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How to Use a Vietnamese Coffee Maker

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Updated February 12, 2023
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Difficulty Easy
Steps 8
Time Required 10 minutes
Things to Know

If you’re shopping for the best coffee maker, you may consider a Vietnamese coffee machine. Also called a phin filter, Vietnamese drip coffee makers are compact and typically make a strong cup of coffee. They are easy to rinse, keeping your coffee clean every time. Even though the coffee industry largely ignores it, you need to learn how to use a Vietnamese coffee maker if you want to try this intensely strong, sweet coffee style.


  • Use ground coffee of light-medium coarseness (usually Robusta beans) to fill the Vietnamese coffee filter. Screw the top on to hold the grounds in place.
  • Boil water and fill the phin chamber before replacing the metal lid.
  • Let the coffee drip until the coffee maker is empty, and remove the unit from your mug.

A Vietnamese phin chamber offers a compact and sleek design over most brew coffee makers. The device is essentially a stainless steel filter that sits above your coffee cup. In addition, they are an affordable coffee maker that doesn’t require a power source. The single-serve nature of Viet coffee makes it perfect for iced coffee in minutes. That said, you can still warm up the coffee in a coffee maker if the coffee brewer has sat for a while.

If you want a more convenient method for brewing fresh coffee, check our guide on using a smart plug with a coffee maker.

Alternatively, for more coffee maker tips and tricks, check out our helpful content discussing how to use a siphon coffee maker, how to use a drip coffee maker, and what does pause and serve mean on a coffee maker.

Insider Tip

Coffee addicts recommend using 2-3 tablespoons in the brew chamber for a strong coffee.

Brewing With a Phin Vietnamese Coffee Filter Set

Tools Required: Vietnamese coffee filter, coffee cup, coffee grinder, coffee beans, hot water

STEP 1 Grind Your Coffee Beans

If you want a true Vietnamese-style coffee beverage, consider using a Robusta bean, also called the Vietnamese coffee bean. Arabica beans will work, too, but Viet coffee is typically made using Robusta. If you’re using a manual coffee grinder, opt for a medium-coarse grind to prevent coffee grounds from falling into your drink.

STEP 2 Fill the Metal Filter with Coffee Grounds

Use 2-3 tablespoons of ground coffee to fill the phin chamber. However, you can use a single heaping tablespoon for a lighter brew. Once complete, install the screw-down phin cover.

STEP 3 Boil Water

Use a kettle or stove to boil water for the brew.

STEP 4 Place the Metal Filter on the Coffee Cup

Place your Vietnamese coffee filter on your coffee cup. It should feel secure. If not, try a different mug or mason jar.

STEP 5 Let the Coffee Bloom

Pour a bit of water on the filter and let it sit for a few minutes to bloom the coffee grounds. Bloomed coffee releases carbon dioxide and expands the grounds so that you don’t end up with cloudy coffee.

STEP 6 Fill the Vietnamese Coffee Filter with Water

Fill the phin chamber with hot water and close the metal lid.

STEP 7 Let it Brew

Wait a few minutes, and watch your coffee drip. Once your coffee stops dripping, your brew is done.

STEP 8 Remove the Phin Filter and Enjoy Your Drink

Remove the filter and set it on a drip tray or plate. Most people will add ice cubes to their brew and add condensed milk for a flavorful coffee. That said, you can make your coffee however you like.


Be very careful as the metal filter will be very hot after your coffee is made. Use a damp cloth to lift it away from the coffee cup.


What type of coffee do I use for Vietnamese coffee?

Experts recommend using medium-coarse grind coffee, like a Robusta blend from Trung Nguyen. That said, consider brewing with a dark roast coffee if you like a bold coffee flavor. Arabica beans will also work, but the flavor will be different.

Where to buy a Vietnamese Coffee Maker?

While there are expensive models, you can find a Vietnamese coffee filter in most online housewares stores, like Amazon or Walmart.

Why won’t my phin filter drip?

Chances are, your brewing chamber is clogged with ground coffee. If you use too coarse a grind, your hot coffee will not drip to your cup. Stick to a light-medium grind for the most straightforward brew.

STAT: In multiple Gallup surveys dating from 1996 to 2015, the rate of reported coffee consumption has stayed at 64% of Americans. (source)