[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Say, purely hypothetically, you have eight cans of sweetened condensed milk left in the office and enough Vietnamese coffee to power all-nighters for the next few days. You could, I suppose, make some Vietnamese drip coffee every day and keep your caffeine and canned dairy intake at reasonable levels. But that sounds so boring in comparison to Vietnamese coffee ice cream, which is my favorite coffee ice cream variant and one of my favorite ways to take coffee, period.

Vietnamese coffee—that is, the coffee grown in Vietnam like leading brand Trung Nguyen, not the Louisiana-inspired chicory coffee drunk by many members of the Vietnamese-American population—can taste remarkably floral, fruity, and bitter all at once. It has a dark, powerful kick, much more intense than the stuff we're used to, and it's made all the better by a generous slurp of sweetened condensed milk.

The winning drink formula also makes some excellent ice cream, which is at once crisp and bitter like real coffee while also being plenty rich and creamy. That creaminess is thanks in part to the can of condensed milk that goes into this recipe. It leaves a great milky flavor on the finish, but it also does marvelous things for the ice cream's texture, which is smooth to the point of glossy. As the sticky summer doldrums creep ever closer, I'll be looking to ice cream like this more and more when I want something creamy and sweet that's also refreshing.

Get the Recipe

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream »

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.


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