What Makes Malaysian Coffee So Good
Coffee - a globally loved drink with so many different types to choose from! Where do you even start? If you're looking for a different type of coffee to the norm, then Malaysian coffee is your next must try.
HISTORY OF MALAYSIAN COFFEE
If it's one image that is synonymous with Malaysia's historical coffee culture, it's definitely the scene of locals sitting at marbled tables under ceiling fans - so iconic and deeply ingrained in Malaysia's history.
Malaysians pronounce the word coffee as 'kopi' (as you would pronounce the word 'copy') and 'kopi tiam' means coffee shop ('tiam' is the Hokkien word for 'shop'). Liberica beans are the most commonly used in kopi which is suited to grow in the Malaysian geography (low altitude) vs Arabica which needs a high altitude to thrive. Liberica beans have quite a bitter taste and is considered a less superior bean to the Arabica due to its acidity however we would say Malaysians have perfected getting the best out this lesser known bean and created a roast unlike any other.
Soon the kopi tiams popped up on nearly every street corner around the cities and became THE place to be seen socially and kopi culture came into the mainstream in Malaysia.
WHAT MAKES IT SO DIFFERENT
Most coffees are roasted with sugar, whereas Malaysian coffee is roasted with butter and sugar, giving it a caramelised finish thus reducing the bitter aftertaste. Malaysian coffee is roasted twice - the only country to do so in the world. The result you get is a tad burnt and slightly bitter taste and an intense aroma. Traditionally, coffee is brewed whilst kopi is made by pouring boiling water on ground coffee through a cloth filter and is generally mixed with sweetened condensed milk.
BLACK COFFEE - SUGAR OR NO SUGAR
If you want black coffee, it's called kopi-o ('o' meaning 'black' in Hokkien) but be aware that when ordering this it still comes with sugar. If you want a black coffee with NO sugar, then ask for kopi-o kosong ('kosong' meaning 'nothing' in Hokkien).
👉The aroma from the Ah Huat Kopi-O (with sugar) is something to be experienced!
WHAT'S SO GOOD ABOUT IPOH WHITE COFFEE
White coffee in Malaysia is said to have originated in Ipoh where Chinese inhabitants introduced 'white coffee' - adding sweetened condensed milk as the bitter black coffee was not to their taste. When talking about Ipoh white coffee, the 'white' part isn't due to the colour of the coffee (in the traditional sense), rather the way it has been roasted - baked at a low temperature, grounded into a powder and then blended with creamer and sugar. To note, Ipoh coffee is roasted with only margarine (and no sugar) as opposed to the traditional Malaysian kopi that is roasted with both butter and sugar. Because there's no sugar used during roasting it gives the coffee beans a lighter colour and hence why it's called 'white coffee'. Ipohites are known for their discerning taste in both food and coffee and are very proud to have developed this famous 'white coffee' blend. Ipoh white coffee has a smooth, rich coffee taste and aroma. Lonely Planet has also rated Ipoh as one of the top three Asian destinations for coffee - enough said!
HAVE YOUR OWN TRADITIONAL KOPI-TIAM EXPERIENCE AT HOME
- Start with Malaysian coffee add in the traditional evaporated milk if desired
- Make the perfect soft boiled eggs with the best soft boiled egg maker - watch the Youtube video to see just how easy and awesome it is!
- Slather on your favourite kaya on some toast
- For afternoon coffee why not pair it with another Malaysian favourite - Pandan Chiffon Cake
- So nostalgic, such a celebration of Malaysian historical culture and what a way to start the day!
COFFEE TERMS TO USE WHEN ORDERING MALAYSIAN KOPI
- Kopi o = hot black coffee (with sugar)
- Kopi o peng = iced black coffee (with sugar)
- Kopi o kosong = hot black coffee (unsweetened)
- Kopi o kosong peng = iced black coffee (unsweetened)
- Kopi = coffee with condensed milk
- Kopi peng = iced coffee with condensed milk
- Kopi si = hot coffee with evaporated milk and with sugar
- Kopi si kosong = hot coffee with evaporated milk
- Kopi si peng = iced coffee with evaporated milk, with sugar
- Kopi sterng = iced coffee extra smooth
- Kopi tarik - hand pulled to cool it down and to get the beautiful foam from the condensed milk