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How to Make Vietnamese Coffee without a Filter

Traditionally, to make coffee Vietnamese use a phin filter – traditional coffee brewing tool. This method of brewing coffee firstly appeared in Vietnam nearly two centuries ago. But how to make Vietnamese coffee without a filter?
Traditionally, to make coffee Vietnamese use a phin filter – traditional coffee brewing tool. This method of brewing coffee firstly appeared in Vietnam nearly two centuries ago.

Phin filter is made of stainless steel or aluminum and looks like a small cup with a lid. There is a press filter inside the phin and a lot of small holes in its bottom. Through these holes, coffee is spilled into the cup.

Phin filter works the following way. It is placed on top of the cup, then 2 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee are poured into it. Coffee in phin should be slightly doused with hot water (about 90-93 °C) and compressed with a press filter. Carefully pour hot water into phin (4 times by 50 ml), and coffee will slowly drip into your cup.

But how to make Vietnamese coffee without a filter?

French press

The closest alternative to phin is a French press. Although this method doesn’t create the exact same coffee, the resulted beverage is still close to the one made with phin. Of course, the taste depends on using the high quality coffee because unique taste of Vietnamese coffee comes from the beans and roast.

A French press doesn’t relate to drip methods, but there are some similarities to a phin filter. The most significant similarity is the grind size. For brewing with phin the best grind size is medium-coarse, while for a French press you may use both coarse and medium-coarse (but coarse is more preferred).

The brew time is also relatively similar. While in a phin the brew time is nearly 6 minutes, in French press you should brew the coffee for about 4 minutes.
French Press makes coffee a full-bodied and ‘gritty’; it preserves many natural oils, just like the Vietnamese phin method does.

Espresso machine

Ready Vietnamese coffee is similar in its strength to espresso, that’s why you can try espresso machine to make it.

The main thing to consider is to ensure to grind coffee beans fine enough for the machine. You shouldn’t use phin grind because Espresso grounds are much finer. Putting the standard medium-course ground in an espresso maker will result in very weak cup of coffee.

Since the brewing methods are different the taste will differ as well. If you’re going to drink it without adding anything, it won’t taste like Vietnamese coffee. But if you’re going to a make Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk, espresso will be a nice substitute.

Moka pots

Moka pots are made to brew coffee like espresso at home without any expensive equipment. Actually, the coffee made this way is quite similar to a Vietnamese filter coffee. It slightly differs from filter brew but is still very tasty and enjoyable!


To make good cup of Vietnamese coffee you should firstly choose high quality coffee. There is no better choice than coffee from Mr. Viet! We produce Robusta, Arabica, and blends using the best coffee beans which are carefully selected and expertly roasted in Dalat region, Vietnam. Join us to learn more about Vietnamese coffee, its culture, and methods of brewing!

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