Kopitiam Malaysian Coffee Shop

The taste and aroma of local coffee fill the atmosphere as you enter the coffee shop. The person-in-charge at the kitchen busy preparing people’s order.

The customers waiting patiently to be served at a table. In the mean time, some are reading newspaper while others have small conversation with their friends.

Majority who patronise the coffee shop are men in their 60s.


Kopitiam is a traditional coffee shop that offers locally produced coffee.

Kopitiam only started in the 1900s. 

Since then, Kopitiam becomes a place of choice for locals to meet and chitchat with friends.

The tradition of drinking coffee was brought to Malaysia by Britain. 

Types of coffee

Four types of coffee beans in the world which is: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa

Arabica is the most common type of coffee and it is largely produced coffee, 60% of the world’s productions.

It has a sweet and delicate flavor. It is commonly used in a coffee shop or café. 

In comparison to Robusta, which has strong caffeine in it and commonly being used as instant coffee. Sometimes they have a mixture of Arabica and Robusta.

The latter two are not so common. 

Despite the Liberica of not so commonly produced,  the coffee powder for a local brand in Malaysia is usually made of Liberica (90%) and Robusta (10%).  

In Malaysia, we only produced 0.16% of the world’s production. 

Even though we do not contribute much in the production, our citizen drinks 2.5 cups of coffee every day.

The majority of our coffee is being imported from Indonesia.  

Kopi Kampung

Coffee using old kopitiam cup and saucer
Kopi Susu using traditional cup and saucer. This commonly uses in Kopitiam or local hawker stall. Image from Pixabay.

We have our own choice of local coffee in Malaysia. It fondly known kopi kampung.

Kopi kampung, a dark coffee that is prepared in such a way the sugar must be as sweet as it can be. It is favour by adults especially for old folk residing in villages. 

This kopi kampung available at the Kopitiam or local hawker. 

It is easy to prepare kopi kampung

To prepare kopi kampung you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of coffee powder 
  • 400 ml of boiling water 
  • 6 tablespoons of sugar

How to brew it: Scoop in coffee powder and sugar together in a pot. Pour in boiling water and mix well. Wait for few minutes for the coffee drink to really dissolves. By using a filter, pour in the coffee in an old-style Kopitiam cup.

There you have it a nice cup of kopi kampung

Another name for kopi kampung is Kopi O

Alternatively, besides using sugar we also used condensed milk in coffee, and we called it Kopi Susu. 

Kopi kampung’s price is low it cost us around RM2.00 or (US$0.48). 

According to a Malaysian portal, Kuala Lumpur has one of the affordable prices to get coffee which is price started at RM7.34 (US$1.67). This is not the case for kopi kampung

Kopi Susu was so famous even it is being sung by Saloma, a Malaysian singer who was popular in the mid-50s.  

The intro of the song  is: Kopi Susu kurang manis tambah gula, Badan lesu kerana hati tergoda

The meaning of the song is: Coffee milk less sweet add sugar, Body become sluggish because the heart fascinat

Retail Coffee Business in Malaysia

The first café that being introduced in Malaysia is The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) in 1997. 

A year after, it was followed by Starbucks in December 1998. 

Since then, coffee drinking habits have become famous among young adults in Malaysia.  

The CBTL and Starbucks introduce different recipes such as mocha, cappuccino and café late. This recipes has attracted generation Y at the moment. 

With the different taste using full cream milk and sweeteners, there is no doubt it catches their attention compared to the kopi kampung

The CBTL and Starbucks presentation at their premises have inspired local Kopitiams owners in Malaysia.

The owner upgrade their shop to give customer the best service. Thus, they rebrand their shop by changing the corporate design and the interior of the shop.

Now, millennials, middle and high-income professionals are willing to patronize specialist coffee shops to enjoy freshly brewed coffee

Andreal, 2021.

Reasons why people drink coffee

In a  local study, conducted in 2019,  they identified three key main factors that motivate people in Malaysia to go and buy coffee at the coffee house, the brand image of the coffeehouses, product benefits to fulfill the expectations of health-conscious customers, and lastly the atmosphere of the coffeehouse

It also notices that people do not mind paying a certain price to get a cup of coffee. 

In an international study, they also found that many factors contribute to enjoyment in drinking a cup of coffee. Mostly due to the taste and the aroma of the coffee itself. 

Similarly, the environment such as coffee shops and café also contribute to the reason why people enjoy drinking it with families, friends, and colleagues. 

Coffee lovers are particular about the selection of cup and spoon when having daily coffee at their favourite cafe.

Whether the cup is made up of cardboard, plastic or China and metal plastic or wooden spoons is part of their criteria. 

The presentation of the drinks can also impact the overall perceptions of the drink’s quality.


It depends on people’s choice on which coffee they would like to have since there are many types in the market.

They can have it side by side with other menu but kopi kampung is best to be served with toasted bread spread with kaya paste for breakfast.

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