Dish of the Day: Kopi 3 Layer
It is nice to have a cup of hot coffee to kick start your morning or a refreshing glass of iced coffee in the evenings to replenish your energy. Kopi 3 Layer or 3 Layer Coffee is a popular beverage for Malaysians who likes rich and sweet beverages.
What is Kopi 3 Layer?
“Kopi” is a Malay word for coffee, and “3 layer” refers to the three layers of coffee, evaporated milk, and palm sugar syrup. The drink is usually served cold. The differences in density among these three ingredients give the appearance of three layers of colour.
The top layer is made of coffee (dark brown) followed by evaporated milk (white) in the middle, and lastly, palm sugar syrup (black) at the bottom. At some places, they may prefer using brown sugar than palm sugar. Kopi 3 Layer needs to be stirred properly before consuming to mix all the ingredients into a rich, sweet and refreshing drink.
History of Kopi 3 Layer
There are many theories and tales regarding the origin of coffee. Although it is said that coffee has been around since the 9th century; the earliest existence of coffee documented was in the 15th century. There were also debates about the origin country of coffee, whether it was from Ethiopia or Yemen. Wherever it came from, coffee was then spread throughout Mecca and Cairo, followed by all over the globe. The most common types of coffee beans are Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica.
How did the word “coffee” came to be? It was first derived from the Arabic word qahwah, which in turn was borrowed by the Ottoman Turkish word, kahve and the Dutch word, koffie. The word “coffee” in English was acknowledged in 1582.
In Malaysia, coffee is usually called ‘Kopi” in stalls and street vendors. It is believed that during the British colonisation, Arabica coffee beans were first introduced by an English military officer. Then, coffee began to gain popularity due to the existence of kopitiams (coffee shops in Hokkien dialect). From there, coffee has been experimented upon throughout the centuries to produce the beverage that stole the hearts of Malaysians.
It is believed that this drink is inspired by 3 layer tea which originated from Sarawak. Coffee drinkers took the opportunity to replace tea with coffee to create new ways of enjoying their favourite drink. There are two obvious differences between Malaysian Kopi compared to the usual coffee found in other parts of the world.
The first one is in the preparation of coffee beans. In Malaysia, coffee beans are roasted with butter and sugar, while other parts of the world only use sugar. Another difference is that coffee in Malaysia are made by pouring boiling water and coffee beans through a cloth filter, rather than brewing using a machine.
Evolution of Coffee Culture in Malaysia
Traditionally, Malaysians prefer tea to coffee. However, coffee outlets have grown every year. In the beginning, the kopitiam used to be the typical place to meet up and drink coffee. Now, western coffee franchises brought in various types of coffee that are pricier than the average kopi. Now, there exists a new coffee culture, where cafés and coffee houses everywhere are becoming the norm.
Where to find Kopi 3 Layer in Malaysia
The majority of restaurants in Malaysia sell this beverage as coffee is the second most popular drink after tea. Try the refreshing Kopi 3 layer from Drink [email protected] Thumbs cafe (Kuching) or have it with nasi lemak from 1970 (Johor Bahru) to begin your day.
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Article Written By Anna
Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.