Vietnamese Coffee Granita

vietnamese coffee granita

I’m not exactly a big coffee drinker. I’m not one of those people who need coffee every morning to start their day or to wake up (and if we know each other in real life, you must know that I don’t need any extra help in being extra perky in the mornings). But I do like coffee ice cream. And tiramisu. And mochas. And iced vanilla lattes. Basically sweet and creamy stuff that border on dessert. Mmm-mmm.

Lately I’ve been noticing Vietnamese coffee being offered in coffee shops and bakeries, and I realized it’s basically just regular coffee sweetened with condensed milk. This is something that one of my sisters love to do (we’re a family of condensed milk fans), and I wasted no time in making that my default order at my local cafe.

coffee granita with condensed milk

I also wasted no time in dreaming up a dessert that would combine those two flavors: coffee and condensed milk. At first I thought about making no churn coffee ice cream, laced with thick swirls of creamy sweetened condensed milk, but I wanted something a little lighter, so instead I decided on this granita instead. Vietnamese Coffee Granita.

I’ve made granitas a few times before (see: Strawberries and Cream, Lemon Basil) and I’m endlessly fascinated by how easy it is to make, and how fancy it looks and tastes!

stumptown cold brew coffee

This is essentially espresso-flavored Italian ice, spiked with a little bit of hazelnut liqueur, then topped with sweet and creamy condensed milk (the condensed milk is what makes it “Vietnamese-style”).

I bought hipster coffee (aka Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee) from Whole Foods (it looks cool, right?) mixed that with some sugar and booze (OF COURSE) and then waited impatiently to scrape the frozen crystals every 30 minutes or so. When it was all fluffed up and perfect, I scooped up the granita into my favorite martini glasses, and swirled a tablespoon of condensed milk on top.

coffee granita

Each bite was icy cold and refreshing – so perfect during last week’s heat wave – and I absolutely loved the sweetness and creaminess that the condensed milk brings. In hindsight I could’ve added more booze (coffee flavored tequila, perhaps? Or Kahlua?! Baileys?!?) but I like that this sophisticated dessert only had a hint of alcohol, but a whole lotta decadence.

cold brew coffee granita

Yield: serves 4

Vietnamese Coffee Granita


2 cups coffee (I used Stumptown Cold Brew)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur (Kahlua would work nicely, too)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk


  1. Combine the coffee, sugar, and liqueur a flat baking pan or any other freezer-safe container.
  2. Place in freezer and freeze until icy around edges, about 30 minutes. Using a fork, stir icy portions into middle of pan.
  3. Place back in freezer, stirring frozen edges into center every 30-45 minutes, for about 2 1/2 hours, making flaky crystals using a fork.
  4. After the last scraping and fluffing up, transfer into serving glasses and top each serving with a tablespoon of condensed milk. Serve immediately. This can be made a day or two ahead, just keep it frozen.

cold brew vietnamese coffee

Do you have a favorite granita flavor? What do you think of condensed milk in coffee?


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