Your Guide to Ordering Traditional Kopi & Teh

Your Guide to Ordering Traditional Kopi & Teh

In this other post, we learned how to order espresso-based coffee. We also looked at how to differentiate between milk-based drinks and non-milk-based drinks.

Today, let’s direct our attention to the other side of the coffee spectrum: 

Traditional kopi.

And don’t worry, we’ll surely touch on how you can order the right traditional kopi that will make both your heart and taste buds sing.

If you don’t already know, Generation Coffee serves traditional kopi in a rather unique way. Instead of using the ubiquitous “sock method”, we contrarily brew our kopi using the espresso machine.

In addition to that, we also have a unique Pioneer blend that we use to serve our Nanyang Kopi. You can learn more about the Generation way of preparing traditional kopi in this blog post here.

As compared to specialty coffee which are largely espresso-based, traditional kopi is richer in taste, and more aromatic in smell. This is due to different methods of preparation.

The closest equivalent to Kopi O in specialty coffee is the long black, where espresso is topped with a larger proportion of hot water. Contrast this to Kopi O of Generation Coffee, which has no hot water added, and you’ll see why traditional kopi is richer or rather, in local speak, more gao.

Now about the ordering. 

To help you with your decision, here’s a brief description of each traditional kopi variation available on the Generation Coffee menu.


Coffee + Condensed milk + Evaporated milk

The beloved Kopi has a dense milky flavour. This drink is famously sweet due to the condensed milk content, and has an almost syrupy texture to it. A small amount of evaporated milk is added to Kopi for an additional silky layer to the mouthfeel. 

Do you have a sweet tooth? If the answer is yes, the Kopi is undoubtedly perfect for you

Also, experienced Kopi drinkers will know that you can “customise” the sweetness level of your coffee. Just order a “Kopi siew dai” and the barista will know to add only 50% of condensed milk to your Kopi. (Recall that condensed milk is what contributes the sweetness in Kopi.) If that’s not enough, you can even reduce it further to 25% by asking for a “Kopi siew siew dai” instead. Very simply, it works the same as XS vs XXS sizing.

Kopi C 

Coffee + Evaporated milk + Sugar

Don’t let the letter C in Kopi C trick you! On the contrary, this drink does NOT contain any condensed milk. It does, however, contain a much larger proportion of evaporated milk as compared to the evaporated milk in kopi.

When pitted against Kopi, Kopi C presents with a lighter taste with a lot more silkiness to its texture. Kopi C feels creamy, yet not too sweet as the sugar is only added to enhance the taste of the drink. Nothing too crazy here.

If you prefer a well-rounded cup of coffee which is more balanced in texture and taste, the Kopi C is your optimal choice.

Kopi O

Coffee + Sugar

Ah, the classic one, still the number one favorite among many Singaporeans, especially in the elder generations. Some even prefer a Kopi O Kosong, which removes the sugar from the equation.

Fluid and flowy, Kopi O has almost the same consistency as a nice mug of warm water on a cold day. It’s not creamy like Kopi or Kopi C, but if you are lactose intolerant or don’t take dairy, yet want a traditional drink, Kopi O definitely packs a punch.


Now that we’re acquainted with the traditional kopi variations, how then should you enjoy your cuppa?

Here’s what our resident coffee expert thinks:

“For me personally, I like to let my coffee cool down for about 5 minutes. I feel it tastes so much better after that. Instead of the slightly bitter aftertaste you get when the coffee is super hot, now it’s more smooth and aromatic.”

You should try that out the next time you get traditional kopi!

Because of the way we prepare our traditional drinks, which optimises the consistency of every drink, customers have shared that the kopi still tastes great even after 3 hours. That’s great if you have a long commute ahead and want to save your drink until you arrive at your destination!

Traditional Teh

Tea is served at Generation in a similar way to traditional kopi, with Teh, Teh C and Teh O being the exact same as their coffee counterparts, Except that it’s tea.

To prepare traditional tea drinks, we use freshly ground Ceylon tea dust.

A special porta filter is used to brew the Generation tea drinks. The “porta filter” is the component of an espresso machine where the ground coffee or tea dust is contained. It consists of a basket holding coffee or tea, and a handle for the barista to hold the porta filter. 

Combining hot water and a pressurised extraction, this results in a cup of delicious tea that is rich in flavour and aromatic at the same time.

Even better, this method even minimises the astringency you experience from drinking tea from a tea bag that has been steeped for too long. No more “dry tongue” phenomena!


If you’re thinking of brewing your own traditional kopi at home, we have just the thing for you: Generation’s own Pioneer blend for Nanyang Kopi. Try it out and see if you can make your own version of kopi at home!

In conclusion, Generation Coffee really does utilise a non-conventional method of preparing traditional kopi and tea. However, the end product is still a steaming mug filled with the familiar flavours we all know and love.

Hopefully, this post has helped you gain a better understanding of traditional beverages. And for those of you who usually order specialty coffee, this is your opportunity to try out traditional kopi on your next visit!

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