Phin Filter: Learn the Vietnamese Way

Jan 03, 2023 • Shirnyl Dorothy Magos

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Coffee is traditionally brewed in Vietnam using a filter called a phin, often referred to as a Vietnamese phin. Amazingly, the Vietnamese developed the Phin filter to make a fantastic cup of coffee without sophisticated equipment. Are you curious to find out what Vietnamese phin coffee filters are like? How do they work? Read on to learn the Vietnamese way of coffee-making!

What is a Phin Coffee Filter?

The phin filter, also known as the Vietnamese phin, is a traditional and widely used method of brewing coffee in Vietnam. Made of either aluminum or stainless steel, it's much more portable than a traditional Moka pot. Another common name for this coffee preparation tool is "Vietnamese coffee maker" or "Vietnamese coffee press."

The phin filter is a highly effective and efficient coffee brewing method, and its use has grown in favor. It is a straightforward machine that consists of a metal disc kept in place by a metal spring and a lid.

The disc is on top of the device. Coffee grounds are on top of the cover. Then, hot water is poured over the coffee grounds, which filters through the coffee grounds, providing a delicious cup of coffee.

It is a credit to the creativity of the Vietnamese people that they were able to develop the phin filter, which enables them to create a great cup of coffee without the need for sophisticated gear.

vietnamese coffee on a table with a phin filter

Who Invented The Phin Coffee Filter?

In the tradition of Vietnamese coffee, a phin coffee filter is an essential tool. This tool has been around for generations, although people are still determining where it came from in the first place. It is thought that the phin, also known as the Vietnamese coffee filter, was first created at the end of the 19th century when the French occupied Vietnam. 

Types of Vietnamese Phin Filter

Interestingly, you don’t need a coffee filter to brew coffee using the Vietnamese Phin. Thus, this brewing tool makes no paper waste!

Screw-on filter

The mechanism of the press is adjustable through a screw. It fastens to the lower section of the brewing chamber, and from that point on, you can adjust how tightly the coffee bed is compressed by turning the screw in either direction.

This filter is ideal for pre-ground coffee since it compacts the grounds and regulates the drip rate. Because freshly ground coffee needs space to expand, degas, and bloom, using a screw-on filter may be more of a challenge.

Gravity press filter 

A gravity press is a type of coffee press that does not need a weight or lock to keep it in place; instead, it simply rests on top of the coffee. Unlike other methods, brewing coffee using a gravity press allows for releasing trapped gas, which is especially important when using freshly roasted coffee.

Parts of a Vietnamese Phin Filter

There are four main components that make up the Phin Filter:


It serves as a cover for the filter while the coffee is brewing. The small dish rests on top of the coffee after it is made.


This goes on top of the ground coffee in the filter before adding water.

Filter cup/Chamber

Water and coffee are poured in here. This cup has a standard-sized opening at the top and a perforated bottom that allows the brew to escape but keeps the coffee grounds in.


This perforated dish is essential to maintain the filter's position over the cup.

How Many Size Phin Filters?

The phin is, in fact, available in a range of sizes to accommodate various serving needs. Typically, a 4-ounce serving of phin is considered a single-serve size.

The 8-ounce phin is ideal for a hearty single-serve or double-serve. 
Big phins may carry as much as 40 ounces of water, making them ideal for brewing in bulk (family style!).
As the size of the phin increases, so does the quantity of coffee required.

4 parts of a phin filter

How To Use Vietnamese Phin Filter?

When working with a single serving size of 4 ounces, such as we have here, follow these basic rules:

  1. Put in 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds. 
  2. Place the filter press atop the coffee.
  3. Then, the plate and chamber should be set on a cup of coffee.
  4. Bring water to a boil between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Pour in 0.8 ounces of hot water. Or enough to fill the filter press by half an inch.
  6. Give it 30 seconds to bloom.
  7. Then, fill the phin with water until it reaches the top (total of 4 ounces).

The following is a list of the metrics that you should try to achieve when brewing using the Vietnamese phin:

  • The first drop should fall during the first two minutes.
  • The final drip should be about 5 minutes.
  • By adjusting the grind size, you can have a good brew if the initial drip comes out in 2 minutes and the last drip comes out in 5 minutes.

If the water rushes through too quickly, it suggests the grind size is too large, leading to limited extraction. If you brew it too slowly, it will scorch the coffee since the grind size is too small, and the water won't get through.

In this 88rising video below, Sahra Nguyen will show you how to use the Phin Filter.


How To Identify the Best Phin Filter For Your Use?

Since Vietnamese Phin filters come in different sizes, there are a few factors you should consider regarding which ones to use. 

For one individual serving of coffee

The 4 oz phin filter is ideal if you only consume one cup of coffee daily or if your household only has a few coffee drinkers. Every cup of coffee brewed in this Vietnamese coffee maker is just the right size. 

The coffee grinds can be re-infused with 2 to 4 ounces of water for a second brew if you like a lighter roast or more liquid in your cup. This method yields a smoother and less intense cup of coffee but is still full of flavor and intensity.

For more servings of coffee

The 12 oz phin filter could be the perfect option for you if you like to drink more than one cup of coffee each day or if you like to have a little more in your cup than what most other coffee filters provide. 

For family-sized servings of coffee

The 24 oz phin filter is ideal for large families and serious coffee drinkers. Whether you're making Vietnamese coffee to drink later or for a large gathering, this extra-large phin filter will get the job done. A second brew is possible, as it is with every phin filter. You can get even more coffee out of it. If you drink more than three cups of coffee daily or host frequent get-togethers, you'll want to invest in this premium phin filter.

Where to buy a phin filter?

The Gladiator Coffee is has received extensive reviews on Amazon. The instructions proposed to use condensed milk and it turned out great. It worked great with creamer in place of the milk.

Gladiator Phin Filter

On a more economical side, you can use the Kleeklea Vietnamese Coffee Drip Filter. Great device to make strong and flavorful coffee; it is simple and yet I can extract the most flavor from coffee.

Kleeklea coffee filter

The Thang Long Phin Filter by Trung Nguyen is a good quality Phins, Amazon customer's highly rate it, and these come with a LIFETIME warranty. If you're making espresso, go for the 4oz Phin. For a regular cup of coffee, I'd recommend the 6oz or 8oz Phin's. If you love your coffee, do what I do and make multiple cups, rather than one large one. This keeps the coffee hot and fresh.

Thank Long Phin filter


Dorothy is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RND) and teaches food and nutrition at a university. She is also a freelance writer and a fitness enthusiast. As a coffee lover, she appreciates the taste of a well-pressed cup of coffee and the beautiful complexity of each brewing method.

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