Camp Vietnamese Iced Coffee

GonDirtin's Camp Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Camp Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Cà Phê Sữa Đá

We partnered with GonDirtin on an easy to make, homemade Vietnamese iced coffee recipe for your next camping adventure. Read more about why our vacuum stainless Horizon drinkware collection is the perfect hot or cold beverage accessory for your upcoming road trips! 

This post is sponsored by CamelBak but the content and opinions expressed here are GonDirtin's.

It’s a well known fact that camping and coffee go hand-in-hand. The fact that we make the choice to all leave our day-to-day grind to slow down and appreciate what’s around us for a few days, a week, a month, or indefinitely. That very cup filled with that black soul nourishing liquid is the exact catalyst for many of us to take a step back, breathe in a little deeper, and turn down the go-go-go clock.

In Vietnam, the humble cup of coffee is a cultural icon. It’s everywhere and consumed at all times of day. It’s a very distinct and unique cup of coffee. It’s normally grow-hair-on-your-chest strong, iced, sweet, bitter, and syrup-y thick. All those qualities basically force the drinker to really, really slow down. A single cup of coffee can be enjoyed over the course of 30-40 minutes while chillin on a scooter, or a small plastic stool mere inches from the never ending stream of traffic. City life in Vietnam is fast. Very fast. And a cup of cà phê sữa đá is exactly what’s needed for the Vietnamese people to sit down and appreciate life just for a moment.

The ultra slow down effect of a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee makes it the perfect wind down beverage for a middle-of-nowhere campsite. Grab a cup, sit next to a river or stream, and maybe, just maybe, in-between the gentle trickling of water, you can hear the faint sound of thousands of scooters zipping past you.


  • 3 Tbsp Cafe Du Monde ground coffee, or any Robusta coffee grounds.
  • 3 Tbsp condensed milk 
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 pinch of salt
  • (optional) two drops of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of ice



This is a recipe more about technique than anything else. The amounts can be changed to suit your own personal preference. Want it more coffee tasting? Add less condensed milk. Want it sweeter, and creamier? Add more condensed milk. Don’t want to stay awake for the next three days? Add less coffee grounds.

Start by pouring, or spooning in, the condensed milk into your filtering vessel of choice. At camp, Karissa and I prefer to use vacuum insulated mugs for pretty much any drink —hot or cold, it doesn’t matter.

Next, spoon in the coffee grounds. A good indicator is by having coffee grounds sitting above the long screw that sits inside the dipper. I always add 1/4 or 1/2 pinch of salt. This cuts back on the coffee’s harshness. For added luxury, I add a few drops of vanilla extract. If you don’t have it, it’s not the end of the world. But the extra flavor definitely ups the outdoors luxury up a few notches! Press the coffee down with a bit of pressure with the insert. You want to tamp it just a little so the water soaks into the beans longer before it exits out of the filter and into the cup. You’ll know you’ve tamped the beans properly if you have a very slow drip once the water is added in. Next, pour in enough hot water to just cover the beans. Let the beans “bloom” for 40 seconds to 1 minute. Pour in more hot water to the top of the filter. Add the rest of the water once there’s enough filtered through.

Sit back, take in the world around you, and let the coffee slowly drip away. This process should take from 7-10 minutes. The longer it takes to finish filtering through, the stronger your coffee will be. Once the water is finished filtering, go ahead and stir the coffee and the condensed milk together to incorporate. You should be left with a wonderfully dark, and thick, caramel colored liquid. The coffee and condensed milk should have the consistency of loose syrup. If your finger creates a clean line on the back of a spool, you’ll know that the coffee is thick enough. 

Finally, add in ice and stir. Ice from a cooler would more than suffice, but if you have an ice maker built into your powered refrigerator, that would work as well!

Why vacuum insulated cups?

There’s a reason we choose vacuum insulated cups as part of our forever camp gear. They keep cold drinks cold, and hot drinks hot. It’s a simple concept, but keeping things at the right temperature goes a long, long way out in the middle of nowhere.

On those colder days, any single walled cup would have a hot drink’s heat sucked out of it instantly. The same goes for when it’s hot out. That perfectly chilled drink will be lukewarm in no time flat.

The CamelBak Horizon Camp Mug prolonged the life of our ice in the Vietnamese coffee and thus, prolonging the moment of slowing down.

We don’t enjoy the outdoors because it has a hustle, or because it’s a fast paced lifestyle. It’s a far cry from that. Each minute is counted by each sip of coffee, and if we take a sip every 2-3 minutes. That’s a measurement of time we’re more than okay with.

Learn more about the products available in CamelBak’s Horizon Drinkware Collection here.

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