Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Iced Caramel Macchiato using Vietnamese Phin

One of my favorite drinks at Starbucks is an iced caramel macchiato. However, at over $4 a drink, the drink doesn’t come cheap. I finally came up with a copycat recipe that I truly love. It’s even better than the Starbucks version, which I think has way too much milk and not enough coffee. Now I can enjoy my drink just how I like it without having to pay a premium.

A iced caramel macchiato is made with two shots of espresso poured over milk and ice, then topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Now, I don’t have a fancy smancy $1000 espresso machine and espresso powder is absolute piss. I do, however, have a Vietnamese single-cup coffee filter called a phin. Until my husband gets my many subtle hints for a nice espresso machine for Christmas (Hey hon! Subtle hints here!), my Vietnamese coffee phin is a decent and inexpensive way to make tasty espresso for an iced caramel macchiato.

To get the two espresso shots for an iced caramel macchiato, I add two heaping tablespoons of my favorite coffee ground in the phin and pack it down tight. Then I fill the well of the phin 3/4 full with hot water and allow the coffee to drip slowly. Sometimes, I even run the coffee through the phin again for an even stronger espresso on days when I need the extra caffeine to dislodge a Lego piece from my daughter’s nose.

As you assemble an iced caramel macchiato, you will notice the coffee hangs at the top of the drink, with milk on the bottom. It’s the striation of milk and coffee layers that makes the drink so pretty. I don’t stir my drink. I like to enjoy the different layers of flavor as they naturally settle. But of course, you can always stir the layers together for a more even taste.

 Iced Caramel Macchiato

Iced Caramel Macchiato

Iced Caramel Macchiato using Vietnamese Phin

Serves 1


  • 2 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 2 pumps vanilla-flavored syrup (about 1/2 oz)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • Caramel sauce


  1. Using a Vietnamese single-cup coffee filter, phin, add ground coffee and fill the well 3/4 full with hot water. Allow the coffee to drip while prepping the serving cup.
  2. Add to serving cup in this order, vanilla syrup, milk and ice. Then slowly pour the coffee on top so that the layers remain separate.
  3. Drizzle the top with caramel sauce and serve.