NANYANG TRADITIONAL COFFEE

A very warm welcome to BrewRatio’s page regarding Nanyang Coffee! If you have ever travelled to Singapore, Malaysia or certain Southeast Asian countries, you will have been to our local beverage shop, of which we called “kopitiam” – a combination of kopi, (which is a Malay word for coffee) and tiam, which is the local dialect Hokkien / Hakka term for shops. And Nanyang Coffee / Kopi is the kind of coffee that is sold and available commonly in kopitiams.

Although we are so familiar with Nanyang Coffee / Kopi since we drink it almost each and every day, or every now and then in Singapore, still it seems that in the Western context, Nanyang Coffee / Kopi is still not widely known compared to International Gourmet Coffee – at least from our experience with the choice of coffee beverages made by our foreign friends who have visited.   We think this boils down to the taste preference of which people is so accustomed to. To some, the unfamiliar savour and aroma of Kopi may caught them off-guard and not prepared for when set side by side next to the Espresso.

Henceforth, we think it is best to introduce herewith the essence of Nanyang Coffee / Kopi that makes it so unique:

1.  BEANS

Robusta beans are grinded to make Nanyang Coffee powder. Since Robusta beans are easier to grow and cultivate, thus they are significantly lower in costs. But that does not mean compromise in the quality of Nanyang Coffee. It all boils down to personal preference of the flavour and savour of a particular type of bean.

2.  ROASTING

In Singapore and Malaysia, butter and sugar are added to roasting of coffee beans to give a boost to the Maillard reactions (a nonenzymatic reaction between sugars and proteins that occurs upon heating and which produces browning) and caramelization. Butter or margarine is added to give rise to the final drink which is rich and dark with subtle creaminess. This roasting process also caramelizes the beans without scorching them, giving them a delicious aroma.

3.  Taste

Harsher and stronger than normal serving of espresso. Hence it goes well with condensed milk and evaporated milk.

4.  Roasting Time 

Beans are pre-roasted at lower heat, over a longer period of time in comparison to those used for Espresso shot. 

5.  FiINENESS of GROUND BEANS 

The coffee powder used for Nanyang Coffee is much coarser than powder used for a cup of Espresso. For Espresso, the finer coffee powder allows for sufficient contact of water and powder, which results in an extraction of coffee with a much balanced flavour. 

Whereas for making of Nanyang Coffee, our local kopi baristas put less emphasis on the brewing ratio of water, temperature and powder grind level. It is more of a faster serving of coffee for grab-and-go and local preference.  

The coffee powder is simply mixed and stirred together with hot boiling water in a coffee powder pot.  After which this mixture is then poured quickly into a coffee kettle via a “sock” filter for extraction. With this immediate extraction comes a strong, aromatic punch of the final product – Kopi. 

6.  Coffee Extraction

And from point (5), you would see the one great difference – Espresso is extracted using an espresso machine with high water pressure through the coffee powder whereas our Kopi is extracted by local kopi baristas using a local traditional coffee kettle and sock filter. Amazing isn’t it? 😉 

Alternatively, you can extract the flavorful coffee using our V60 dripper.

7.  Post Extraction of Kopi with Add-Ons

After the extraction of Kopi through the sock filter/ V60 dripper, normally the locals will ask for add-ons of different condiments such as sugar, condensed milk or evaporated milk, depending on or according to personal preferences. 

The above inclusions are due to the fact that the Robusta beans used in our Singapore Kopi consist of very strong flavours – the sweetness of different condiments will lessen the strength and thus make Kopi less heavy to some, and more balanced in a way.

8. Types of Nanyang Coffee

Just like there are different types of Espresso, we also have various kinds of Nanyang Coffee.  Below is a list of the basic types that you could order if you happen to be at a kopitiam:

  1. Kopi-O Kosong = Black coffee on its very own.                 
  2. Kopi-O = Black coffee with sugar.
  3. Kopi = Coffee with condensed milk.
  4. Kopi-C = Coffee with evaporated milk and sugar.
  5. Kopi-O Kosong Beng = (1) + ice.
  6. Kopi-O Beng = (2) + ice.
  7. Kopi-Beng = (3) + ice.
  8. Kopi-C Beng = (4) + ice. 

So with the above introduction, head over to get a cuppa of Nanyang Coffee now.  Cheers 🙂