Alumni Happenings

The Art of Singapore Traditional Coffee

Written By: Regina Koh

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the intricate brewing of a cup of Singapore Traditional Coffee? Our alumni came together to learn about the history of traditional coffee, familiarly termed “Kopi” in Singapore, and participated in an exclusive coffee-brewing experience at Nanyang Old Coffee! Lingos such as Kopi O Ga Dai* to order coffee in coffee shops were also covered during this workshop to complete the full traditional experience.

The workshop started with an introduction to the characteristics of Singapore Traditional Coffee by our workshop speaker, Mr. Lim, from Nanyang Old Coffee, where he led a discussion on the gao* history of traditional coffee in Singapore. To delve further, participants learned more about the origins of traditional coffee and how these have shaped the taste of Singapore’s unique traditional coffee taste. A detailed run-through of the equipment used in the production of multiple large batches of coffee was showcased to allow us to better understand the brewing process as well.

The workshop would not be complete without some hands-on activity – the exclusive coffee-brewing experience. Our alumni were delighted to kick-start the brewing process with modified apparatus at their disposal to brew their own coffee for a good sip on a leisurely morning.

Participants also picked up little tips and know-hows such as identifying the colour of the coffee and recognising what ingredients were added. For example, Coffee with Evaporated Milk would produce a lighter shade of brown, bearing some similarity to the “Teh C” we can buy from local coffee shops.

The already perfect morning was made better with an assortment of traditional breakfast refreshments like traditional toast and ondeh-ondeh to enhance the experience.

As our alumni sipped on their fruits of labour, Mr. Lim posed a mini challenge. We were invited to have a hand at executing the Kopi pull or “Tarik” with traditional apparatus. Of course, our members did not disappoint.

Some may view coffee making as routine, this workshop proved that there is an art and science to it. Seeing the smiles on our alumni’s faces, chatting over their “kopi”, and reminiscing the old times, it was definitely now just about sharing of the rich coffee history.

Glossary
*Kopi O Ga Dai: Black Coffee with More Sugar
*Gao: Thick

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