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24 October 2011 / leggypeggy

How about a Tia Maria for breakfast?

Vietnamese coffee.

We arrived in Vietnam at sparrow’s fart, after spending the night sleeping on the floor at the border with Laos (see Yes, there’s a motorcycle under all that stuff in the Vietnam category).

Breakfast was our first stop. Poor John and I ordered two black coffees and two bowls of noodles. Imagine our surprise when glasses of thick black liquid arrived, accompanied by glasses of ice. Each drink glass held about 1/4 cup of ‘coffee’ and was topped by a metal drip filter.

Once all the dripping was done, I tasted gingerly. It was alcohol, very much like Tia Maria. A few of our group had ordered beers, so maybe they thought we’d ordered coffee liqueur.

Straightaway, I warned Poor John not to drink any. He has had to abstain after a nasty and clingy bout of hepatitis some years ago.

So being a trooper, I drank his and mine. Burp!

Well it wasn’t Tia Maria, and it was’t alcohol.

Madame Cuc's version—not quite as strong as some.

This was our introduction to Vietnamese coffee. It’s made with finely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee, and often flavoured with chicory. We should have poured the coffee over the ice, plus we should have had it with an equal amount of sweetened condensed milk. But we didn’t know that at the time.

It’s not my favourite way of having coffee, although Madame Cuc’s Hotel in Saigon did a great version. She served it hot and not quite as strong as most of the cups we had.

And speaking of strong—those two shots I had at breakfast near the border didn’t make me tipsy, but they sure gave me a caffeine buzz.


Leave a Comment
  1. Nona Shinagawa Myers / Oct 29 2011 4:33 am

    I’ve had these in the past and it’s not my cup of coffee either. But, then I don’t much like sweet anything HA.


  2. leggypeggy / Oct 29 2011 6:54 pm

    Must say though that they are impressive to look at. Wish I’d thought to take a pic with a glass of ice alongside.


  3. hiMe / Sep 22 2014 6:32 pm

    This is Vietnamese iced coffee, don’t mistake it with Western iced coffee when you order in a Vietnamese restaurant like a Thai friend of mine in a Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney.


    • leggypeggy / Sep 22 2014 9:33 pm

      I really like the Vietnamese iced coffee once I realised what it was. It’s taste is really strong, but good.


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