5 things you don't know about the coffee culture in Singapore!

Coffee first came into picture in Singapore around the 19th century, when Chinese cooks started opening coffee shops, also known as kopitiams, to serve the European working population. However, Singapore was not able to afford the high quality Arabica beans that the Euroeans fancied. As a result, they created a new way of using lower quality Robusta beans to still develop a delicious brew of what we all know as kopi (malay for coffee) today! 

Whether you are a die hard kopi fan or new to the Singapore coffee culture, here are 5 interesting things about Singapore’s coffee culture that you probably don’t know about!

1. Singaporeans add butter to their kopi, known as 'kopi gu you' in Hokkein

You may be bewildered by having a slab of butter floating in your cup of coffee but kopi gu you has been present in Singapore’s Hainanese coffee shops since the 1930s! Kopi gu you was drunk by labourers, who needed the extra dose of energy from the butter fat. Another reason would be to give a harmonious blend of sweet and savoury notes while softening the harsh notes of Robusta coffee beans.

Photo by DanielFoodDiary

2. Singaporeans brew their kopi with a sock

If you head to the hawker centre in Singapore, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the kopi uncle brewing kopi with the kopi sock. The result? A super gau (thick) cup of kopi, also known as kopi o kosong! You’ll be surprised that brewing with the kopi sock is simpler than you think – stirring your kopi grounds in water and pouring it through to strain it. However, each kopi master has their own secret unique routine – from the way the water is poured to the amount of water and kopi grounds.

Photo by HarioAsia

3. There are 16 different ways to order kopi in Singapore

Coffee with or without sugar, milk, super strong or light, you’ll be amazed at how Singapore has coined terms to make ordering kopi a breeze. With over 16 different ways, here’s a chart to help break it down, giving you the most common terminology and meaning. After this, you will be an expert at ordering kopi in Singapore!

Photo by Seedly

4. You can get a cup of coffee for as cheap as $0.70 only!

Believe it or not, with just 70 cents at the hawker centre or coffee shop, you’ll be served with a piping hot cup of kopi in the iconic thick white china cups with green intricate designs. Da bao ( take away) your kopi and it’ll come in a clear plastic bag. 

But if you can’t afford to make a trip down to the hawker centre or coffee shop, 101CAFFE’ capsules do the trick as well. With a Nespresso® or Dolce Gusto® machine, your 101CAFFE’ cup of coffee costs anywhere from 63 to 88 cents depending on your choice of 101CAFFE’ kopi!

PS: We highly recommend The Singapore Blend, read to the end for a full review!

5. Singapore's coffee beans are caramelised

Did you know that adding butter and sugar are part of the coffee roasting process to give coffee beans a boost to the Maillard reactions? It is a nonenzymatic reaction between sugars and proteins that occurs upon heating and produces browning of coffee beans. Butter caramelizes the beans without scorching them. And this is also what makes Singapore’s kopi so unique!

The Singapore Coffee Blend by 101CAFFE'

Launched in February 2021, the Singapore Coffee Blend by 101CAFFE’ is one that you would not want to miss!

  • You can drink it short like an Italian espresso or lengthen it like a long black Americano.
  • You can add sugar and milk and still get the intense taste of real coffee.
  • It is intense, heavily roasted, and strong but subtle enough to drink black with varying lengths of dilution.

Available in all coffee forms – Nespresso®, Dolce Gusto®, Beans, ESE44 Pods and Grounds. The dark roasted coffee with low acidity and heavy body is made of 20% Arabica and 80% Robusta.

The Story behind The Singapore Coffee Blend

It was during the Circuit Breaker in 2020, when Steve, 101CAFFE’ Singapore Director, had the idea of combining 101CAFFE’s top notch quality with kopi. The idea was to mimic the taste of kopi you get at the hawker centres or neighbourhood coffee shops. It had to be intense, heavily roasted and strong but still subtle enough for the flavours to come through no matter how diluted it may be with sugar or milk. With that, the specially brewed blend was born!

Now available online or in 101CAFFE’ stores at Plaza Singapura, myVillage@Serangoon Gardens and Cluny Court. Happy tasting!

Coffee Intensity: Very Strong

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Coffee Intensity: Very Strong

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Coffee Intensity: Very Strong

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Coffee Intensity: Very Strong

8 in stock

Coffee Intensity: Very Strong

43 in stock

You can now make your purchase online or in-stores at Plaza Singapura, myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens or Cluny Court. Happy shopping & sipping! 

First purchase? Sign up to our mailing list to receive 10% off your first order!


Plaza Singapura
#B2-66 (in front of Cold Storage)
68 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238839
T: +65 8921 0311

MyVillage at Serangoon Garden – #01-07
1 Maju Avenue, Singapore 556679
T: + 65 6909 7709

Cluny Court (Botanic Gardens MRT Exit A) – #02-03A
501 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259760
Monday to Sunday | 10am-7pm

Contact info@101caffe.sg for more Information

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