Brewing Tips

Trung Nguyên coffees are typically "strong" for the amount used, which yields good economy, especially since they are reasonably priced to begin with! They are "medium" roast and a relatively coarse grind. They provide a full range of aromatics and flavour from superior cultivation and hand-processing methods, without having to dark-roast or burn the beans, as happens so often these days with lesser coffees.


General Brewing Information

Amount to brew: We recommend, as a starting point, using 8g of coffee to 200ml water: for an eight-cup (900ml) cafetiere, this equates to 30-35g of coffee. For a 'short' more intense coffee, a little more. All of the coffees will produce fine flavors if brewed this way. The grind is quite coarse, and you should leave the coffee for at least 4 minutes before serving.

Type of machine/filter: TN coffee can be brewed using both filter or french press (cafetiere) methods. Espresso (forced steam) machines may be used to brew the ground coffees but the grind is quite coarse and you may need to use a little more coffee than you might expect. TN whole bean coffees when ground fine are excellent when brewed in espresso-type machines.

Some cheaper filter machines heat the water insufficiently and have basket-type filters Generally, look for a machine with a v-shaped filter (similar to Melitta #2 or #4), there are many excellent such machines available at a range of prices.

Vietnamese coffee shops brew one cup at a time in small metal 'phin' filters that sit on top of the cup. The advantage of this method is that the coffee steeps in the grounds for the proper length of time despite the small volume. We stock these filters, which are cheap and reusable indefinitely. Instructions for using this method are shown below.

Coffee "keeping" time and methods: The coffee we import from TN comes directly from the producer to us and is sold immediately on the website. There are two things to remember about fresh coffee:

  • Oxygen deteriorates flavour within hours or days. Keep the bags sealed tightly, or in containers that don't have much extra air.
  • Extreme cold will slow flavour loss. We believe that home freezers do not reach a low enough temperature to make a difference, but others disagree - worth trying this out for yourself.

Brewing Vietnamese coffee with a single-cup filter

These filters are great for people who don't have room for a coffee machine or who like to make a single cup at a time. All you need is hot water and this filter kit.

The kit includes the filter chamber, filter press, cup spanner, and cap. Some people prefer a glass mug or cup because they can watch the progress of the brewing.

This method takes about 6 minutes from start to finish, about the same as brewing in a coffee machine, but it is more fun and guarantees incredible flavor.

Set up the filter

Trung Nguyen coffee is a little coarser than most ground coffee. It is made for this method, although it still works fine in most coffeemakers.

Measure out 3 slightly rounded teaspoons or one rounded tablespoon of coffee and place into the filter chamber.

You can adjust the quantity somewhat for your taste, but if the coffee is too loose it will brew too fast and lose flavor, and if packed too tight, it will brew too slowly and get cold, so don't vary too much from the 3 teaspoons recommended.

Measure the coffee

When the coffee is in the filter chamber it looks like this. Tap the chamber a little to settle it so it will drain evenly

Pack the filter

Place the filter press lightly on top of the coffee by first aligning the slots on the edge with the indentations on the filter as shown by the arrow here. Turn the filter press a little so the slots are not under the indentations. This will keep the filter press in place.

Put in the filter press

Wet the coffee using about 20 ml of hot water... which makes the water level rise to about 1/4" above the filter press. Wait 20 seconds for the water to sink into the coffee.

It doesn't matter if it all sinks in, after 20 seconds, pour the rest of the water in as shown in the next step.

Use the hottest water you can. Water from a hot water (tea) machine is fine, or boiling water.

Pour on a little water

Now pour hot water in till it is almost to the top of the filter chamber. Don't worry if some grounds float loose, they will not affect anything.

Fill the filter

Now it is time for the coffee to brew. put the cap on and put the whole assembly on the cup as shown to the right.

Sit back and relax, the brewing takes about 4-5 minutes typically. If brewing is too fast or too slow, you may want to use less or more coffee next time.

We suggest pre-heating the cup with hot water before you put it together, it helps keep the coffee hotter.

If you want to use condensed sweetened milk, as they do in vietnamese coffeeshops, add one teaspoon of the milk to the cup BEFORE brewing.

On the cup

If you are using a glass cup or mug it is easier to see when the brewing is done. If not, then after 4 minutes lift the cap and see if the water has drained.

The picture shows a fully drained filter, but sometimes after 4-5 minutes there will still be a little water brewing. No problem, remove the cap if you want to drink the coffee at that time, turn the cap upside down onto the table, and place the whole filter assembly on the cap to continue draining. Then you can add the extra to your cup later if you want.

Filtering complete

The final picture shows the filter assembly draining into the upturned cap and a finished cup of coffee. Enjoy one of the finest coffee pleasures available on the planet Earth! Stir the condensed milk up into the coffee or add your cream and sugar at this time.

CAUTION: Filter parts can get hot to the touch, be careful handling them while they are still in contact with the hot water.

Enjoy!