- For whipped egg yolks:
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons of condensed milk
- Electric hand mixer
- To serve (optional):
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, to dust
- splash of fresh milk if you prefer milder coffee
- a bowl of hot water to keep your coffee cup warm
Now let's break down the step by step guide on how to make your Vietnamese egg coffee!;
Prefer to watch the visual guide? Check out our Youtube video here:
Step 1: Make your espresso coffee with the Vietnamese phin filter
Read our blog post on how to brew Vietnamese coffee using the traditional phin filter, this is for sure the most authentic way to make your Vietnamese Egg Coffee!
If you don't have a phin filter handy, any alternative espresso or even instant coffee is fine. Ideally you would like to use a strong espresso and this will blend perfectly well with the creamy egg yolks.
Step 2: Make your whipped egg yolks
If you use the phin filter, it's the perfect time to whisk your egg yolks while your coffee is dripping away!
Put 2 egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of condensed milk in a mixing bowl. Select a decent sized mixing bowl so your mixture will not go everywhere when you start whisking, but not too large as you might not be able to whisk it as thoroughly.
Use the electric hand mixer to whisk the mixture for 5 minutes, or until it looks pale and creamy.
Step 3: Assemble your egg coffee
Once your phin finishes dripping and your whipped egg yolks are ready, carefully pour your whipped egg on top of your freshly brew coffee.
If you prefer milder coffee, you can add some extra warm milk into the cup. This will create a latte style coffee and still very good in its own way!
Optionally, you can sprinkle a teaspoon of cocoa powder on top. The cocoa powder mixes so well with the egg foam, it tastes like Christmas!
Enjoy your coffee straight away, and sit your cup into a bowl of hot water to keep it warm.