Food & Drink

A Malaysian kopitiam is making waves in New York with Penang white coffee

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kopitiam coffee
photo credit: fritzandmash

Coffee and the art of brewing caffeinated drinks have been around since the 10th century and will probably continue to be a staple in many households around the world. In recent years, cafes brewing special blends and intense cups of a variety of coffee mushroomed all over the globe, especially in big, fast-paced cities.

Many countries even have their unique blends like spiced coffee from Mexico, milky and foamy coffee from Argentina, and even modern city fads like buttery Bulletproof coffee. In New York, however, Malaysian white coffee is quickly becoming a hit among coffee-lovers there, so much that even the New York Times posted an article about it.

A Malaysian coffee shop called Kopitiam run by Kyo Pang, who grew up in Penang, is serving white coffee imported from Penang’s Koon Kee in powder form, while black coffee beans are imported biweekly and then ground in-store.

Photo credit: melissa_hom
Photo credit: melissa_hom

According to GrubStreet, Kyo Pang says people tend to relate this Malaysian coffee with Vietnamese coffee because of the use of condensed milk but actually, Malaysian white coffee is more delicate. Penang white coffee is roasted with olive oil (traditionally margarine) and brewed with just a little bit of condensed milk. The resulting brew is light, sweet and is just caffeinated enough for boost without being too strongly flavoured.

In order to extract as much flavour from the coffee as possible, it’s brewed with water that is above 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then hand-pulled – like teh tarik – to bring the temperature down to a more drinkable level, which also creates the foamy layer on top.

Kyo Pang feels that Malaysian white coffee is one of the best coffees in the world and it should be made known and available to people around the world – so Kopitiam is her attempt at doing just that.

More Malaysian kopitiam treats

Kopitiam also serves other authentic Malaysian dishes like kaya-butter toast, nasi lemak, soft-boiled eggs and more, importing authentic Malaysian flavours halfway around the world.

Address: 51 Canal St, New York, New York 10002

Update (28 June 2016): produced a video showing the restaurant and its food. Check it out here.

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