One of my favourite drinks is the Vietnamese iced coffee (cà phê sữa đá) – strong, sweet and refreshing, I had one almost every day both times I visited Vietnam – warnings against ice be damned. Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century, and became very popular, often incorporating sweetened condensed milk as fresh milk became scarce. As the days continue to be ridiculously hot here in Perth, drinking hot coffee feels unbearable – my thoughts made the leap from iced coffee to coffee ice poles pretty quickly.
It was always served to me in cafes with the condensed milk pooled at the bottom of a glass, filled with ice cubes and the strong French roast coffee poured over the top; it’s only as I did some research for this week’s dessert that I discovered the coffee was made using a small metal filter. I suppose using our French press for making the coffee would have sufficed and probably been more efficient, but I found the filter in our local Vietnamese grocer for $8 and figured I might as well make it authentic. I used 5 Senses Coffee’s Crompton Road coffee beans with a coarse grind in our little spice grinder, not traditional but well suited I think.
The coffee is placed in the bottom section of the filter (wetted slightly to allow the grounds to expand) sitting atop a cup, and another filter part with a handle sits on top, pushing them down firmly. Boiling water is poured over the top, which is then covered with a metal lid. The water filters through the coffee and drips into the cup, a few drops every second, with the process for mine taking about 5 minutes. I followed these directions if you’d like to have a go yourself!
Of course I had to make a regular cup of iced coffee first, to make sure it all tasted right – and boy is it good. I don’t normally penis enlargement pills review like my coffees sweetened, iced or otherwise, but there’s something about condensed milk that’s just so addictive.
Satisfied with the taste test, I made more coffee for freezing into popsicles. After an initial road test I realised that a) condensed milk does not freeze all that well and b) not everyone likes coffee as strong as I do, so for my second batch I diluted the iced coffee mixture with about 50% more regular milk, which gave a much better result.
I filled each mould to a bit below the top, let it freeze overnight, then added a 50-50 mix of condensed milk and regular milk to the top, allowing it to thaw slightly for a bit of a gradient effect. If it isn’t frozen properly the condensed milk will sink to the bottom – something to play around with for more patterns perhaps?
These popsicles are perfect for a big refreshing coffee hit on a summer’s day, when a hot latte is too much to bear! If you don’t have a Vietnamese style coffee filter, I think a regular French press or espresso would probably work just as well. The amount of condensed milk can be varied or omitted altogether in favour of milk, but for me it adds a nostalgic flavour and prevents the popsicles from becoming too icy.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee Popsicles
A sweet icy caffeine hit! Vague recipe is vague, but coffee and sweetness tolerances vary so much between individuals that the best way is to taste and adjust as you go.
- coffee, filtered or brewed how you wish
- condensed milk
Mix everything together to taste (I recommend making about 50% of the mixture milk, to assist with freezing) and pour into popsicle moulds. Freeze for a few hours, then add a second layer of milk and condensed milk to the top before returning to the freezer. Run water over the base of the moulds to dislodge; enjoy quickly before they melt!