Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Kopi Kulture

Ovidia--every other Tuesday I'm going to talk about coffee today because I've already had my allowed quota (3 lungos and an expresso) and have to get through the rest of today somehow on burdock and chamomile tea. If I can't stop thinking about coffee I might as well write about it, right? And also because a Facebook friend (Thank you Bart!) sent me this photo of Singapore coffee, saying he'd never tried such a thing...
I had to tell him that though I've tried it, it isn't really 'typcially' Singaporean. It takes a long, long time for the cotton candy to melt into your coffee and isn't really for you if you prefer your coffee without sugar. But that seems the perfect excuse to talk about the different ways people drink their coffee here!
The photos are from one of my favourite neighbourhood hangouts, May's Kafe in Beauty World Centre, which serves Singapore's standard kopitiam 'breakfast' special at any time of day--two soft cooked eggs with kaya toast and kopi (coffee) or teh (tea) of your choice. 

They aren't very clear I'm afraid, but basically,

Kopi =  black coffee with condensed milk.  (50% water + 50% coffee + condensed milk) 

Kopi Po = kopi with more hot water than coffee

Kopi Gau = kopi with more coffee than hot water 

Kopi Ga Dai = kopi with sugar added

Kopi O = black coffee with sugar

Kopi O Kosong = black coffee no sugar

Kopi O siew dai = black coffee with less sugar

Kopi O Ga Dai = black coffee with extra sugar

Kopi C = black coffee with evaporated milk (less sweet than condensed)

add 'peng' to any of them to get the iced version, as in 'Kopi O Peng' = black coffee with sugar over ice cubes

and change 'Kopi' to 'Teh' for the tea versions.

Except for 'Teh' you can also get the 'Tiao He' (meaning 'going fishing') which means you want yours with a tea bag.

And then there's teh tahrik or thrown tea, but thats a specialty thing you won't find in regularly kopitiams. A wonderful spectacle as well as a delicious, frothy drink--you don't fuss about sugar levels if you find a teh tarik stall, you just watch, wonder and enjoy it!

Kopi C is usually cheaper than Kopi because tins of condensed milk cost more than tins of evaporated milk, but the most expensive (at the moment) are tins of condensed coconut milk ($5.90 a tin compared to $1.60 and $1.50 for the other two). 

It has to be a supply/ demand thing, because surely it costs less to maintain coconut trees than make cows have calves constantly maintain a milk supply?

1 comment:

  1. What fun to learn all this, Ovidia. You Singaporeans have a lot in common with the Italians when it comes to passion for coffee. And devotion to EXACTLY how you like it. From Annamaria.