The Vietnamese Coffee Dupe You Can Order At Starbucks

The coffee creations you can put together at Starbucks are virtually limitless. According to the coffee giant itself, there are over 170,000 different ways to customize your beverage, and fans aren't shy about it — about 60% of patrons personalize their drink in some way, according to Zipdo. While some drinks can get pretty wild (like the very creative Starburst Frappuccino), others are simpler beverages that are based on made Starbucks famous: coffee. TikTok is currently buzzing over a custom drink that bears a striking resemblance to decadent Vietnamese coffee.


To list it out: A quad espresso in a venti cup Extra ice 3 pumps of white mocha Vanilla sweet cream foam #vietnameseicedcoffeehack #starbucksdrinks #starbuckshacks

♬ original sound – Christina Le

Vietnamese-styled iced coffee is made with very slowly-brewed espresso mixed with sweetened condensed milk. The bracing and highly caffeinated java is balanced out by the sugary and rich dairy. To try this drink a la Starbucks, order a quad espresso (which means four shots) in a venti-sized cup with extra ice, three pumps of white mocha syrup, and a topping of vanilla sweet cream foam. The foam on top helps to mimic the rich texture of condensed milk.

When you think about it, four espresso shots and a few pumps of syrup don't equate to a large volume, which is why you want the extra ice (it will make the drink appear fuller), and the foam on top helps to bridge the gap in volume, as well. As with authentic Vietnamese coffee, a little goes a long way, so don't be tempted to add extra coffee. You'll definitely feel the punch of flavors at the first sip.

Vietnamese coffee is extra strength on every level

If you've had Vietnamese coffee, you were probably shocked when you first tasted it, with dueling flavors of super strong coffee and super sugary milk in one cup. After the initial flavor shock, most coffee lovers find this drink to be an explosion of strong and sweet goodness. Coffee might not come to mind when those outside of Vietnam think of the nation's cuisine, but java has a historical and proud place in the country.

Coffee was introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by the French, and the nation is now one of the largest coffee producers in the world, second only to Brazil. Darkly-roasted beans are most popular in Vietnam, which accounts for the strength of Vietnamese coffee drinks. The traditional method of brewing is in the style of a pour-over: Water drips very slowly through the grounds to form a strong brew that can be served hot or over ice. 

The use of condensed milk was a necessity around the time when coffee was making its mark in Vietnam. Fresh milk wasn't common, and because condensed milk didn't need to be refrigerated, it was a convenient substitute. It's also a perfect balance to the strong coffee, as regular sugar would be totally overwhelmed. The treat has become a popular around the world, but Starbucks has yet to put its own take on its menu. Leave it to the coffee lovers of the internet to make it happen.

More globally-inspired drinks at Starbucks

When it comes to coffee beans, Starbucks carries an impressive line from locations all around the world, like Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. It only makes sense, then, that you can order many other globally-inspired drinks from your local store. 

In a TikTok video, @starbuckspartners featured a barista named Lourdes, who shared her recipe for recreating café de olla (spiced coffee) from Mexico. In a cold cup, she combines liquid cane sugar, vanilla syrup, brown sugar syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and iced coffee. She then makes a Mexican horchata cold foam topper with almond milk, vanilla sweet cream, cinnamon dolce syrup, and cinnamon.

For a drink reminiscent of Italian affogato (espresso over vanilla gelato), simply order your favorite Frappuccino affogato-style. The barista will pour a shot of hot espresso right over your beverage. The Frappuccino itself is inspired by a frappe, a blended coffee drink that originated in Greece. The Greek version is made by blending instant coffee granules, sugar, and water, then topping with ice and milk. You can get a closer flavor by ordering your Frap with espresso instead of regular coffee. And with so many drink customizations at your fingertips, you can surely come up with Starbucks versions of your other favorite coffees from around the world.