Kopi O - What Is It And How To Order Kopi O Like A Boss

Kopi O – What Is It And How To Order Kopi O Like A Boss

Last updated on January 29th, 2024 at 12:37

You simply cannot call yourself a coffee enthusiast or coffee lover without trying an authentic Kopi O. 

Obviously, the real deal is best enjoyed in Malaysia where it originates, but thankfully you can replicate the flavor by buying Kopi O online.

You need those special beans as they are roasted in a very special way.

Keep reading for all the details about Kopi O.

What Is Kopi O

Kopi O is a coffee beverage that is found across South East Asia in several nations including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore where it is very popular. Kopi is also known by another name, Nanyang coffee.

When brewed, it is brewed with the intention of the cup of coffee being high in caffeine while often served on its own it can also be served with milk and sugar to form other Kopi beverages.

Kopi O has its origins in the British colonial era when the Hainanese tin miners brought the coffee with them. The particular way of roasting, brewing and enjoying Kopi has is roots in the South China sea, as Nanyang is the Mandarin language meaning South sea with the literal translation of Nanyang coffee meaning South sea coffee.

The word kopi is Malay for coffee, the O, borrowed from Hokkien language meaning black.

Kopi O
Kopi O

Read: Malaysian white coffee

The Coffee Beans And Variety

The predominant beans used are the Robusta and Liberica varieties as these coffees grow much better at low and medium altitudes than the Arabica beans. If you see a blend it will be a blend of Robusta and Liberica beans. If you don’t see the word blend, it will be 100% Robusta coffee beans.

Coffee is believed to have been brought to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia by Arab traders.

How Is Kopi O Roasted?

What stands out about Kopi and Kopi o is how they are roasted. They are roasted as a 80% coffee beans and 20% margarine and sugar at 180C (355F) with a roasting time of 25 minutes. After 12.5 minutes, halfway through the roasting time, salt is added.

Towards the end of the roasting process, sugar is added to takeaway any bitter aftertaste and to give a caramelized finish.

Brewing Kopi O

The most popular coffee brewing method in Malaysia and Singapore for Kopi and Kopi O is the use of a the muslin coffee sock. Ground Kopi is added to the coffee sock. Boiling hot water is poured over the aromatic coffee grounds, which are then stirred using a long wooden stick.

Variations include adding coffee grounds to the coffee sock and brewing the coffee and then removing the sock.

I’ve seen even bags of Kopi and Kopi O, by bags I mean they are the same as tea bags and brewed in the same way.

Condensed milk is added, 2 or 3 tablespoons for Kopi but not Kopi O.

Read: Singaporean coffee

How To Order Kopi O

When you are in Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore ordering a Kopi can be confusing. This section is to unwind that confusion and help you to order the right Kopi beverage.

Here are the Kopi Beverages that you can enjoy while in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and what they mean.

Beverage  What It Is
Kopi O Black coffee and sugar.
Kopi O Gau This is extra black coffee and sugar.
Kopi O Peng Iced Black coffee and sugar.
Kopi O Kosong Straight black coffee
(With no sugar or no milk).
Kopi O Gau Kosong Peng Iced Extra black coffee
(With no sugar and no milk).
Kopi O Kosong Di Lo Black coffee
(it is the thickest and most dense kopi).
Kopi O Kosong Peng Black coffee with ice
(With no sugar and no milk).
Kopi O Gau Peng Iced extra black coffee and sugar.
Kopi O Poh Black coffee and sugar (thinned using water like an Americano).
Kopi-O Siew Dai Black coffee with less sugar.

Some of the key terms that you will certainly want to know are:

  • Poh – Weak.
  • Gau – Strong.
  • Siu Dai – Less sweet.
  • Ga Dai – More sweet.
  • Peng – On Ice.
  • Koi Ta Bao – Kopi to go.

Where To Get Kopi O?

While in Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia you will be able to get Kopi O from any street food place, Hawker center, Kopitiams and coffee shops.

You can find Kopi O for making at home on Amazon and eBay as well as Lazada.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kopi O

What Is Kopi O Made Of?

Kopi O is a Malaysian and Singaporean traditional coffee The word Kopi is from the Malay language meaning coffee, the “O” is from the Hokkien language where it translates to black Kopi O is a strong black coffee.

It is made using Robusta and the rare Liberica coffee beans. Kopi o is roasted in a unique way with margarine and sugar to create a distinctive flavor.

What Is kopi C And Kopi O?

Kopi O is Malaysian black coffee with sugar, a kopi C is Malaysian black coffee with sugar and evaporated milk. Kopi C tastes different from Malaysian coffee with condensed milk. 

Is Kopi O Sweet?

Kopi is delicious, well-rounded and has a balance of sweetness. You will notice some sweetness but not too much. The taste of Kopi O is one you will experience in all traditional coffee shops in Malaysia and Singapore is not sweet. Kopi and Kopi O are two different drinks.

Read: Malaysian coffee

How Does Kopi O Taste Like?

Kopi O when enjoyed as a straight black coffee it can have a bitter-sour charcoal like flavor.

Is Espresso Same As Kopi O?

No, a shot of espresso and a Kopi O are two different beverages. A shot of espresso is a type of coffee that is brewed using pressurized hot water and is very focused and concentrated.

A kopi O is more like a caffé Americano than an espresso. It is not particularly a brewing method a kopi o can be brewed in a number of different ways as it is available as instant coffee, whole beans and preground coffee.

Does Kopi O Have Milk?

No, kopi o does not have milk as it is a black coffee.

Final Thoughts – Kopi O

Reading this far you are now much better informed about Kopi and Kopi O, what it is, how to order it and where you can buy it.

Try the Kopi O that best suits your own needs and taste.

Join our active and vibrant online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your own Kopi O creations, coffee memes and hilarious coffee jokes. and help make coffee mornings fun! 

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

Blogarama - Blog Directory