Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all found ways to practice self-care. For some, this looks like daily meditation. For others, it’s binging all 10 seasons of "The Great British Bake Off". In true Seattle fashion, Jeannie Quach turned to coffee.
At home, she recreated the rich, sweet and ultra-caffeinated Vietnamese coffee she grew up drinking with her family. She sent her husband to work with a bottle of her coffee. When he couldn’t finish it himself, he shared it with co-workers. Several weeks later, Quach found herself at home making jugs of Vietnamese coffee for her husband and his co-workers. Not long after, she created Bottled Caffeine, a made-to-order Vietnamese coffee company.
“It literally started from my husband's work,” Quach said. “Then I started to share some coffee at my work, too. I'm a medical assistant so of course, we're there early and we have to get our caffeine in before we can actually wake up!”
Quach knows good coffee. Using the traditional Vietnamese method with a phin filter, she uses a combination of coarse and espresso ground coffee from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. An initial pour of hot water allows the coffee to bloom before it utilizes gravity to filter into a thick caffeinated delight.
“It is not a normal cup of Joe; it is not a normal Starbucks drink,” Quach said. “The consistency of the coffee is a little thicker, but then when you pour it over ice, the consistency starts to thin out a bit.”
Bottled Caffeine's traditional Vietnamese coffee blends this rich java with sweetened condensed milk, a staple of the recipe and Quach’s favorite.
“The Vietnamese Coffee is hands down the best for me because it's just so nostalgic since I had it growing up,” she said. “It gives me a connection to my Vietnamese heritage.”
Her second favorite is the Black Sesame Coffee. Quach said this one took some time to perfect the recipe, but it was worth it and has been a huge hit. Her perfectly nutty black sesame syrup works wonderfully with the rich coffee for a balanced and unique flavor.
Pandan Coffee, Pandan Thai Tea and Thai Tea round out Bottled Caffeine's menu. Quach says the bottled coffee lasts for a month and the teas last for three weeks.
“You can have a whole bunch and save it,” she said. “You can also put it into a mug and heat it up. It's always ready to go.”
Quach learned how to make Vietnamese coffee from her family growing up, but now that she owns Bottled Caffeine, it’s her turn to keep her family caffeinated. During family get-togethers, her sister raves about the Thai Tea while her dad prefers his own jug of Vietnamese Coffee.
“It's something we grew up with and drank all the time, so it’s definitely a very traditional project for me,” Quach said. “It's very close to my heart; it’s how I grew up and what I love to do.”
Order Bottled Caffeine through a direct message on Instagram or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Pickups take place in Renton, but Quach can arrange drop-off for nearby customers. Bottled Caffeine can customize orders if you prefer your coffee or Thai tea more/less sweet or more/less strong.