Whether you’re an expat in Singapore or a Lion City veteran, ordering your local coffee or tea at a kopitiam is a necessary skill.
Picking up a kopi or teh is the perfect time to embrace Singlish, killing two birds with one stone (but hey, if all you can manage is to procure a hot or iced drink from the local kopitiam, that’s okay too). And, if you’re looking for more reasons to embrace tasty local beverages, think about the money-saving opportunities. While we love a latte from our fave coffee joints (and a babyccino for the little people), a daily purchase burns a gaping hole in our pockets in no time. So, grab a cuppa, and sip your way through our little guide to ordering coffee and tea like a local in Singapore.
How to order coffee and tea like a local in Singapore
For your morning pick-me-up kopi in Singapore
This is the go-to drink for most. A standard hot coffee with condensed milk.
2. Kopi C
Hot coffee with evaporated milk and sugar.
3. Kopi O
Black coffee (without milk) with sugar.
4. Kopi O Kosong
Black coffee (without milk) without sugar.
5. Kopi Siew Dai (if you like it less sweet)
Hot coffee with reduced sugar.
6. Kopi O Siew Dai (black coffee, less sweet)
Black coffee (without milk) with less sugar.
7. Kopi Gah Dai (if you like it sweet)
Hot coffee with condensed milk and more sugar.
8. Kopi Gao (if you like it strong)
Hot coffee with condensed milk and sugar, and more coffee powder.
9. Kopi O Gao (strong black coffee)
Black coffee (without milk) with sugar, and more coffee powder.
10. Kopi Po (if you like it weak)
Hot coffee with condensed milk and sugar, and less coffee powder.
11. Kopi Di Lo (if you like it really strong)
Hot coffee, extra thick with no water.
12. Kopi Gu You (if you like it salty)
Hot coffee with a bit of butter inside. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
13. Kopi Ka Koi Nrng (if you’re adventurous)
Hot coffee with an egg inside. Only for those who dare to try!
14. Kopi Pua Sio
Black coffee with some of the hot water being replaced with room temperature water.
15. Kopi Peng
Iced coffee, with condensed milk.
16. Yuan Yang (if you want the best of both worlds)
An amazing combination of coffee and tea. A double dose of caffeine, if you will!
How to order your daily cup of tea (teh) in Singapore
Hot tea, with condensed milk and sugar.
2. Teh C
Hot tea, with evaporated milk and sugar.
3. Teh O
Hot tea (without milk) with sugar.
4. Teh O Kosong
Hot tea without milk or sugar.
5. Teh Siew Dai
Hot tea with reduced sugar.
6. Teh Tarik
Pulled hot tea, with condensed milk and sugar. Usually served at Indian or Malay stalls.
7. Teh O Tarik
Pulled hot tea, with only sugar.
8. Teh Halia
Pulled hot tea, with condensed milk, sugar and ginger. Great for digestion.
9. Teh Cino
Condensed milk and water as the base, with pulled hot tea filling up the rest of the cup.
10. Teh Ice Limau
Ice lemon tea! Also known as Clementi, because the two terms rhyme.
How about some Milo orders for the kids?
A favourite option for kids is the ever-popular Milo… If only those Milo trucks still existed!
1. Milo Kosong
Without milk and sugar.
2. Milo Dinosaur
With ice, condensed milk and sugar, sprinkled with Milo powder.
3. Milo Godzilla
With ice, condensed milk and sugar, a scoop of ice cream, plus toppings.
So now you know! That’s how you order coffee and tea like a local in Singapore!