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Singaporeans love their tea and coffee, they drink it hot, they drink it iced, most popular being iced coffee with milk. Local kopi is typically made up of roasted black coffee beans, but cafes use also Arabica beans, which are superior in terms of flavour and aroma. A typical cup of kopi contains three teaspoons of condensed milk and a bit of evaporated milk, as fresh milk is typically used in cappuccinos and lattes.

All these drinks have a logical preparing process, the confusion is due to the preferable sweetener. In Singaporean kopi tiams milk is most preferred sweetener when preparing the drink. The normal Kopi is served with sweetened condensed milk, but there exist some other options which are denoted by the suffix that follows. Kosong means “empty” and results in cup of coffee with no sweetener. O is regularly used as a suffix which is analogous to the number 0 and it is used in serving coffee without milk but with sugar. Finally, C results in drinking it with unsweetened carton milk (sweetened condensed milk come in cans). Sugar is added to Kopi-C, thus being similar to the western style coffee with milk and sugar.

Just as coffees have a diversity of names, so does kopi at the kopi tiams (traditional breakfast and coffee shops found in Southeast Asia). This type of vocabulary has been acquired and developed through the ages, which includes a small number of languages conjoined together. Here’s a quick guide:

  • kopi oh = hot black coffee (sweet)
  • kopi oh peng = ice black coffee (sweet)
  • kopi oh kosong = hot black coffee (unsweetened)
  • kopi oh kosong peng = iced black coffee (unsweetened)
  • kopi = White coffee (sweet)
  • kopi peng - iced White coffee (sweet)
  • kopi 'c' - hot coffee with evaporated milk (sweet)
  • kopi 'c' kosong - hot coffee with evaporated milk (unsweetened)
  • kopi 'c' peng - iced coffee with evaporated milk (sweet)

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