Both are black coffee brewed with coffee grounds and hot water, but what are the key areas that set them apart? It all channels down to several factors from production, all the way to consumption, there are a few differences to note before you lay your judgement, both of them are actually unique in their own way.
1. Type of Coffee Beans Used
Kopi O': Robusta beans are usually used due to its cheaper price and heavier taste. Caffeine content in Robusta beans is higher too, which makes your Kopi O’ taste very thick or "Gao" in local slang.
Specialty Coffee : Arabica beans are chosen because they are known as the highest quality coffee beans in the world enriched with complex flavours. Factors like beans from different country origins and growth altitudes will produce beans with unique tasting notes.
2. Roasting Style
Kopi O': Coffee beans are roasted at a very high temperature, often until the beans are dark and glistening, which gives it its bitter, sour- charcoal flavour. Margarine, sugar and sesame is often added while roasting, giving it its rich aroma while diminishing the intensity of taste.
Specialty Coffee : In general, coffee beans are roasted over 200°C around 15-20 minutes depending on origin. Beans are popularly roasted from light to medium-dark, but never favouring the dark side as the goal is to preserve and extract as much flavour as they possibly can from the beans itself.
3. Equipment to Brew
Kopi O': A long snout pot, a stainless steel mug and a sieve-sock filled with coarse coffee grounds is the way to go. Hot water is added and brewed for 5 minutes before condiments are added to it.
Specialty Coffee: A range of equipment may be used to brew the coffee beans depending on the profile of the beans. The most familiar ones in cafes would be the espresso machines which usually cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. There are other equipment for making filter coffee like v60, Aeropress, Chemex and a series of coffee filters and techniques to try.
Kopi O': After brewing the coffee through the sock, condiments like sugar, condensed milk or evaporated milk will be added to mute the harshness of the coffee with a hint of sweetness.
Specialty Coffee: Coffee is usually consumed as it is to experience the full flavour. The joy of drinking specialty coffee lies within the brewing process along with the tasting notes that you get.
There you go, a brief summary of two beautiful brews that is an art form of its own kind. Time to get yourself some coffee and spark the caffeine conversation today. Visit our Experience Store and talk to our product expert to get started!