I imagine most Singaporeans who drink coffee are familiar with what Kopi Siu Dai and Kopi Gao are, when you order a cup of coffee from any local coffee shops islandwide.  In fact, these are also not unfamiliar terms to some foreigners, especially those who have been residing here and are familiar with Singapore’s local food/drink culture.

For the benefit of those who do not know :-

  • Kopi Siu Dai means coffee with less (condensed) milk/sugar  (thus the less sweet option)
  • Kopi Peng Siu Dai (or Kopi Siu Dai Peng) means coffee with ice and less (condensed) milk/sugar
  • Kopi Gao means thick coffee (obviously with more concentrated coffee)
  • Kopi Peng Gao means thick coffee with ice

As one who does not fancy very sweet staff, partly also as an effort to be more health conscious, for some time now, I have been trying to order Kopi Peng Siu Dai whenever I have my weekend breakfasts at the the coffee shops near my place.

I noticed that both the coffee shops that I frequent have this habit of preparing ice coffee in advance and leave them in their big fridges.  Those are standard coffee with condensed milk.  Whenever a customer asks for a Kopi Peng (or standard ice coffee), they would then take a cup of the chilled coffee out from the fridge, add ice and serve.  As I am not familiar with other coffee shops, I wonder if this is a common practice in this industry. Well, I have no issues with that if that is an effort to improve their serving time, thus service standard.

However, my shocking discovery was that for Kopi Peng Siu Dai, instead of making a fresh cup with less milk/sugar as requested by the customer, they would just take a cup of the ready standard coffee from the fridge, add more coffee to cover up the sweetness, add ice and serve!  Isn’t that Kopi Peng Gao then?

What an act of laziness and dishonesty?

I remember confronting one of the coffee shop assistants once when the Kopi Peng Siu Dai that I ordered was super sweet.  I questioned if they had got my order correct.  Instead of admitting their mistake or even offer a replacement, his reaction was to add more coffee for me!  So that was the truth!  DS and I have since witnessed what they did to prepare a cup of Kopi Peng Siu Dai too.

I find this is totally unacceptable, but such is the attitude of the coffee shops!  Needless to say, I left the coffee unconsumed that morning.

This morning, in the hope that this other coffee shop would be honest to serve exactly what I ordered, I was disappointed that they did the same too!

Obviously these coffee shops have overlooked three important points – (1) They are not fulfilling a customer’s order correctly, so that’s bad service attitude, and (2)  they are increasing their operating costs unnecessary.  In this case, using additional coffee powder unnecessary and (3) They have little concerns for the customers’ health, thus isn’t this an act of irresponsibility?

Since I can’t change these people, I will change myself.  So I will have to give up the idea of drinking Kopi Peng Siu Dai unless it is a home-made one!


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