We all have our personal favourite ways of ordering coffee. Some like their black, others prefer theirs to come as lattes or americanos, and then we have those who like a bit of sweet, dark chocolate in theirs – mocha. Coffee has evolved quite a bit in recent years here in Singapore, but there’s nothing quite as comforting as a hot cup of local coffee. We prefer to term our coffee, ‘Sock Coffee’ because the coffee is filtered through a stocking-like contraption. The more deft the coffee uncle is at making coffee, the smoother it is.

Sidenote: In Singapore, whether or not a person is related to you, we call them ‘aunty’ or ‘uncle’ as long as they are around our parents’ age or older. It may seem unusual but it really is a simple term that we use out of respect. 

Now, I’m really not much of a coffee drinker, let alone a coffee connoisseur. So it took me a while to master the art of identifying what kinds of coffee we have.

For starters, we have Kopi O which is our very basic Black Coffee (Think Long Black) with Sugar. You can have Kopi O Siu Dai which comes with less sugar, or Kopi O Kosong which comes without sugar. Following this, we have plain Kopi – Coffee with Condensed Milk, and Kopi C – Coffee with Evaporated Milk where the ‘C’ refers to the brand of evaporated milk used i.e. Carnation. Again, both of these can be served with less sugar or without, and if you add a ‘Peng’ at the end of each of these orders, your coffee will come with ice. These are the basics of local coffee although it can get a little more complicated and confusing if you want your coffee stronger, or more dilute.

Anyway, I still get confused between Kopi C and Kopi, and actually just had to double check that I got them right while typing this out. The reason I’m going on a little about our Singapore coffee is because of a plated coffee dessert I created just recently. This was yet another Drool Cook Club challenge, this time with participants requiring to highlight coffee as their main ingredients whether in a sweet or savoury dish. Of course, I went for the sweet option and immediately, my thoughts flew straight to a possible Tiramisu, or perhaps an Espresso Banana Coffee Cake, or maybe a batch of Espresso Chocolate Brownies, or even a Cappucino Mousse Cake.

I was reluctant to go the ‘usual’ route so I wrecked my brain a few days before it hit me that I should try to do a spin on our trio of most commonly consumed local coffee in Singapore. Sometimes it’s easy to let our thoughts fly towards the ends of the earth when Inspiration may be right at our doorstep!

I present to you The Kopi Trio:

Kopi C Brownies topped with Hazelnut Mascarpone Cream;
Kopi O Jelly on top of a bed of Honeycomb Crumbs;
Kopi Panna Cotta with a Chocolate Ring and Chocolate-covered Coffee Beans

Dessert after F made a beautiful pasta dinner for our family dinner never tasted better! The wobble of the panna cotta yielded so easily to the spoon. The bitter jelly was balanced out by the sweet honeycomb crumbs that were a welcomed textural component as well. And the light nutty cream helped cut against the richness of the brownie while keeping it nice and moist.

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I love these little Instagram challenges and I can’t wait for the next one to come. As mentioned earlier, I’m not much of a coffee drinker and as such, I tend to move away from creating coffee-based desserts. Or rather, I don’t usually feel tempted to use coffee in my desserts simply because I don’t find them very appealing. I suppose that’s what challenges are for – to push us beyond what is familiar and comfortable, and to make us stretch our minds while opening our hearts towards new experiences and possibilities.

In a way this is rather similar to life itself where facing the unfamiliar can be daunting and offputting, oftentimes, we realise that solutions are right before us if we simply look that bit more carefully. We may not necessarily want to tackle that challenge, but when we do, it is usually the case that the challenge wasn’t all too difficult and we come away feeling a strong sense of pride and satisfaction at having achieved something we previously felt under-qualified and doubtful towards with respect to our own ability.

We are stronger, much strong, that we think! And while it is our minds that can hold us back, it is also our very same mind that can propel us forward. 🙂

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