As recently pointed out in Saveur by Nicholas L. Hall, coffee connoisseur and occasional Houstonia contributor, our city is crazy for ca phe sua da. We grab it from the drive-thru at Lee's and we down it in glass bottles from Caphin, which offers its own Vietnamese iced coffee in a variety of flavors. We eat it as ice cream at Cloud 10 Creamery and we post up over hazy glasses of the strong stuff at Pho Saigon and Don Cafe. But though the ways we consume it differ from day to day, one constant remains each time: its disarming sweetness.
Revival Market introduced a new Vietnamese iced coffee of its own this week that offers a tangier twist on the traditional favorite by blending equal parts sweetened condensed milk with its own house-cultured yogurt. The mix is topped with double-strength iced coffee for a drink that has all the eye-opening qualities of the original and only half the sugar. The taste is far milder than a standard ca phe sua da, with a zippy, tart pucker from Revival's yogurt that makes finishing it far too easy.
The updated drink is the result of Revival Market owner Ryan Pera's recent trip to Vietnam with his wife, where they enjoyed a local favorite in Hanoi: coffee yogurt, or ca phe sua chua. It's a more recent development in the adventurous cafe culture that now dominates the city of over 7 million, gaining fast on the equally popular egg coffee (ca phe trung), in which a raw egg is whipped into hot coffee, creating a custard-like effect.
Gauging by how popular the iced Vietnamese yogurt coffee has been so far at Revival Market, where they were close to selling out today by 2 p.m., perhaps it's only a matter of time before Pera instructs his crew to create an egg coffee for the few chilly weeks Houston has left. After all, it has more of a pedigree than bulletproof coffee, and it sounds a lot tastier.