Kopi O Siew Dai: Guide to Order Coffee and Tea in Singapore Like a Pro!

If the world knows about Americano, Latte, Capuccino and Espresso, Singapore Coffee stalls and hawkers have their own coffee blend and naming conventions and that’s where most people visiting Singapore for the first time never get it right.

Fun Fact: What usually People wrong when ordering Coffee in Singapore

The moment people reach Singapore shore and visit local coffee stall/hawker and order coffee or tea, most of them must be surprised when the waiter serves the coffee and tea to the table. How come the coffee is not pure black or how come the tea is mixed with milk.
In Singapore, when you order just coffee and tea (by literally saying coffee and tea – no prefix, no suffixes), they will serve you coffee or tea with condensed milk. That’s the Singapore standard.
If you would like to order pure black coffee or clear tea, you have to mention with the word ‘o’, like ‘coffee o’ and ‘tea o’.
Singapore Coffee and Tea

The Basic

So either you are visiting Singapore as tourist or end up staying and working in this tiny state Singapore, here are the basic guides to order coffee like local in local coffee stall/hawker:
Kopi refers to coffee, while Teh refers to tea.
Basic (Hot) Coffee (Kopi) Tea (Teh)
Hot with sugar Kopi O Teh O
Hot with condensed milk Kopi Teh
Hot with evaporated milk Kopi C Teh C

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Customise the way you like it!

Now with you know how to order basic hot coffee and tea, here are how local customise their coffee and tea order to their taste and how you can do it as well like a local pro:

Customisation Local Terms How to Say It
Cold with Ice Peng Peng
Less Sweet Siew Dai Siyu-tay
Extra Sweet Ga Dai Ka-tay
Without Sugar Kosong Kosong
Less Concentrated Po Po
More Concentrated Di Lo Tee-Low
Strong Gao Kao
So if you would like to order black coffee with more sugar, then you can say ‘Kopi O Ga Dai’ (say it ‘Kopi O Ka-tay’).

The Verdict

Now with the guides above, you can order coffee or tea like you were born and raised here.

If you are Espresso lover, do give a try Singapore version of Espresso: Kopi O Gao Di Lo.


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