What’s in my Kopi? Oh, I don’t want to know…

Ordering local coffee and tea is a whole art by itself. There is a whole unique lexicon to specify what you want. For starters, coffee is known as kopi and tea is known as teh. The milk used is not fresh milk but either condensed milk or evaporated milk. The most commonly ordered drinks are:

Coffee with milk – kopi (condensed milk)/kopi-c (evaporated milk with sugar)

Tea with milk – teh (condensed milk)/ teh-c (evaporated milk with sugar)

What I like is either kopi-c kosong or teh-c kosong (coffee/tea with evaporated milk and no sugar).

Kopi – coffee
C – evaporated milk
Kosong – no sugar

So it’s kopi-c kosong!

Evaporated milk is simply fresh, homogenised milk from which 60% of the water has been removed. This is healthier than condensed milk. Condensed milk is milk with water removed but with sugar added. Yucks! I wouldn’t touch that now with a ten-foot pole.

I decided to go to the supermarket to buy some evaporated milk to make my own kopi-c kosong at work. The first thing I did was to check out what the local coffee shop used for their coffee. It was Marigold evaporated filled milk. I was suspicious already. What did they “fill” it with?

condensed milk singapore

It turned out that evaporated filled milk was the bad and cheap version of real evaporated milk. According to Wikipedia, filled milk is

“any milk, cream, or skimmilk that has been reconstituted with fats, usually vegetable oils, from sources other than dairy cows. Pure evaporated filled milk is generally considered unsuitable for drinking because of its particular flavor, but is equivalent to unadulterated evaporated milk for baking and cooking purposes.”

Here are the ingredients of Marigold evaporated filled milk. Yucks, it turns out I have been drinking reconstituted milk stuffed with vegetable fats, sugar and emulsifiers.

evaporated filled milk

Condensed milk, like I knew all along, contained sugar. I didn’t realise that sugar was the main ingredient until I checked the back of all the cans at the supermarket. That’s why condensed milk is so yummy!

condensed milk singapore

In the end, I managed to find canned milk that suited my requirements. Marigold King of Kings Full Cream Evaporated Milk was the best out of the lot; it did not contain vegetable fats and had no added sugar. But it contained stabilisers and some other preservatives. I forgot to take a picture of the back of the can but this is what the can looks like. I think that if you want to drink local coffee and tea, this milk is the best choice.

Oh no! No more kopi-c from my usual coffee shop anymore!!

kopi singapore

13 thoughts on “What’s in my Kopi? Oh, I don’t want to know…”

    1. I’ve tried the bulletproof coffee method as well!! Sadly, I just cannot get round the strange taste. I even tried adding butter to my kopi o kosong. Then I tried coconut milk, thinking it should be similar to dairy milk but it’s really not the same. So I’ve gone back to using normal full fat milk but I still miss my kopi-c kosong.


      1. Haha I like the taste of coconut oil…
        Have you tried almond milk?
        If you can find an unsweetened version that should be awesome.
        I’d suggest raw milk but then I found that that all milk is required to be pasteurised by Singapore law 🙁

    1. If you can bear it, teh c kosong would be an improvement over teh c!

      I’m still going to drink my kopi-c kosong but maybe I’ll peek to make sure they are not using the “filled” milk garbage next time!

  1. I am sure you guys will be disgusted with what i use for my coffee.
    Back in the USA, i will always go for a dash of Half-n-Half to compliment my coffee (my stomache couldnt take the acidity of the black coffee). And my ofc always stock half-n-half.
    Now back home, i substitute half-n-half with non dairy creamer. (In the office, i made my own coffee with french press and they only stock non-dairy creamer). i dont prefer milk because it cools my coffee and it just doesnt have the creamy consistency . And it takes too much work to heat up milk.
    Now that you make me want to look at the ingredients list, i am afraid what i will find out at the same time.

    1. Haha I have no idea what non dairy creamer is so I just went to google it.

      From wikipedia (sounds really terrible):

      To replicate the mouthfeel of milk fats, nondairy creamers often contain vegetable-based fats, although nonfat nondairy creamers/whiteners also exist. Other common ingredients include corn syrup and other sweeteners or/and flavourings (such as French vanilla and hazelnut); as well as sodium caseinate, a milk protein derivative (from casein) that does not contain lactose.

      Are you lactose intolerant as well?

      1. It is on of those packets of creamer they serve u together with ur tea/coffee.
        I am not lactose intolerant. I think its preferable in indonesia because its non-perishable and convenient.

  2. Vegetable oil/fat is terrible. To make veg oil milky looking, they are transformed usually by hydrogenation and becomes trans fats for which there is no safe limit according to US FDA. I.e.: no amount is the safe amount to consume. It goes straight to accumulate in the blood vessels.

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