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
For your morning pick-me-up cuppa
This is the go-to drink for most. A standard hot coffee with condensed milk.
Hot coffee with evaporated milk and sugar.
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!
Iced coffee, with condensed milk.
For your daily cup of tea
Hot tea, with condensed milk and sugar.
Hot tea, with evaporated milk and sugar.
Hot tea (without milk) with sugar.
Teh O Kosong
Hot tea without milk or sugar.
Teh Siew Dai
Hot tea with reduced sugar.
Pulled hot tea, with condensed milk and sugar. Usually served at Indian or Malay stalls.
Teh O Tarik
Pulled hot tea, with only sugar.
Pulled hot tea, with condensed milk, sugar and ginger. Great for digestion.
How about some orders for the kids?
A favourite option for kids is the ever-popular Milo… If only those Milo trucks still existed!
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.
Try ordering coffee and tea like a local the next time you’re out and about in Singapore!