Singapore Kopi (Coffee), Sheer Joy
Updated: Apr 22
Singapore is famous for many things but one of the things it should receive greater recognition for is its coffee - "kopi".
Strong, thick and sweet. Made from robusta beans (not arabica as preferred in Europe and North America), locally roasted, the coffee is often taken with condensed or evaporated milk. The grounds are simmered in a pot, filtered with a 'sock' and served hot. And it always tastes better when served in the small floral, ceramic cup.
There are many ways to order it and these are the most common:
Kopi The default order, coffee with condensed milk; 113 calories
Kopi Peng Iced; 113 calories
Kopi Gao Strong
Kopi Kosong without sugar
Kopi Siew Dai Less sweet; 104 calories
Kopi Gao Siew Dai Strong and less sweet
Kopi C with evaporated milk; 87 calories
Kopi C Kosong with evaporated milk, no sugar; 47 calories
Kopi O Black with sugar, 66 calories
Kopi O Kosong Black no sugar; 5 calories
(Caloric data from the Singapore health services and a variety of not always verifiable, online sources)
Another enjoyable part of kopi culture is that of the kopitiam - the coffee shop. Enjoying kopi with friends or family and also having a relationship with the stallholder or the other regulars. Kopitiams and smaller kopi stalls are a hub of social life and activity. Some have become successful chains, Killiney Kopitiam and Ya Kun being the best known at home and abroad. Many will serve snacks, likely toast with kaya (coconut) butter or eggs. Some may serve beer and other cooked food items: curry, noodles dishes and pau - filled buns.
No matter what your preference there is always one type of kopi, or another, that will meet your needs. I take my kopi gau siew dai and - bold claim alert! - without a doubt this is the best way to enjoy coffee in the world.
Last word - we cannot ignore Malaysia's role in this shared kopi culture. Indeed, the taste of Malaysian kopi is said, by some, to be superior. Wherever you are in the world - search for a kopitiam and enjoy!
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