How To Order Coffee In Singapore

Posted on: 18 June, 2020

A Simple Guide On How To Order Coffee In Singapore

In Singapore, most Singaporeans buy their coffee from a local coffee shop or from a hawker stall. Singaporeans are very picky with their coffee as they are with their food: not only do they have their favourite coffee shop, but their favourite coffeemakers as well.

Singaporeans order their coffee using a mixture of languages and dialects. For tourists, ordering coffee in a local coffee shop may be very challenging. If you try to order an Americano or Cappuccino in a coffee shop, you are not going to get what you order, because these names of the coffees you usually order do not exist on the menu of a local coffee shop.

Singaporeans call our coffee “Kopi”. Local Kopi is made from Robusta coffee beans that are roasted with sugar and margarine under high heat to caramelise the beans and pronounce its flavours. The ground coffee is then mixed with hot water and strained in a flannel sock filter.

A wallet-friendly caffeine fix, "Kopi" is so strongly ingrained in Singaporean food culture that we have our own unique concoctions and terminology for ordering its variants.

Below is a guide to on how to order coffee ("Kopi") the Singaporean way.

Local Term Meaning
Kopi Black coffee with condensed milk, which is thick and sweetened milk.
Kopi-Oh Black coffee with sugar
Kopi Ci Black coffee with sugar and evaporated milk, which is similar to condensed milk, but unsweetened.
Kopi Ci Kosong Black coffee with evaporated milk. Adding ‘Kosong’ (Malay for ‘zero’) to the end of the order means ‘without sugar’.
Kopi Oh Kosong Black coffee without sugar.
Kopi Gah Dai Black coffee with extra condensed milk. ‘Gah Dai’ means ‘extra sugar’. Add ‘Gah Dai’ to any drink order to make your drink sweeter.
Kopi Siew Dai Coffee with less condensed milk. ‘Siew’ means less. Say ‘Siew Dai’ and your drink will be made with less condensed milk.
Kopi Gau Strong coffee with condensed milk. ‘Gau’ means thick. Say ‘Gau’ to add an extra shot of caffeine to your drink.
Kopi Peng Iced coffee with condensed milk. ‘Peng’ means iced.


Take in the local Kopi culture and practise your ordering skills at some of our local coffee shops during your visit to Singapore.

You can find the video on Singapore's coffee culture in our YouTube channel link:

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