Vietnamese French press coffee

Served over ice or hot, French pressed coffee is a great after-dinner drink or just a tasty treat on its own. It’s part of the menu at Pho Kauai at the Rice Shopping Center in Lihue.

Kauai grown coffee is just fine, but for traditional Vietnamese coffee, that certain taste only comes from importing coffee grown in Vietnam. It’s one way to have that pausing moment after a meal to reflect and then jump back into the busy schedule.

“That is very Vietnamese,” said Pho Kauai owner Keith Do.

Order it up and sometime during lunch or dinner the server will bring two glasses.

One is a tall glass filled with ice. The other is a short glass underneath a French drip filter.

After pouring some hot water into the metal container, the imported dark roast Vietnamese coffee drips down below onto the condensed milk in the glass. The condensed milk is optional, but it’s a big part of the flavor.

The anticipation builds over several minutes. If you are still eating a great lunch or dinner then the wait does not feel so long.

After the water has blended the coffee with the condensed milk, just remove the French drip canister and stir the coffee with a spoon. If you want it hot, then just drink it out of the short glass. If you like it cold, then pour it over the ice in the tall glass.

“Some prefer to have it on ice, but you can drink it cold or hot,” Do said.

It’s a great conclusion to a meal, with the coffee both soothing and a little pick-me-up to restore that energy for the afternoon at work.

“It’s the companion drink to the Bahn mi, Do said. “The Vietnamese would have their sandwich, and then smoke and have coffee.”

It’s also a good companion to dessert. Try coffee with the Tapioca and coconut milk pudding, or the creamy Flan pudding with its dark caramel and light custard blend.

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