Ipoh White Coffee
Ipoh white coffee is a common drink in all of Malaysia, but without doubt it originated in Ipoh’s Old Town. Lonely planet has named Ipoh one of the top three coffee towns in Asia. The term ‘white coffee’ has absolutely nothing to do with the colour of the coffee. Moreover, despite a popular misconception, there are no ‘special’ white coffee beans involved. The ‘white’ is a transliteration of its Chinese name: Jiù jiē chǎng bái kāfēi. The word ‘bái’ means ‘white’, a colour that comes from its unique and distinctive roasting technique.
The coffee beans involved in Ipoh White Coffee are ordinary coffee beans. These are often imported into Malaysia. But what is special is they are roasted with palm oil margarine. The beans are gently roasted at a low temperature, which gives them a slightly bitter aroma and a smoky taste.
This distinguishing and uniquely Ipoh roasting method is what provides the rich silky and slightly frothy foamy coffee. This beverage is often served with condensed milk.
Ipoh White Coffee Pioneers
There is a street in Ipoh associated with pioneering the city’s White Coffee concept and technique – Leech Street (retitled Jalan Bandar Timah). For over 70 years this street has been at the epicentre of both serving and roasting Ipoh’s White Coffee. Probably the most famous kopitiam (coffee shop) is Sin Yoon Loong Coffee Shop.
Nowadays, despite the fact that Ipoh white coffee is available throughout Malaysia (and well beyond), the kopitiams along this street continue to attract coffee drinkers in their droves.