The Richness of Vietnamese Salt Coffee

An 13 Min Read
Vietnamese Salt Coffee

Vietnamese Salt Coffee, or Cà Phê Muối, is a unique and lesser-known beverage that captivates coffee enthusiasts with its intriguing combination of flavors. This unconventional drink originates from Vietnam and has gained popularity for its bold and savory taste. In this article, we will delve into the world of Vietnamese Salt Coffee, exploring its origins, the science behind its flavor profile, and a step-by-step guide to making this delightful concoction at home.

Understanding the Origins and Science

Vietnamese Salt Coffee traces its roots back to the coastal regions of Vietnam, where fishermen discovered that adding a small amount of salt to their coffee enhanced its flavors. The combination of sweet and savory elements creates a harmonious balance that is unique to Vietnamese cuisine.

The addition of salt to coffee may seem counterintuitive at first, but it enhances the overall taste experience. Salt acts as a flavor enhancer, reducing the bitterness of the coffee and providing a subtle contrast that heightens the other flavors present. It can also enhance the sweetness of condensed milk, which is commonly used in Vietnamese coffee.

Gathering the Ingredients

To make Vietnamese Salt Coffee, you will need the following ingredients:

– Coffee: Use a dark roast Vietnamese coffee, preferably ground for a traditional brewing method like a phin filter or French press.

– Salt: Opt for a fine-grained salt, such as sea salt or Himalayan salt. Avoid using iodized table salt, as it may impart unwanted flavors.

– Condensed Milk: Vietnamese coffee is traditionally sweetened with condensed milk, which complements the saltiness of the coffee.

Brewing Vietnamese Salt Coffee

Follow these steps to brew a perfect cup of Vietnamese Salt Coffee:

– Start by preparing the coffee using your preferred brewing method. If using a phin filter, place the desired amount of ground coffee into the filter chamber and gently press it down with the filter press. Position the filter over a cup or mug.

– Boil water and allow it to cool for a minute or two before pouring it into the phin filter. Place the filter press on top and let the coffee drip slowly into the cup. This process may take a few minutes, but it allows the coffee to steep and develop its full flavor.

– In a separate container, add a pinch of salt to a small amount of hot water. Stir until the salt dissolves completely.

– Once the coffee has finished dripping, remove the phin filter from the cup and pour the brewed coffee into a separate container or a glass with ice.

– Add the saltwater mixture to the brewed coffee, starting with a small amount. Stir and taste. Adjust the saltiness to your preference by gradually adding more saltwater if desired.

– In a separate glass, pour condensed milk to taste. Vietnamese coffee is known for its sweetness, so adjust the amount of condensed milk according to your preference.

– Slowly pour the brewed coffee over the condensed milk, allowing the two to mix and create layers of flavors.

– Stir gently to combine the coffee and condensed milk, ensuring the salt is evenly distributed.

– Add ice cubes if desired and enjoy your homemade Vietnamese Salt Coffee.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

While the traditional Vietnamese Salt Coffee recipe is delightful on its own, you can also experiment with variations to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few suggestions:

– Salted Caramel: Drizzle a small amount of salted caramel syrup over the condensed milk for an extra layer of sweetness and saltiness.

– Coconut Salt Coffee: Substitute condensed milk with coconut milk for a dairy-free alternative. The creamy coconut flavor pairs well with the saltiness of the coffee.

– Iced Salt Coffee: Brew the coffee directly over a glass filled with ice cubes for a refreshing iced version of Vietnamese Salt Coffee.

Appreciating the Vietnamese Coffee Culture

Vietnamese Salt Coffee is not just a delicious beverage; it is also a reflection of the vibrant coffee culture in Vietnam. Coffee holds a special place in Vietnamese society, with coffee shops serving as social hubs where friends and family gather to connect and share stories.

When enjoying Vietnamese Salt Coffee, take a moment to appreciate the rich coffee culture that surrounds it. Embrace the slow pace of sipping the coffee, allowing the flavors to unfold and linger on your palate. Notice the aroma and the subtle undertones that the salt brings to the coffee.

In Vietnam, coffee is often enjoyed alongside traditional snacks such as banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) or banh bao (steamed buns). Consider pairing your Vietnamese Salt Coffee with these local delicacies to fully immerse yourself in the Vietnamese coffee culture.

Furthermore, Vietnamese coffee is often brewed and enjoyed outdoors, with small street-side cafes offering a unique and bustling atmosphere. If you have the opportunity, visit a local coffee shop in Vietnam and witness the art of coffee brewing firsthand. Engage with the baristas and locals, and learn more about the nuances of Vietnamese coffee culture.

