Ice coffee in a tall glass with cream poured over and coffee beans on a grey stone background.
Food - Drink
Bc Xu: The Lesser-Known Vietnamese Coffee
What is Bc Xu
Although similar to the more popular phê sữa đá, or Vietnamese iced coffee, bạc xỉu, is a sweeter, less robust iced coffee drink. Also called Saigon-style coffee, bạc xỉu uses all the same ingredients as Vietnamese iced coffee, just in different proportions, resulting in a lighter, milkier drink.
While Vietnamese iced coffee was concocted as a way to enjoy coffee, bạc xỉu likely originated as a way to enjoy milk. In the early days of French colonialism, fresh dairy was scarce, so condensed milk and hot water were mixed with a bit of coffee to create a milk-like beverage that could be enjoyed even by children.
How It’s Made
Bạc xỉu starts with coffee prepared in the iconic Phin brewer, and it is either brewed over ice or mixed with ice until cool. Next, a half cup of ice, three tablespoons of condensed milk, and four ounces of cold milk are combined, vigorously shaken, and served in a glass with the cold coffee poured over the top.
The most immediate distinction between bạc xỉu and cà phê sữa đá is visual, with bạc xỉu having a much lighter color due to the amount of milk. Aside from color, bạc xỉu has a creamy, frothy texture, a lack of any bitter flavor, and a pleasantly oily mouth-feel due to the beverage’s high fat content.