Vietnamese Coffee Without the Wait

Curbside Coffee, Coffee Bar and Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco all serve versions of our favorite iced drink

The standard Vietnamese coffee procedure: You watch hot coffee seep through a rickety metal strainer into a glass of ice, drop by drop, onto a pool of sweetened condensed milk, until you can't wait any longer.

When we don't have the patience for traditional ca phe sua da, we look for instant gratification at three San Francisco spots.

At Curbside Coffee, a tiny trailer in SoMa, the baristas keep a table packed with Vietnamese-coffee setups. When you order a cup ($3.50), he or she will dump in ice, stir and serve. Curbside's version gets that classic combination of caramelized milk and coffee's bitter bite just right. 

A steady stream of customers leave Coffee Bar's two downtown locations with plastic cups of milky Vietnamese iced coffee ($3.50) in hand. It's pre-mixed, and nowhere near as syrupy as classic ca phe sua da, but ridiculously smooth–the result of cold-steeping Bolivian beans for 24 hours.

The quickest version of all? A scoop of Humphry Slocombe's Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream ($3.25), flecked with enough microscopic grains of Blue Bottle Coffee and as potent as a latte. Bring a pint home for your next secret breakfast.