Expat life in Singapore: How to order coffee and tea like a local

How to order tea and coffee like a local in SIngapore
Whether you’re a new 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.

For your morning pick-me-up cuppa

Kopi

This is the go-to drink for most: standard hot coffee with condensed milk.

Kopi C

Hot coffee with evaporated milk and sugar.

Kopi O

Black coffee (without milk) with sugar.

Kopi O Kosong

Black coffee (without milk) without sugar.

Kopi Siew Dai (if you like it less sweet)

Hot coffee with reduced sugar.

Kopi Gah Dai (if you like it sweet)

Hot coffee with condensed milk and more sugar.

Kopi Gao (if you like it strong)

Hot coffee with condensed milk and sugar, and more coffee powder.

Kopi Po (if you like it weak)

Hot coffee with condensed milk and sugar, and less coffee powder.

Kopi Di Lo (if you like it really strong)

Hot coffee, extra thick with no water.

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!

Kopi Peng

Iced coffee, with condensed milk.

For your daily cup of tea

Teh

Hot tea, with condensed milk and sugar.

Teh C

Hot tea, with evaporated milk and sugar.

Teh O

Hot tea (without milk) with sugar.

Teh O Kosong

Hot tea without milk or sugar.

Teh Siew Dai

Hot tea with reduced sugar.

Teh Tarik

Pulled hot tea, with condensed milk and sugar. Usually served at Indian or Malay stalls.

Teh O Tarik

Pulled hot tea, with only sugar.

Teh Halia

Pulled hot tea, with condensed milk, sugar and ginger. Great for digestion.

How about some orders for the kids?

Milo Kosong: Without milk and sugar.

Milo Dinosaur: With ice, condensed milk and sugar, sprinkled with Milo powder.

Milo Godzilla: With ice, condensed milk and sugar, a scoop of ice cream plus toppings.

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy!
Singapore’s best kid-friendly cafés and restaurants
10 Singapore foods we miss when we go overseas
30 must-try kid-friendly local dishes
Cafes for early risers

Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us for sneak peeks on HoneyKids Instagram!