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Malaysian White Coffee


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A friend brought me a few packages of instant coffee from Malaysia. She said this is the famous Malaysian White Coffee. The package label said "Kopi Putih, Malaysia, Hei Hwang". I gathered that "Hei Hwang" is the brand name (in Cantonese-Chinese it is "Hak Wong" - Black King). What does "Kopi Putih" mean? Is it the region where the coffee beans are produced?

Also, why is this called "white" coffee? Is there a story behind it? I would imagine most coffees are black in nature. The white color only comes from milk/cream added.

P.S. It tastes very good! :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Kopi means coffee in Malay. I don't know what Putih means. I just remember that when I ordered at the hawker stands, kopi meant coffee with sugar and milk while kopi-oh meant coffee with sugar, no milk.

The instant white coffee is v. good!

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Kopi means coffee in Malay.  I don't know what Putih means.  I just remember that when I ordered at the hawker stands, kopi meant coffee with sugar and milk while kopi-oh meant coffee with sugar, no milk.

The instant white coffee is v. good!

Putih means "white" in Malay. The coffee was developed in Ipoh, a wonderful former mining town about 2.5 hours drive north of KL and in my very biased opinion, home to Malaysia's best hawker food.

This might be pure urban myth, but I was told by locals that what made white coffee special was the beans being roasted in margarine. Wikipedia disagrees with me, saying that all Malaysian coffee is roasted with margarine, but white coffee omits to add sugar during the roasting process, hence the lighter-coloured result.

My favourite brand of instant is Ipoh Old Town, which comes in a charming package decorated with scenes of 1950s Ipoh and indeed, instant does a pretty good job of imitating the original (much much better than International Roast versus a proper espresso, at any rate) But IMHO, nothing beats pulling up a stool in an Old Town coffee shop and having it fresh.

I find it strange that the pack doesn't say "Ipoh white coffee"; maybe it's become so popular that non-Ipoh manufacturers are now selling it.

Speaking of which, I am running out of stock! Time for another trip home methinks.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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That's interesting! Thank you Julian. My friend did mention Ipoh. I found that on the package, the manufacturer has the address which ends with "Ipoh, Perak". Looks like the coffee powder is produced in Ipoh.

It said "3 Dalam 1". I take it that it means "3 in 1" - coffee, sugar and milk? Tastes really very good.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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According to my coffee drinker/addict in-laws, their fav brand is Chek Hup. Their relatives in LA love it so much that anyone who goes over will bring along a good supply of it.

Yes, 'dalam' means 'in'.

There are also good coffee powder producers in other towns, but not white coffee.

Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

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It's good to see Ipoh White Coffee gaining fame abroad. Even here in Malaysia I think it has really only gained widespread popularity in the last few years, before that you don't hear much about white coffee outside of Ipoh. Now it can be found in most coffee shops in KL and instant white coffee powder can be bought at most supermarkets.

Due to this rise in popularity there are also many more producers of white coffee coming out of the woodwork. One of the original white coffee vendors is Sin Yoon Loong in the "old town" section of Ipoh - my grandfather used to go there and have his cup of white coffee with roast pork (siew yoke). I still go there once in a while as I find their white coffee very "kau" (strong) as compared to other coffee shops in Ipoh.

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Kopi means coffee in Malay.  I don't know what Putih means.  I just remember that when I ordered at the hawker stands, kopi meant coffee with sugar and milk while kopi-oh meant coffee with sugar, no milk.

The instant white coffee is v. good!

Putih means "white" in Malay. The coffee was developed in Ipoh, a wonderful former mining town about 2.5 hours drive north of KL and in my very biased opinion, home to Malaysia's best hawker food.

This might be pure urban myth, but I was told by locals that what made white coffee special was the beans being roasted in margarine. Wikipedia disagrees with me, saying that all Malaysian coffee is roasted with margarine, but white coffee omits to add sugar during the roasting process, hence the lighter-coloured result.

Wikipedia is correct, local M'sian style coffee is roasted with margarine, which results in the super dark color when brewed.

from http://www.ipohwhitecoffee2u.com.my/what.htm

SECRETS OF IPOH WHITE COFFEE

AVERAGE Malaysian cafes serve coffee which is roasted in accordance to Kopi-O style where beans are

roasted very dark, laced with 60% burnt caramel (to further induce a “heavy bodied” taste and “blackness” to the brew) and adulterated with grounded wheat, oat, burned corn for cost cutting purposes. On supermarket shelves, this concoction it is labeled as “Kopi Campuran”. See picture 2.

For generations, Ipohites are always known to purvey a finer delicate taste for their food and beverages. This is well depicted in Ipoh’s coffee. Ipohites prefer the clean natural taste of unadulterated coffee and insist coffee should always be brewed from 100% coffee beans roasted to a lighter degree (hence giving the expression “white”) producing a brew that is heavenly intense in aroma and pure in coffee taste.

Sweeten and evaporated milk are usually added in making Ipoh white coffee. A proper cup of white coffee served by any Ipoh café has some

foam (from vigorous stirring) and

colour similar to milk tea.

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Thanks for the clarification, SG.

From observation, I always thought the foamy top resulted from the "tarik" action as opposed to "vigorous stirring." Despite the fact that the "tarik" technique is a mamak tradition, I've seen it many times recently in Ipoh coffee shops serving white coffee, albeit with less vigour and theatre.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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