Best Salt Coffee Shops in Ha Noi

1. Café Pho Co: Located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Café Pho Co offers a unique and charming atmosphere. To reach the café, you have to climb through a traditional Vietnamese house, adding to the sense of adventure. Their salt coffee is known for its perfect balance of flavors and is best enjoyed while overlooking the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake.

2. Giang Café: Giang Café is a legendary coffee shop that has been serving Vietnamese egg coffee since the 1940s. While their egg coffee is the star of the show, they also offer a delightful salt coffee that is smooth and savory. The café has a cozy and nostalgic ambiance, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

3. The Note Coffee: The Note Coffee is a quirky and charming café located in a narrow alley in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The walls of the café are covered with colorful sticky notes left by visitors from all around the world. In addition to their famous egg coffee, they also serve a delicious salt coffee that is rich and flavorful.

4. Cong Caphe: With multiple branches across Hanoi, Cong Caphe is a popular coffee chain that celebrates Vietnamese coffee culture. Their salt coffee, known as Salted Caphe Sua Da, is a crowd favorite. It is served over ice with a perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness. The vintage-inspired décor and cozy atmosphere make Cong Caphe an ideal spot to relax and enjoy your coffee.

5. RuNam Bistro: RuNam Bistro is a stylish and upscale café that offers a range of Vietnamese coffee options, including their signature salt coffee. The café has a sophisticated ambiance and provides a comfortable setting to indulge in a cup of well-crafted coffee.

Best Salt Coffee Shops in Hoi An

1. Faifo Coffee: Located in the heart of Hoi An’s Old Town, Faifo Coffee is a cozy café that serves a variety of Vietnamese coffee drinks, including salt coffee. Their salt coffee is known for its smooth and balanced flavor, offering a delightful twist to the traditional Vietnamese coffee experience. Enjoy your coffee while taking in the beautiful surroundings of Hoi An’s historic streets.

2. Cargo Club: Cargo Club is a well-known café and bakery in Hoi An that offers a range of delicious treats, including their own version of salt coffee. Their salt coffee is made with high-quality Vietnamese coffee beans and a pinch of salt, creating a unique taste that pairs perfectly with their delectable pastries. The café has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to enjoy a cup of salt coffee.

3. Rosie’s Café: Rosie’s Café is a popular café located near Hoi An’s ancient town. While they are known for their extensive breakfast menu and delicious smoothies, they also serve a delightful salt coffee. Their salt coffee is made with care, offering a balance of flavors that is both savory and satisfying. The café has a cozy and relaxed ambiance, making it a great place to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee.

4. Mia Coffee: Mia Coffee is a trendy café located just outside the main tourist area of Hoi An. They specialize in Vietnamese coffee and offer a unique salt coffee on their menu. The café has a modern and stylish interior, providing a comfortable setting to enjoy your coffee. Mia Coffee’s salt coffee is well-crafted and offers a delightful combination of flavors.

Best Salt Coffee Shops in Sai Gon

1. The Workshop Coffee: The Workshop Coffee is a specialty coffee shop that focuses on sourcing and roasting high-quality coffee beans. While they are known for their excellent espresso-based drinks, they also offer a delicious salt coffee. The Workshop Coffee takes great care in crafting their salt coffee, ensuring a perfect balance of flavors.

2. Maison Marou: Maison Marou is a chocolate-focused café that also serves a range of coffee drinks. Their salt coffee is a popular choice among customers, offering a delightful blend of flavors. Maison Marou prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, including their own single-origin Vietnamese chocolate, to create unique and delicious beverages.

3. Shin Coffee: Shin Coffee is a Vietnamese coffee chain that has gained popularity for its dedication to promoting Vietnamese coffee culture. While their menu features a variety of traditional Vietnamese coffee drinks, they also offer a salt coffee option. Shin Coffee’s salt coffee is made with their signature blend of Vietnamese beans, resulting in a rich and savory flavor profile.

4. L’usine: L’usine is a stylish café that combines a concept store with a coffee shop. Their menu includes a range of coffee drinks, including a salt coffee option. L’usine’s salt coffee offers a unique twist on the traditional Vietnamese coffee experience, providing a delightful blend of flavors in a trendy and modern setting.


Vietnamese Salt Coffee is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of Vietnamese cuisine. By combining the contrasting flavors of coffee and salt, this unique beverage offers a delightful sensory experience. Brewing your own Vietnamese Salt Coffee allows you to not only savor the flavors but also appreciate the rich coffee culture that thrives in Vietnam. So, gather your ingredients, brew a cup of this intriguing coffee, and immerse yourself in the enticing world of Vietnamese coffee.

May you love the Egg Coffee

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