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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Savoring the fusion of salt coffee

By Viet An

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Vietnam’s coffee culture is renowned, boasting iconic creations like Saigon’s iced coffee and Hanoi’s famed egg coffee. Adding a flavorful twist to the mix, salt coffee has burst onto the scene, becoming a quintessential representation of Hue’s culinary charm. This innovative concoction has swiftly won the hearts of both locals and tourists, offering a refreshing take on the coffee experience.

Crafting this delightful fusion of coastal and highland flavors is an art that demands a delicate balance of ingredients. It’s all about harmonizing that oceanic essence with the unique highland character, resulting in a morning elixir that resonates with many Vietnamese coffee aficionados.

Nailing the balance is crucial—too much bitterness, saltiness, or sweetness can throw off the whole show.

To bring this enchanting brew to life, baristas choose between Robusta and Arabica beans, skillfully using a stainless steel filter for brewing. The coffee leisurely drips into a cup with a dollop of condensed milk at its base. Once the brewing is done, the coffee and milk mingle in a stirring dance, reminiscent of the technique used for Vietnamese milk coffee.

Now, here’s where the magic happens—enter the salted whipped cream. Heavy cream gets whipped up with a dash of condensed milk and a sprinkle of white salt until it forms a luscious foam. This creamy cloud is then gently poured atop the milk coffee, creating a luxurious cap. The secret weapon here is the touch of salt, which masterfully tames the traditional coffee’s bitterness, mellows the condensed milk’s sweetness, and elevates the coffee’s inherent richness. It is a flexible treat too—enjoy it piping hot or chilled for a refreshing twist.

Those captivated by salt coffee can explore it in two enticing ways. Either stir the cream foam and coffee for a harmonious blend, or let them stay separate in layers. The first sip takes you on a flavor journey—starting with a hint of bitterness that tantalizes your taste buds, followed by the creamy indulgence merging with a playful pinch of saltiness that lingers softly on your palate. It is a symphony of flavors that plays out beautifully.

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