Although kopi gu you is a dying tradition, Heap Seng Leong is one of the surviving coffee shops in Singapore that still sells this old-school drink. Entering their humble space is often described as walking into a museum showcase of a 1950s kopitiam. We settled in to the throwback of a place for breakfast with kaya toast, eggs, and kopi gu you.
Everyone knows the iconic Singaporean kaya toast breakfast but have you tried it with a cup of traditional kopi that is served with a stick of butter in it? That, or steaming tea with condensed milk and a slab of yellow butter.
Kopi served with butter in it is called kopi gu you and literally translates to “coffee butter” in the Hokkien dialect. It is said to have been first found in Hainanese coffee shops in Singapore back in the 1930s. Today, instead of adding butter to coffee, coffee beans are usually first roasted in butter or margarine to achieve the same effect.