How does a machine brew a cup of kopitiam-style coffee, & how does it taste? We find out.

*Not a real food blogger.

Sumita Thiagarajan | August 26, 2020, 09:40 PM

Local startup, Hawkermatic, has launched a machine, called the KopiMatic, that aims to address issues with making a consistent cup of kopi, or kopitiam-style coffee.

Some coffeeshop owners have trouble finding staff skilled in making beverages such as coffee, tea and milo.

A regular cup of local kopi consists of coffee, condensed milk, sugar and water.

So, what does a kopitiam-style coffee made by the KopiMatic taste like?

We tried a cup of kopi made by founder of KopiMatic, Jason Thai, at the Hawkermatic office.

We also bought a cup of kopi from the neighbourhood coffeeshop (without any modifications to sugar levels or amount of condensed milk) for reference.

Brewing process

No need for the coffee or tea brewing 'sock' you see at neighbourhood coffeeshops or coffee chains, the machine brews the coffee with an auto brewer, a machine that automatically brews the coffee.

Coffee powder is poured into the auto brewer, which lowers into hot water and the coffee is brewed by mixing the powder with the hot water.

Footage by Sumita Thiagarajan

Here's the brewed coffee getting transferred into a container that is then kept warm by a water bath:

Footage by Sumita Thiagarajan

Finally, the brewed coffee is mixed with various ingredients, such as condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar or water:

Footage by Sumita Thiagarajan

If you enjoy a 'human touch' to your coffee, unfortunately the only part that touch is available is in pressing the buttons of the ATM-style buttons to dispense the various ingredients.

You might miss watching the person in the coffeeshop making your drink, though how many of us actually stand there and observe the drink being made?


KopiMatic's kopi is slightly lighter in colour (as seen below).

Photo by Sumita Thiagarajan

This could be due to the difference in the amount of condensed milk or water.

Generally, the colour of kopi tends to vary from one coffeeshop to another, as the proportion of coffee, water and condensed milk varies from one coffeeshop staff to another.


So how does the KopiMatic kopi compare to the one from the neighbourhood coffeeshop?

Firstly, the neighbourhood coffeeshop kopi definitely tasted more 'gao' or thick.

The kopi from the KopiMatic did not give as much of a 'kick', as compared to a cup of kopitiam-style coffee.

The KopiMatic beverage was slightly less sweet, and tasted a little bit milkier than we expected from a cup of regular kopi.

When it comes to taste, the kopi made by KopiMatic was less bitter, as compared to the coffee I got in the neighbourhood coffeeshop.

It's also good to note that the taste of coffee might also affected by the types of coffee powder used.

But generally it was surprisingly similar to the kopi you might get from your neighbourhood coffee stall.

We also got to try a cup of KopiMatic's Kopi-C, which contains evaporated milk.

It was creamier than the regular kopi made by the KopiMatic.

The Kopi-C was less sweet or thick as compared to the one from the neighbourhood coffeeshop.

We deliver more stories to you on LinkedInMothership Linkedin

Top images by Sumita Thiagarajan