Camille Styles

The Sweeter Side

Finally. A Guilt-Free Vietnamese Coffee Recipe

July 30th, 2018

We’ve officially entered the dog days of summer. The time of year when days are best spent lazily bobbing around in the pool, enjoying the occasional umbrella-garnished cocktail, but more importantly, hydrating like it’s your job. Being from Texas, it’s the time of year I start daydreaming about getting away — jet setting to a faraway and exotic locale where the sites, smells, tastes and hopefully the occasional breeze are enough to distract from any triple digit temperatures in the forecast. Unfortunately, there are no exotic getaways in view. Between weddings, weddings and more weddings, my vacation pot is dwindling (I have a feeling some of you can relate) so I’m firmly planted here in Austin for the foreseeable future. But you know what? It’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay. Because a little cabin fever gives me time to focus on finding inspiration in the everyday, not to mention spend some quality time at all of my favorite local spots.

Recently, I was brunching at one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants and, on a slightly indulgent whim, decided to treat myself to a Vietnamese iced coffee. It hit the spot. The rich, dark coffee played perfectly with the cloyingly sweet (in a good way) condensed milk to create a cold and refreshing brunch treat that was exactly what I needed on a warm summer morning. I’ve been craving another one ever since. But since super dark coffee spiked with sugar-packed condensed milk feels a little too indulgent for the everyday — and my mornings are without a doubt more productive sans sugar rush — I decided to turn my new obsession into a dessert. After all, desserts are expected to be sweet, and I love to treat this granita as a special addition to my often more thoughtful and elaborate weekend meals.

Vietnamese Coffee Granita

camille styles vietnamese coffee granita

Serves 6-8 servings


For the condensed coconut milk:

1 13.5 can full-fat coconut milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or sweetener of your choice)


For the coffee granita:

2 cups plain cold brew concentrate (or chilled strong coffee)

1 cup water

3/4 cups granulated sugar


To prepare the condensed coconut milk:

  1. Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. It will bubble when it boils so keep a close eye on it.
  2. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour. The mixture will reduce by about half and will start to thicken.
  4. Transfer to a heat-proof container and chill in the refrigerator. The condensed milk will continue to thicken as it cools.

To prepare the granita: 

  1. Add the cold brew concentrate to a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and heat over low only until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add the sugar syrup to the cold brew concentrate and mix well. Refrigerate for about an hour, until cool.
  4. Pour the mixture into a 13×9 inch baking pan (metal will promote faster freezing than glass) and place in the freezer. After an hour, run a dinner fork through the mixture to break up any ice crystals that have started to form. Repeat every 30 minutes for the next 2-4 hours, until granita is fully frozen into fluffy crystals. You can keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to serve and fluff again with a fork just before serving.

To serve: 

  1. Portion granita between the serving vessels of you choice (fancy cocktail or wine glasses work great here).
  2. Drizzle with condensed coconut milk.
  3. Enjoy!

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