Boba Buddha’s Vietnamese Coffee Boba Recipe

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Vietnamese coffee (locally called cà phê) takes its distinct flavor from its preparation method— filtering Vietnamese dark roast beans with a phin. The result is a creamy, sweet, and rich coffee that can be easily repurposed into a bubble tea recipe. Learn how to make Vietnamese coffee boba at home using the recipe below.

To make this recipe authentically, you’ll need a Vietnamese coffee filter (phin) and Vietnamese coffee beans. Remember that Vietnamese coffee (made with Robusta beans) has approximately double the amount of caffeine as a cup of American coffee (made with Arabica beans).

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Vietnamese Coffee Boba

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Serving 1x


Combining the caffeinated kick of rich dark roast beans, the sweet and decadent condensed milk, and the gooey texture of tapioca pearls, this recipe is satisfying and energizing!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ground Robusta Vietnamese coffee beans
  • 2 tbsp condensed milk
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar tapioca pearls
  • 2 tsp brown sugar syrup


  1. Cook the tapioca pearls according to the package directions. Drain the pearls and transfer them to a bowl.
  2. Toss the pearls with the brown sugar and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Pour the condensed milk and boba pearls into a serving glass.
  4. Remove the lid of the phin coffee filter and add ground coffee. Screw the screen back, then place the filter over the serving glass.
  5. Pour hot water to cover the ground coffee beans and steep for 30 seconds.
  6. Loosen the filter screen screw for two rotations to let the water go through the filter. A rate of 3 to 4 drips per second is optimal.
  7. Remove the filter once the water has passed. Stir the contents in the serving cup together, wait until it’s cool, add ice and a thick straw, and enjoy.
SEE ALSO:  Boba Buddha’s Kefir and Pineapple Boba Tea Recipe


You can make a hot version of this coffee boba recipe by following the same preparation instructions and skipping the ice.

You can make it less sweet by halving the condensed milk and replacing it with a half-and-half.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes

What Does Vietnamese Coffee Boba Taste Like?

Vietnamese coffee boba tastes rich, robust, and creamy. First-time drinkers will notice that the dark roast coffee beans add a subtle chocolate and vanilla richness to the drink, while the condensed milk adds a rich and creamy sweetness.

The richness of the Robusta beans is mellowed by the sweetness of the condensed milk, creating a smooth and easy flavor. Robusta coffee is known to have an intense flavor and nutty aftertaste. The tapioca pearls absorb a little bit of the flavor of the coffee, but they’re neutral in flavor and are mostly there to serve as a textural treat.

How Many Calories Are in Vietnamese Coffee Boba?

Vietnamese iced coffee contains approximately 140 calories, and a one-fourth cup of boba pearls contains 136 calories; this amounts to 276 calories per serving of Vietnamese coffee boba. However, you can reduce this by decreasing the amount of condensed milk you use.

Some recipes use whole milk to lower the sweetness and thickness of the drink. If you want to reduce your caloric intake, vegan milk, like almond and soy milk, are viable alternatives to whole milk. Skim milk is also fine if you don’t want to go completely dairy-free.

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Vietnamese coffee phin

What Are the Benefits of Vietnamese Coffee?

Vietnamese coffee isn’t only a great drink to kickstart sleepy mornings; it’s also quite healthy.

Here are a few notable health benefits of Vietnamese coffee:

  • Vietnamese coffee is packed with chlorogenic acids, which can help reduce both blood pressure and overall body fat.
  • Vietnamese coffee in moderation can help prevent heart disease.
  • This beverage helps in weight loss.
  • This drink also slows the development of fibrosis and is overall good for liver health.
  • Vietnamese coffee is a good source of calcium and potassium, with only 30mg of cholesterol and 5g of saturated fat.

That said, the sweetened condensed milk can spike your sugar levels, so it’s important to drink your coffee boba in moderation.

Vietnamese Coffee vs. American Coffee

Vietnamese coffeeAmerican coffee
Made from Robusta coffee beansMade from Arabica coffee beans
Has a bitter and earthy flavorHas a smooth, sweet, slightly acidic taste
Has approximately 200 mg of caffeine per cupHas about 95 mg of caffeine per cup
Made with a special filter called a phinMade with paper filters or machines
Contains condensed milkGenerally contains cream and sugar

Which Toppings Are Best in Vietnamese Coffee Boba?

Vietnamese coffee boba is a flavorful twist to your usual iced coffee. There are a plethora of toppings you can add to enhance the flavor and texture of your drink, such as:

  • Tapioca pearls 
  • Coconut jelly
  • Popping boba
  • Egg pudding
  • Sugar-coated berries
  • Ice cream

And so much more! Half the fun of making Vietnamese coffee boba is experimenting with different toppings and flavor combinations.


Joshua always had a sweet tooth, but he could never stand the fizziness of soft drinks. So when he was first introduced to milk tea, he fell in love with its creamy sweetness and lack of carbonation. Now, Joshua is constantly on the lookout for new and interesting milk tea flavors to try. His favorite flavor is Cheesecake, but he also enjoys Wintermelon, Taro, and Matcha.

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