Frequently Asked Phin Brewing Questions

What is a phin?

A phin is a small metal drip filter commonly used in Vietnam to brew coffee. It’s a mix between a pour-over and a French Press, and an essential part of the traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing process. The word "phin" is derived from the French word "filtre," as the French colonial period influenced the brewing style.
The phin consists of three main components:
  • Metal Filter Chamber: The filter chamber is a cup-shaped container made of metal with small holes or perforations at the bottom.
  • Filter Press: The filter press is a round plate with a diameter slightly smaller than the filter chamber. It fits snugly inside the chamber and can be lifted or pressed down.
  • Lid: The lid is a small cap that sits on top of the filter chamber and helps retain heat during brewing.

How do I use a phin?

  1. Bring water to a boil.

  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee to phin.

  3. Insert tamper and gently even out grinds while pressing down.

  4. Place the entire filter on top of a cup.

  5. Pour enough water to coat the grinds. Allow the coffee to bloom for 30-60 seconds.

  6. Fill hot water to the top of the phin’s rim.

  7. Allow the coffee to drip slowly; the process should last approximately 5 minutes.

  8. Add condensed milk for traditional cà phê sũ’a đá, or enjoy with your favorite add-ons.

  9. Enjoy iced or hot.

The phin brewing method allows for a slow and controlled extraction, resulting in a strong and flavorful cup of coffee. 

Do I need a phin to brew Fat Miilk coffee?

You do not need a phin to brew our coffee; while we highly recommend it for the experience, authenticity, and flavor - you can brew Fat Miilk coffee any way you prefer. 

What’s the best grind size for phin brewing?

Grind size minimally differs depending on the filter holes of phins, but we recommend a moderately “fine grind” when using our filters. If you choose to have your coffee ground by us, it will be prepared to fit perfectly in our phin tools.  

How do I clean my phin?

Although our phins are dishwasher safe (top-rack only), we recommend hand-washing our phins to prevent any damage to the individual parts and to preserve the design. After emptying out the grounds, wash your phin with warm water and dish soap using a non-abrasive sponge or towel, then allow to air-dry. 

Why does my coffee taste watered down after brewing with a phin?

If your coffee tastes watered down, you might not be allowing the grounds to bloom properly when brewing. The first water pour should only be enough to coat the grounds. By doing this, you dampen the coffee and allow it to “bloom,” which releases its natural gasses and, in turn makes room for more water. After a minute or two, you can then fill hot water to the top of the phin’s rim and let it drip!

The phin brewing method allows for a slow and controlled extraction, resulting in a strong and flavorful cup of coffee. If the brew is not what you desire, using more or less water may be the solution.

How do I make Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk?

We love a classic Cà Phê Sữa Đá (Vietnamese robusta coffee with condensed milk over ice) and our bold coffee is perfect for adding any additional flavors you desire. We recommend brewing one of our dark-roasted coffees using our phin filter, then pouring it over sweetened condensed milk, stirring until combined, and finally adding ice. While sweetness is up to preference, we stick to a 7:1 coffee-to-condensed milk ratio for a 12 oz cup. 

Why does your phin brew such a small amount of coffee?

Phins come in various sizes, but our phins are intended to brew “one big serving” for a single sitting, roughly holding 9.5 oz and yielding anywhere between 10-16 fluid ounces (depending on how many passes of water you prefer).