The City’s Newest Café Is Dedicated to Vietnamese Coffee – Grub Street

Cafe Phin’s iced coconut coffee. Photo: Melissa Hom

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee beans, with a caffeine culture that’s as distinct as that of any other place in the world. It may not obsessed over by American coffee geeks like Italy with its precisely pulled espresso or Australia with its flat whites, but whatever: It’s doing more than just fine by itself. Take the country’s coconut coffee.

Served hot or cold, it’s a dreamy drink, the bitter, earthy beans mellowed out but also enhanced by the milk’s slightly sweet, lush flavor. A good one makes you wonder what’s going wrong in all those American cafés where coconut milk has mostly served to convince customers it doesn’t belong with coffee. Coconut coffee, on the other hand, is the sort of thing you can imagine gulping down when it’s sticky-hot and 90 degrees — and with summer staring New York down, you just may. The distinct drink is now being served by Nguyen Coffee Supply at Cafe Phin, New York’s first Vietnamese café from what is purported to be the country’s first specialty importer of Vietnamese coffee. There, the coconut milk is mixed with a little condensed milk for sweetness, and whole milk.