Building a better Phin

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
Brien

#1: Post by Brien »

Anyone else here a fan of Vietnamese style coffee and phin brewers? I've long been a fan of both, especially the phin as a method for brewing a small amount of VERY STRONG coffee for mixed drinks (esp. as I don't yet have an espresso machine!).

That said, all the ones I've used seem to come from the same 1-2 Chinese factories. I would love one that was a bit better built, but can't find one so I've started researching building a better one myself. Goals:

- Thicker steel (insulated a +)
- Removable/cleanable filter screen
- Interchangeable/adjustable filter hole size
- Top part that screws down... make it fully threaded all the way to the top to accommodate more/less coffee

Here we go...

Pressino

#2: Post by Pressino »

The ones sold on Amazon under the brand Thang Long look pretty good. They have different sizes and come in either the gravity or screw down type.

Made in VN and not PRC and seem to be solidly built. They don't need to be massive and the SS these ones are made of seems to be quite adequate. I too like this style of coffee when I am in a place that brews it...but don't have a set up at home to make it. Also, I've had it only with the thick condensed milk that's traditional, and that's a large part of its appeal. Not sure how it would taste either straight or with regular milk/cream, but guess like a hybrid between French Press and filter drip.

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DanN

#3: Post by DanN »

Brien wrote:Anyone else here a fan of Vietnamese style coffee and phin brewers? I've long been a fan of both, especially the phin as a method for brewing a small amount of VERY STRONG coffee for mixed drinks (esp. as I don't yet have an espresso machine!).

That said, all the ones I've used seem to come from the same 1-2 Chinese factories. I would love one that was a bit better built, but can't find one so I've started researching building a better one myself. Goals:

- Thicker steel (insulated a +)
- Removable/cleanable filter screen
- Interchangeable/adjustable filter hole size
- Top part that screws down... make it fully threaded all the way to the top to accommodate more/less coffee

Here we go...
I am a fan of the Vietnamese phin and I believe you can make a stellar cup if you know how to use it correctly. In fact all old school dripolators, German Walkure's use the same concept. Thang long brand in Amazon carries all sizes in one place and I believe it's called Fitzy shop. I bought all models 6cm( 6oz), 7cm(8oz), 8cm( 11oz) and 9cm( 15 oz) to test. I am the only coffee drinker in my home and all my experiments with phin are for single serve purposes and I use no more than 15 -20 grams. Generally if I need a super strong concentrate , I use the smallest brewer possible and when I am in the mood for larger American style mugs I use the 8 or 9 cm. Rule of thumb is smaller the brewer size, coarser the grinds for better taste and no longer than 5 minutes total brew time including preinfusion. Make sure to preinfuse atleast for 45 seconds and pour ONLY on the spreader very slowly. The more agitation you introduce to the brew bed slower the drip time. Gravity press works pretty well and I really don't care for the screw type. But it's all in the grind size, amounts of grind used and pour technique and the stainless also helps keeping the coffee hot.

That being said I recently Stumbled on an accidental discovery. Stanley released a pour over style dripper last year which was pretty much useless with its reusable filter. I almost trashed it as it took too long for the water to drip , but wanted to give it a shot with the phin parts I had. Presto, I found myself using a very large American style Phin.

I was also able to find that I could change the taste of the brew just by changing the base plate with the parts I had. Smaller for stronger and larger for weaker as needed. But the most important thing was the use of the spreader plate on top as if you poured water directly into the brew bed it takes ages for water to drip. Attached are some photos for reference. Phin makes a stellar cup with no paper filter and it's really an amazing device designed long time back . I think the recent Tricolate brewer is even designed on this very same concept . I also have phins in ceramic too and they make stellar cups as well but stainless and aluminum are amazing in making hotter brew. Even after 5 minutes coffee is crazy hot. Cannot beat that ...also another good thing is I find I can dump all the water in one shot post preinfusion unlike other brewers ....