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Len's Coffee®

How To Use A Vietnamese Phin Coffee Filter

The flavor obtained from these small and inexpensive brewers is incomparable. No paper filters needed, no big machine setup or cleaning needed to brew a simple cup of delicious coffee. It brews a single (6oz, typically) cup of intense coffee. For authentic Vietnamese café-style coffee, brew over sweetened condensed milk!

On this page, you can find video instructions, simple written instructions, and detailed pictorial instructions, so you can pick whichever works best for you.

Our Own Video Instructions:


Simple Written Instructions:

  1. Set the spanner (the widest piece of the set) over your mug, with the filter cup sitting inside the spanner's indentation.Measure coffee into the Phin filter chamber
  2. Add a tablespoon of slightly coarse-ground coffee (French press grind) to the filter cup. Smooth it level.
  3. Place the insert on top. Nestle it snugly into the coffee, but don't press down hard.
  4. Add a little hot water, just enough to cover the insert. Wait a few seconds while the coffee absorbs the water.
  5. Add more hot water, filling the filter cup to about 1/4 inch from the top.
  6. Place the cap on top to help hold in the heat.
  7. Wait 4 minutes, then set the filtr aside and enjoy!

Quick tips and troubleshooting:

If the coffee brews in much less than 4 minutes, try a finer grind, or use more coffee.
On the other hand, if 4 minutes pass and a lot of the water is still in the filter cup, use a coarser grind, or use less coffee.
To avoid drips after you're done brewing, turn the lid upside down, set it on the tabletop, and use it as a saucer for the filter.

Detailed pictorial instructions:

Measure out 3 slightly rounded teaspoons or one rounded tablespoon of coffee and place it into the filter chamber. When the coffee is in the filter chamber, it looks like this. Tap the chamber a little so it will drain evenly.

You can adjust the quantity somewhat for your taste, but if you use too little, it will brew too fast and lose flavor, and if you use too much, it will brew too slowly and get cold. The first time you use the filter, measure the time it takes to brew. Adjust the amount of coffee thereafter until it takes between 3.5 and 4.5 minutes for all the water to drain through.

Placing the insert into the Phin filter

Place the filter insert on top of the coffee, spin it once, and tamp the coffee down a little. Don't pack it tightly or it won't drain right.

Placing the insert into the Phin filter

Place the filter set on your coffee cup. Wet the coffee using about 20ml of hot water... which makes the water level rise to about 1/8 inch above the filter base. Wait 20 seconds for the water to sink into the coffee. This will hydrate the grounds and fill in any air holes.

Water will cool off during brewing. Start with water 185°ree; - 205°ree;. Water from a hot water (tea) machine is fine, or water just before the boiling point. CAUTION: Metal filter parts will get hot when you add hot water, so be careful touching them.

Adding water to the Phin filter

It doesn't matter if all the water sinks in, after 20 seconds, pour the rest of the water in as shown. Pour it to the top of the filter cup. Put the filter cap on to help keep the heat in.

Don't worry if some grounds float loose, this is normal.

View into the brewing Phin filter

Brew for about 4 minutes. If you are using a glass cup, it is easier to see when the brewing is done. If not, then after 4 minutes lift the cap and see if the water has drained.

Phin filter assembly atop the cup

The picture shows a fully drained filter.

Sometimes after 4 minutes there will still be a little water brewing. No problem, if you want to drink the coffee now, turn the cap upside down on the table and place the whole filter assembly on top to finish draining. You can add the extra from the cap to your cup later if you want.

Phin filter fully drained of coffee

The final picture shows the filter assembly draining into the upturned cap beside a finished cup of coffee.

If you use sweetened condensed milk, put the milk in before you put the filter set on the cup. After the cup is finished brewing, stir the condensed milk up into the coffeee.


Phin filter finished brewing coffee
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