Thai Coffee Vs. Vietnamese Coffee: What is The Difference?

What is the difference between Thai coffee and Vietnamese coffee? Or, Thai coffee vs Vietnamese coffee. I get this question a lot, especially, from backpackers and camping nerds. Let me tell you. When the sun is scorching hot, all you need is iced, garlic, or cappuccino drinks whether they are made using Thai iced coffee or Vietnamese iced coffee. However, there are striking differences that make each of these drinks unique. So, what is the main difference?

Thai coffee uses a variety of blends including condensed or regular milk, sugar, soybeans, cardamom, corn, and sesame while you make Vietnamese coffee using robusta beans and condensed milk. The flavor of Vietnamese iced coffee can be bitter or sweet. Compared with Thai iced coffee, the former is bolder. To prepare Thai coffee, you use tungdtom filter during the filtering process, while you will need to brew Vietnamese coffee using a metal filter known as Phin.

Although Thai coffee and Vietnamese coffee share similarities with regard to the ingredients, flavors, strengths, and serving style, they are not the same. This post will help you discern between the two.

Stay with me for an in-depth comparison of the two. In case you want a coffee maker you can trust, you can check these two or these ones. But first things first.

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What is Thai Coffee?

Thai iced coffee is a popular drink in many coffee houses. It is a quick pick-me-up street drink. In Thailand, they refer to it as oliang or oleang, which means black iced coffee.

You make Thai iced coffee by brewing strong coffee using a special filter. The barista places ground coffee beans in the filter bag, pours hot water over it, and allows it to drip slowly into a pitcher.

You serve it together with ice, plain milk, and sugar. However, some people use sweetened condensed milk. You can also add cardamom to balance the coffee bitterness and make it sweet.

Also read: Best Espresso Machine For Beginners

What is Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee drink uses ground, dark, and roast coffee beans. When preparing, you use a drip filter known as Phin.

You brew your Vietnamese coffee by putting the ground coffee beans in the filter and then pouring hot water over it. The drip filter slowly releases hot coffee drops into the mug. You then put the brewed coffee into a glass full of ice.

Besides, remember to add two to three teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk into the mug before the drip filter process.

Thai Coffee Versus Vietnamese Coffee: What’s The Difference?

Coffee lovers make Vietnamese coffee using Robusta beans. The brewing process involves a dripping apparatus that seep over the sweet condensed milk.

On the other hand, you make Thai coffee with a blend of additive ingredients like cardamom, sesame, soybeans, and corn. You can use plain milk and sugar, or some recipes use sweet condensed milk to mix the ingredients.

The flavors for Vietnamese iced coffee differ. They can be sweet or bitter, but they are bolder than those for Thai coffee.

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Vietnamese Coffee Vs Thai Coffee Filtering Process

Filtering the drinks is one of the differences that separate the two coffee beverages. Thailand people make use of a traditional filter by the name Tungdtom while making their Thai iced coffee.

The Thai filter is a muslin bag with a metal ring and a handle. It enables smooth brewing of the coffee mixture. Also, you serve the drink with regular or sweet condensed milk.

On the other hand, the filtering of Vietnamese iced happens through a metal filter named Phin. The filter makes your coffee slowly drip during the coffee brewing process.

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Thai Coffee Vs Vietnamese Coffee Ingredients

Since you now know how filtering happens, let’s look at the differences in ingredients between Thai coffee and Vietnamese coffee.

You make Vietnamese iced coffee using dark roast coffee beans from Vietnam. You also add sweetened condensed milk and ice. That is what makes the drink sweet and tasty. That’s all you need for this kind of coffee.

However, there is another version of Vietnamese coffee that goes by the name of Vietnamese egg coffee. With this, you add the chicken egg yolk to your coffee. It sounds odd, right? But, the coffee drink tastes so good when you take it.

On the other hand, Thai iced coffee has multiple variations when it comes to its ingredients. Most recipes use regular milk with sugar when preparing the coffee. Nonetheless, some recipes use sweetened condensed milk.

Most coffee lovers add cardamom alongside other sweeteners to their Thai coffee. Cardamom helps in balancing the coffee’s bitterness, making it sweet.

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Vietnamese Iced Coffee Vs Thai Iced Coffee: Which is Sweet?

Vietnamese coffee is sweeter than Thai coffee. The main reason is that Vietnamese iced coffee uses sweetened condensed milk and sugar.

In contrast, Thai coffee enthusiasts stick to regular milk and preferably brown sugar while preparing their coffee. Though it varies, sometimes they use evaporated milk or condensed milk.

Why Does Vietnamese Coffee Use Sweetened Condensed Milk?

The practice started way back during the French colonialism era. At the time, fresh milk was scarce. That’s because the dairy industry was still at its infant stage.

Therefore, the Vietnamese and the French started using sweetened condensed milk alongside the dark roast coffee while making their coffee drinks. Since then, many coffee houses continue to adopt the tradition in the present age.

Thai Coffee Vs Vietnamese Coffee: Which is Healthier?

Vietnamese coffee uses sweetened, condensed milk, which makes it have a higher calorie content. In contrast, you prepare Thai coffee with regular milk and sugar. Thus, the end product has fewer calories compared to its Vietnamese counterpart.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Vs Thai Iced Coffee: Which Contains Caffeine?

Both drinks contain caffeine. That is because of the strong brewed coffee in them. However, Vietnamese coffee has a stronger taste and caffeine content. The reason for this is you use dark roasted Robusta coffee beans when brewing the coffee.

Another cause is the traditional use of a Phin filter in brewing Vietnamese coffee. It takes a lot of coffee grounds as compared to the amount of water. As a result, it makes the coffee strong, increasing the caffeine contents.

Thai iced coffee also contains caffeine. That’s because it uses a rich coffee base, just like Vietnamese coffee. However, in my view, I feel like Vietnamese contains higher caffeine content because of its brewing process.

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Key Takeaway

Thai coffee and Vietnamese coffee are both iced coffee drinks. Though they share many similarities, the differences are also quite significant. They differ in their filtering processes and ingredients.

Thai coffee making involves using a special filter known as tungdtom, while Vietnamese coffee filtering is through a drip filter (Phin). The drinks also differ in ingredients, as discussed above.

With all said, I believe you now understand the differences between Thai coffee versus Vietnamese coffee. The choice is yours on which one suits you best.