The idea of putting eggs in coffee is unfamiliar to many people, maybe even strange. For others, it’s regarded as a bit of a treat, like cannabutter coffee.
Cà phê trứng, or Vietnamese egg coffee, was invented by Nguyen Gian, a Vietnamese man who faced a milk shortage during World War II. He was working in a hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, and his solution was to mix whipped eggs into the coffee.
Over the years, Gian, along with other residents of Hanoi, a highly caffeinated city, developed egg coffee into a drink you want even when plenty of milk is on the table. It combines the strength of Vietnamese coffee—whose unique coffee culture is powered by robusta beans, rather than the arabica beans ground and brewed in most of the world’s coffee shops—with a sweet frothiness that makes lattes taste like diet drinks.
Referred to by some as an insanely delicious drink, Vietnamese Egg Coffee is thought of as paired with condensed milk. Why is that? Because for generations, people did not have fridges, and many still don’t. So condensed milk became popular.
You only use the egg yolk, but the flavor is not super yolky. When whipped, it’s the texture, not flavor, that comes through.
You want to add the egg-cream when the coffee is still pretty hot to “cook the egg.” When taking a sip, the best part is the hot, bold coffee and cool, silky cream. Those contrasts create this heavenly experience.
Egg coffee is really famous in Hanoi. It’s because of the limitations of not really having espresso machines until recently, not having fresh milk until recently. Egg was a feasible way to complement coffee and give it a dessert treatment, to make it special.
How to make Vietnamese Egg Coffee
- Ground Robusta coffee beans
- 1.5 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups of hot water, plus boiling water for the coffee
- Brew 4 ounces of strong coffee using a manual brewing method.
- Combine egg yolks, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl.
- Mix with an electric wire whisk until thick and foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Boil 2 cups of water. Place it in a heat-safe bowl.
- Place your serving glass in the bowl of hot water. This will help cook the egg topping.
- Pour ½ your coffee into the serving glass.
- Add all of the egg mixture to the top of the serving glass.
- Pour the remaining coffee over the top, allowing it to soak through the egg.
- Allow to sit in the hot water for 3 minutes to help cook the egg through.
- Serve and enjoy!