In countries where coffee is a huge deal, ordering yourself a cup of joe may be complicated.
This is especially true in Singapore.
Coffee, or kopi as the locals call it, in Singapore is highly customizable. There are over a dozen sub – types of kopi you can choose from at any Kopitiam near you. Ordering kopi is an art form that needs skill and knowledge of the right terms to master properly.
Whether you are an expatriate moving to Singapore, a tourist, or just a local looking to brush up on your phrases, here is a list of terms you can use to order coffee in Singapore:
This refers to plain black coffee (brewed using the traditional kopi brewing method), mixed with condensed milk. It is sweeter than an Americano but with just as much caffeine.
2. Kopi Kosong
This one is more akin to plain old Americano or Espresso. It is bitter black kopi without the sugar and condensed milk.
3. Kopi Peng
Black kopi, sugar, condensed milk, and ice. “Peng” here means “iced” so you can add ice to any drink on this list just by adding the word peng.
4. Kopi O
Black kopi with sugar but without the condensed milk. It tastes similar to an Americano mixed with sugar.
5. Kopi C
Black kopi mixed with sugar and evaporated milk; it’s very creamy and similar to coffees found in western cafes.
6. Kopi Siu Dai
“Siu Dai” here means to “make less sweet”. Kopi Siu Dai means black kopi with condensed milk but less sugar.
7. Kopi Gah Dai
“Gah Dai” means to “make sweeter”. Kopi Gah Dai is black kopi with more condensed milk.
5. Kopi O Siu Dai
Black kopi with less sugar than regular Kopi O.
6. Kopi Poh
“Poh” means to make the drink weaker. It is made of black kopi, condensed milk, and water. If you are not a big fan of caffeine, then you should definitely go for this drink.
7. Kopi O Poh
It is black kopi with sugar but also water to make the coffee weaker.
8. Kopi Sua
This is used to order another cup of kopi, similar to saying “can I have 2 cups of coffee please”.
9. Kopi Gau
“Gau” is the opposite of “Poh” as it means to make the coffee stronger. It usually means mixing condensed milk to stronger, more caffeine-rich black kopi concentrate.
10. Kopi O Gau
To make this drink, simply remove the condensed milk from the regular kopi gau and change with sugar.
11. Kopi Gu You
One of the more unique coffees on this list that can only be found in Singapore, Kopi Gu You involves mixing black kopi with condensed milk and a little bit of butter.
12. Kopi Di Lo
Use this term if you like your kopi extra creamy.
13. Kopi Ta Bao
“Ta Bao” literally means to take away in Hokkien and Mandarin, so Kopi Ta Bao is essentially takeaway coffee. You can add this term to any drink on this list to have them on the go.