Barista making latte art of coffee brewed using Nanyang coffee beans

What is Nanyang Coffee And How to Make It?

Audrey Harrison
Home brewer

Ever heard of brewing a coffee with a coffee sock? Yes, you heard that right!

No! It’s not a new coffee experiment but a traditional way of brewing Nanyang coffee.

Now your coffee buds might be wondering what this Nayang coffee is! Well if you are tired of ordinary brews then Nanyang coffee is a perfect caffeine fix that is authentic and flavorful.

Today in this exploration I will share with you complete details about Nanyang coffee. I will also help you learn how to brew it at home and much more.

So let's get started.

What is Nanyang Coffee?

Nanyang Coffee, also called "kopi" is a distinctive coffee variety that has its roots in the Nanyang region surrounding Southeast Asian nations like Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It is known for its robust flavor. These beans are a unique blend of flavors and traditional preparation methods that have been passed down through generations.

This coffee is served with milk or sugar. It is highly caffeinated in strength derived from the Malay term for coffee.

The term Nanyang means "South Sea" in Mandarin, and refers to Maritime Southeast Asia.

History and Origins of Nanyang Old Coffee

Nanyang coffee originated from the Nanyang region in China. The term "Nanyang" means "southern ocean" in Chinese. It reflects the geographic origins of this unique coffee blend.

The history of Nanyang coffee dates back to the early 20th century when Chinese immigrants brought this coffee culture to the Nanyang region.

These immigrants, often called Hainanese, played a major role in introducing Nanyang coffee and established various coffee shops or "kopitiams" that became cultural spaces for the community.

Over the years, this coffee has evolved drastically. Today it is an integral part of the Nanyang cultural experience. It reflects the tradition, community, and shared love for a good cup of coffee in the respective region.

Nanyang Coffee vs Speciality Coffee

Variety of beans

Nanyang coffee is a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans yielding a unique flavor profile with a balance of richness and intensity. In contrast, specialty coffee focuses on single-origin beans and the unique characteristics of a specific region or farm.

Different roasting process

Nanyang coffee is often roasted with ingredients like margarine and sugar and it is distinctive in taste. While specialty coffee highlights the natural flavors of the beans. It is roasted lightly to preserve its original taste.

Flavor profile

Nanyang coffee is known for its bold, robust flavor with hints of sweetness which makes it perfect for coffee lovers who prefer rich flavors.

On the other hand, specialty coffee offers a diverse range of flavors, from fruity and floral to chocolatey and nutty serving coffee lovers with unique taste preferences.

Brewing methods

What makes Nanyang coffee stand out is its using traditional methods. It is generally brewed using a sock brewing or with a coffee sock. It allows for a full-bodied extraction. Specialty coffee enthusiasts pick pour-over, french press, or espresso methods to highlight the specific qualities of their chosen beans.

Cultural significance

Nanyang coffee has its cultural roots extended in regions like Southeast Asia, particularly in kopitiams, where it is savored together at community events.

Specialty coffee is famous for its global diversity, with each origin resulting in a unique cultural touch to the coffee-drinking experience.

How to Brew Nanyang Coffee?


  • 20g Nanyang Kopi powder
  • 200g hot water

Brewing steps

  • Measure your coffee
  • Take a brewing cup and add coffee to it.
  • Add some water
  • Pour hot water into the brewing cup.
  • Give it a fine stir to saturate all the grounds.
  • Set the timer
  • Let the coffee grounds be infused for around  3 minutes.
  • Set the timer to 3 minutes, after that again stir the mixture for the grounds settled at the bottom to mix well.
  • Filter your brew
  • Now take a coffee sock and add your coffee mixture to it. Make sure the coffee sock filter is rinsed well before use.

Your basic Kopi brew base is ready for flavorful recipes.

Popular Nanyang Coffee Varieties

1) Enhanced Kopi

To elevate your basic brew, you can begin with these amazing Kopi. It has a rich chocolatey flavor.


  • Just take a mug and add 2 tbsp. condensed milk
  • Pour 2/3 base brew as we brewed above.
  • Finally pour 1/3 milk and some hot water. You can use hot water as per your taste.


If you don't want to go for condensed milk, you can try this one. Evaporated milk has a much thinner consistency in comparison. But here you will observe the increase in creaminess.


  • Take a cup and add around 2/3 base brew.
  • Once done add around 2 tbsp evaporated milk.
  • FInally, layer it with 1/3 milk and some hot water.


It is somewhat like black coffee but way smoother without the typical bitterness found in other coffees.


  • Take a cup and add 2/3 base brew to it.
  • Add 2 tsp sugar.
  • Finally, layer it with 1/3 hot water.

Local Cuisine Paired With Nanyang Coffee

1) Kaya toast

Kaya toast is a fluffy toast with butter and kaya(coconut jam). It's perfect to pair with bold coffee for a delicious breakfast.

2) Dim sums

Dim sums are savory bites like dumplings and buns. You can also pair them with your Kopi.

3) Cendol

Cendol is cold jelly noodles, with ice, and coconut milk. It is a perfect contrast best to have as a post-meal treat.

You can try different pairings. I think the above ones are some of the best options.

Wrapping up

Nanyang coffee is a flavorful drink that reflects Southeast Asia's vibrant heritage and complements the local cuisine quite well.

From its robust blend of beans to its unique brewing methods, Nanyang coffee is both bold and flavorful.

Here I have covered the history, and differences between Nanyang and specialty coffee, and even shared some brewing recipes and pairings. Now gather your ingredients and start brewing.

That's a wrap for this blog on Nanyang coffee! I hope I've served your interest and answered your questions about this fascinating brew. Want to learn more about the coffee? Follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel for more coffee knowledge and brewing inspiration!


Audrey Harrison

Team TAB
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I am a coffee aficionado based in Seattle. I have devoted my passion and expertise to perfecting the art of home coffee brewing. I became known for my exquisite pour-over and espresso creations. I source coffee beans from local roasters and explores ...