Vietnamese coffee filters have long been one of the iconic images representing the country. Despite its simple structure, this traditional filter has caused countless coffee lovers to fall in love.
To obtain the coffee filter as it is today, it has gone through a very long historical journey.
Let iO Coffee take you on a tour of the stories surrounding the coffee filter to see if we've missed any interesting details!
THE HISTORY OF THE TRADITIONAL COFFEE FILTER
According to existing hypotheses, the original version of the Vietnamese coffee filter was a coffee brewing tool called the "Madras Coffee Filter," which appeared in the 17th century, specifically in the South Indian region. During this time, the French had established control over parts of South India and East India.
It wasn't until the 19th century when the French colonized Vietnam that they brought many French customs to the country, including introducing the first coffee plants to this land. Through cultural exchange programs and the economic development efforts of colonial countries, it is likely that the "Madras Coffee Filter" also found its way into Vietnam.
There is a similarity in design between the Madras coffee brewing tool (left) and the Phin coffee filter (right).
As you can see, a Madras coffee filter consists of components such as:
An upper coffee chamber
A press filter
A bellow cup
On the other hand, a Phin coffee filter includes:
An upper coffee chamber
A press filter
A bottom filter disc
It is believed that the Vietnamese Phin has been slightly improved to prolong the coffee brewing time, resulting in a richer and smoother coffee. Additionally, the addition of the bottom filter disc helps to reduce the appearance of coffee sediments to a great extent.
PHIN AND COFFEE IN VIETNAMESE DAILY LIFE
Coffee plays an important role in the daily life of Vietnamese people, symbolizing hospitality, social connection, and relaxation.
Images of street coffee in Vietnam. Source: Internet.
Initially, the phin filter and coffee were only used by the aristocracy, intellectuals, or French officials of that time. But gradually, it became like a breath, intimate and permeating in the rhythms of many Vietnamese generations. The phin filter and phin coffee at this point are not just limited to a utensil or a simple beverage, but they also represent a very distinctive coffee appreciation culture.
Vietnamese people do not seem to recognize coffee as a quick drink, we do not approach coffee as a hurried way to consume caffeine. Somewhere in our way of enjoying coffee, there is a sense of slowness, simplicity, and contemplation. It is not difficult to come across Vietnamese people drinking Phin coffee with a very modest manner, sipping it slowly. They can read newspapers, listen to the radio, chat with friends, contemplate the values of life... all by their coffee cup. The Phin filter encourages us to slow down, savor each moment, and appreciate the richness of life around us. That image is truly beautiful!
Morning coffee is an indispensable part of Vietnamese people. Source: Vina Cafe – All About Vietnamese Coffee – An Inside Of Vietnam Cafe Culture
PHIN AND VIETNAMESE COFFEE IN THE EYES OF INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS
Among the many food and drink items that tourists must try when visiting Vietnam, coffee tops the list, especially "Cà phê sữa đá" (Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk). Roasted and ground coffee, particularly Robusta, has gained popularity among customers worldwide, even the pickiest ones.
In an article titled "Why the World Loves Vietnamese Coffee" by CNN, Vietnamese coffee is said to be increasingly popular worldwide in recent years.
Currently, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee exporter in the world, following Brazil. Alongside its significant export volume and rich coffee culture, Vietnamese coffee is also known for its quality. Robusta beans account for approximately 97% of coffee produced in Vietnam, giving it its distinctive character with a bold and explosive flavor, along with a relatively high caffeine content.
Below are some common perceptions of foreigners when talking about Vietnamese coffee:
Rich flavor: Foreigners are often impressed by the bold and strong flavor of Vietnamese coffee. The use of Robusta coffee beans and the brewing method with a small drip filter (Phin) create a robust flavor that is quite different from other types of coffee in the world. The addition of condensed milk enhances the smoothness and richness of this beverage. The addition of condensed milk to Vietnamese coffee is an interesting surprise for many foreigners. The creamy and sweet condensed milk perfectly balances the strong and concentrated coffee, creating a unique and captivating flavor combination.
Cultural experience: Foreigners highly appreciate the cultural significance of Vietnamese coffee. They are delighted to enjoy a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop, which can be a small roadside café, while observing the process of brewing coffee with a Phin, savoring the drink, and engaging in conversations. This is often seen as an elegant aspect, with a strong social element, deeply embedded in the local way of life, which foreign friends are enthusiastic about experiencing.
Affordability: Many foreigners are pleasantly surprised by the affordable price of Vietnamese coffee. Despite its superior flavor and quality, Vietnamese coffee is often priced lower compared to similar beverages in other countries. The combination of affordability and richness in flavor makes it a favorite choice among both local residents and tourists whenever they visit Vietnam.
Coffee Heritage and Culture: Foreigners are attracted by the long history and heritage associated with Vietnamese coffee. From its origins during the French colonial period to becoming a national icon, Vietnamese coffee embodies a unique blend of cultural influences and local craftsmanship. This rich history adds depth, stimulates fascination, and enhances their coffee-drinking experience when traveling to Vietnam.
Overall, these perceptions are very positive and carry significant emotional value for the people of Vietnam. They help uplift the spirit and further develop the coffee industry in the country.
EXPERIENCE VIETNAMESE COFFEE BREWING
iO Coffee understands that making a delicious cup of coffee at home is not difficult, and anyone can do it themselves. However, for beginners, they may not know where to start.
To help coffee lovers brew their own coffee at home in a "sophisticated" and consistent way, iO Coffee would like to share some simple tricks for reference, hoping that they will be helpful for everyone.
You can access the following link: https://www.iocoffee.vn/post/pha-phin-cung-io-coffee or you can directly watch the video to make delicious Phin brewed coffee with iO Coffee: