I first experienced this creamy, dessert-like coffee in Hanoi, Vietnam. It’s incredible! Back at home, I knew I had to recreate it. Whisk sweetened condensed milk and egg together into a creamy froth, and pour it over strongly brewed coffee or espresso to create Vietnamese Egg Coffee.
This is the coffee that changed my life, and it’s about to change yours, too.
A few summers ago I traveled around Southeast Asia with a dear friend and we found ourselves wandering the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, seeing sign after sign for Cà Phê Trứng, next to the translated words “egg coffee!”.
Similar to what you might be thinking right now, the thought of egg and coffee together seemed peculiar. I couldn’t quite picture it, but we finally figured it was time to see what this egg coffee was all about. When in Rome, or, well, Vietnam… right?
So we walked into an unassuming coffee shop for our morning dose of caffeine. “Two egg coffees, and two baguettes, please” later and we ordered the most epic breakfast ever.
The first sip of our coffee was like nothing else we’d ever had before. The level of luxuriousness, the creaminess, the flavor, ALL OF IT was incredible.
That morning in Hanoi, we learned that you are to stir the coffee into the rich, silky, frothy, creamy egg topping, so we did, and proceeded to enjoy this rich, decadent dessert-like coffee. Ready to order another as we took in the sights and sounds of Hanoi, and kicking ourselves that we hadn’t gotten one sooner.
Upon returning home, I knew I had to try to recreate Vietnamese Egg Coffee. We couldn’t stop talking about it. Its indulgent luxuriousness is unwavering. While I don’t think anything will ever compare to actually having a cup on the streets of Hanoi, I did my best to recreate this magical drink.
What is Egg Coffee?
There are many forms of egg coffee around the world, Italians have a similar custard-like coffee, and there’s Swedish egg coffee, made when coffee is brewed with an egg.
Vietnamese Egg Coffee, Cà Phê Trứng, is a custardy dessert-like coffee made with strongly brewed Vietnamese coffee topped with a sweet, rich yet light, silky foam mixture made from sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk. It can almost be described as tiramisu in a mug.
The Giang Cafe in Hanoi is where this beverage is known to originate. It’s said that Nguyen Giang developed the recipe for this egg coffee when milk was scarce in Vietnam in the 1940s due to the French War. So, he cleverly thought of the other breakfast staples and replaced the cream with an egg yolk.
3 Simple Ingredients
There are just three simple ingredients needed to make this incredible Vietnamese egg coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is stronger and more bitter than regularly brewed coffee. It’s rich and flavorful, typically brewed through a special filter resulting in its strong flavor.
If you’re not using traditionally brewed Vietnamese coffee, look for a strong brewed dark roast coffee or espresso. This beverage requires a hearty strong cup of coffee to balance out the sweet, creamy topping.
Other ways to make strong or espresso-like coffee include a French Press or AeroPress.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is a staple added to traditionally brewed Vietnamese coffee. The creamy sweetness balances out the rich, strong coffee.
Let’s clarify: yes, there are raw eggs in this recipe. And raw or partially cooked egg has the potential to pose a risk for foodborne illness. To feel more confident using raw eggs in recipes, be sure you are using pasteurized eggs.
Pasteurized eggs have been gently heated in their shells just enough to cook off potentially harmful bacteria, making them safe enough to use in recipes with raw or only partially cooked eggs.
How to Make Vietnamese Egg Coffee
The first step is to brew strong coffee – Vietnamese coffee would be best of course.
For a single serving made with a phin, add 2 tablespoons of fine coffee grounds (think: espresso) and place the flat filter press on top. Put the entire phin on top of your mug, and begin slowly pouring about 1 ounce of 205°F water over the top. Stop and let the coffee bloom (open up), then continue pouring water until the phin is filled, 4 ounces in total. Allow it to drip through completely into the mug.
If you don’t have a phin, brew a super-strong cup of coffee or espresso (more at-home ideas for espresso here).
Egg coffee is typically served with the mug in a bowl of hot water to keep it warm. Do this now if you still have to prep your egg mixture and keep your coffee hot.
It’s perfect if you make the egg cream while the coffee is still brewing, and everything will be ready at the same time (generally…depending on how you brew your coffee).
Add the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk to a small mixing bowl. Then use a whisk attachment on a hand mixer to whisk them together until a light, creamy mixture forms. This will take about 5 minutes. It won’t be foamy-foamy, like when milk is frothed, but rather will be ribbony with a silky texture.
Adding another teaspoon of sugar or the smallest dash of vanilla extract are two additional ways to flavor the cream. Don’t add too much vanilla though, or it will overpower the custard-like topping.
Assemble the Coffee
Pour the sweet egg cream mixture onto the freshly brewed coffee. It will create a layer on top for a beautiful presentation. Garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or fresh chocolate shavings.
Serve the coffee immediately. In Vietnam, it is often served by placing the mug in a bowl of warm water to keep the beverage hot for a longer amount of time.
To enjoy, mix the coffee into the rich, silky, frothy, creamy egg topping, and proceeded to enjoy this decadent dessert-like coffee with a side of shortbread cookies and a spoon to dip.
FAQs & Tips
Vietnamese egg coffee differs from Swedish egg coffee, in which the grounds are brewed with egg. Since Vietnamese egg coffee is about the custard foam on top, yes, you can brew coffee in whichever method you prefer and then add the topping. You do want to brew a strong batch if using a drip coffee maker.
I don’t recommend making the topping ahead of time. It needs to be enjoyed fresh for the best results.
You can serve this coffee in a typical coffee mug or small glass. I like using double-walled glasses to hold the heat in longer.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
10-Minute Creamy Vietnamese Egg Coffee
- 4-6 ounces very strong coffee or espresso
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
- Chocolate shavings or cocoa powder, for garnish
- Brew coffee or espresso. While it's steeping, set your glass in a cup full of hot water to keep it warm.
- Meanwhile, place egg and sweetened condensed milk in a large jar. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, and whisk together the egg and condensed milk for 5-6 minutes. Mixture will become very frothy and smooth.
- Serve immediately with chocolate shavings, or cocoa powder. Excellent with shortbread cookies!
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.