French colonialists introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 19th century, but throwing a whole raw egg into an espresso shot, creating egg coffee, was a Vietnamese invention born of necessity at Hanoi’s Café Giang during the First Indochina War in the late 1940s, when milk was scarce and eggs were plentiful.
Egg yolk is beaten with sweetened condensed milk until it’s whipped into a rich, thick mixture that is then carefully poured atop black robusta coffee, the coffee species introduced by the French to Vietnam more than a century ago. Vietnam is now the leading exporter of this type of bean, which produces more bitter notes but has more caffeine, providing a good balance to the sweetness of the whipped yolk. While the basic combo of condensed milk and egg is the most traditional method of preparing cà phê trú’ng, it can also be made with a dash of vanilla or butter.
TeaFix’s variation is available both hot and over ice. For the hot version, they first heat the cup and saucer, then they pour a dark, thick shot of espresso from robusta beans into an electric frother that whirs away until, because air is mixed in, its contents triple in size. At the same time, an organic yolk is whisked together with the sweetened condensed milk in another container until it becomes thick and custard-like. The coffee is poured into the cup, then the custard-like mixture of milk and egg, topped off with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. When it’s sipped at the perfect 45-degree angle, you first get a burst of cool, custardy sweetness followed by the hot, bitter espresso, a perfect calibration of flavors.
People can’t get enough of this sumptuous treat, which has been one of their top sellers since the place opened in late 2019, according to TeaFix owner Chi Nguyen. “They are always amazed at how different the taste is and that it’s so smooth and creamy, that it tastes like having coffee and dessert in one,” Nguyen says.
Asiatown | 6938 Wilcrest Dr., #E1, 281-721-2692