How to Use a Phin

how to use a phin
How to use a phin filter

Brewing coffee with a phin filter is easier than you might think! We’ll walk you through the brewing process step by step and answer all your questions about how to use a phin filter to brew Vietnamese coffee or your favorite coffee blend.

How to Use a Phin

  1. Start heating your water. If you have an electric kettle that measures temperature, aim for a temperature between 190-205 degrees F. If you’re using a standard kettle, this would be just below a boil.

  2. Grind your coffee beans. If you’re using whole bean coffee, you’ll want a medium-fine grind. Think not as fine as espresso, but a little finer than a pour-over. If you’re using ground coffee, a medium or universal grind works great!

  3. Set up your phin by positioning the perforated plate on top of the mug and place the chamber on top (if it’s not attached). 

  4. Fill chamber with about 2 tbsp of ground coffee. Give it a light shake to evenly distribute the grounds in the chamber.

  5. If included with your phin, set the filter press on top of the grounds. No need to press it down hard - as you add water, gravity will gently tamp down the coffee.

  6. Pour a small amount of hot water (about 1 oz) evenly over your grinds to “bloom” your coffee for 60 seconds. This will purge any carbon dioxide left over from the roasting process—and enhance the overall flavor.

  7. Fill the phin chamber all the way to the top with hot water. Place the included lid on top to help hold in the heat.

  8. Relax and take a few deep breaths of that incredible coffee aroma as it slowly filters down into your mug. One of the best parts of brewing with a phin is the opportunity to take a moment for yourself!

  9. Time to enjoy! When all the water has filtered through, you can sip it as-is, or stir in sweetened-condensed milk to taste for that classic Vietnamese coffee flavor. Pour over ice if desired, and enjoy!

using a phin filter
vietnamese pour over coffee
using a phin filter
brewing with a phin filter

Brewing with a Phin:

Your Questions, Answered

What is a Phin Filter?

A phin or phin filter is the most commonly used coffee brewing tool in Vietnam.

A phin consists of a perforated plate that sits atop the opening of your mug, a chamber that sits on top of the plate, an insert called a filter press (optional) to tamp the grounds down, and a lid to hold in heat while the coffee brews.

Similar to a pour over coffee setup, the chamber of a phin holds ground coffee and brews a small, strong cup of coffee as hot water is poured over the top.

How much coffee do I put in a phin?

Most phins are made to brew a single serving of coffee - about 4oz. For a single-serve phin, you’ll want to use about 2 tablespoons - or 14 grams - of ground coffee.

How much water do I put in a phin?

For a single cup of Vietnamese coffee, you’ll add about 4oz of water over your coffee grounds. A good rule of thumb is to just fill it to the top of the chamber. 

The coffee to water ratio is one of the things that sets a Vietnamese coffee apart from a typical “American coffee.” A traditional Vietnamese phin coffee is super rich and strong, similar to espresso. It’s not meant to fill a large mug. 

How long does a phin take to brew?

It will depend on the size of your phin and the size of the grind! A typical 4 oz phin should take about 3-5 minutes to fully brew.