The Original Touch-down

At the near end of 18th century, countless Chinese migrants who were sold as ‘jyu jai’ (slave labour) to Nanyang, which is today’s Malaysia, working as tin miners.


The daily routine of the tin miners would be washing the tin by drenching in the river under the hot weather. As theay were not acclimatizing with the local on-going rain and shine, falling sick is just so easy.


Without advanced medication facilities, they can only play doctors of their own. The only remedy for their unending sickness was the cherry-like fruits from plants that they found nearby the forest. They will pluck the fruits and leaves from the plant, dried in the sun and preserve it for later use.


When sickness comes knocking, they will roast the preserved dried fruits with ginger and meat (preferably: wild boar, monitor lizard, gem-faced civet and other edible wild animals found), boiled into clear soup and consumed it while it’s blazing hot. Thick clothing will then be worn following by covering up with blankets to stimulate sweat making the body temperature lower. After a good rest the sickness will be gone.


They were amazed on the fact that the fruits weren’t just a remedy for their frequent sickness but also serve as an energizing agent.  They were puzzled by this miraculous lifesaving fruit.

Throughout the British Colonial period, all tin mines and rubber estates in Malaysia belongs to the British. One day in a tin mine, the owner was diverted by a strong coffee aroma during his monitoring walk. Without hesitation he demanded for a taste of what he thought was a local-made coffee but the tin mine ‘kepala’ (overseer in Malay) brought the miraculous soup instead.


After a long-winding explanations and translations, the owner examines the base contents of the boiled soup and discovered coffee cherries in it. He explained to the tin miners that the miraculous fruit is in fact coffee cherry from coffee plant. From that day onwards, the tin miners were taught on the process of making a coffee drink.

History of Ipoh White Coffee and Black Coffee

After sun-drying the coffee cherries, skins are detached to obtain the coffee beans (also known as coffee seeds). After roasting the coffee beans, comes the grinding process, adding on with sugar and hot boiled water brewed to a perfect cup of rich and aromatic coffee drink. To them, the coffee isn’t just good in taste but also energizing, keeping sickness ashore and making the tin miners more productive, marking the born of local coffee culture.


In order to work in a more productive way, lots of coffees were consumed by the tin miners. Since the coffee beans were limited, they preserved the limited beans by roasting the coffee beans into condensed and sticky black coffee together with boiled sugar which becomes caramel.


Blending both together comes the Sugary Coffee ‘Tong Gao Ga Fei’ (In Cantonese pronunciation, Gao means sticky or stir) which were named ‘Ka Feh Gao’, ‘Ka Feh Wu’ or ‘Hak Ka Feh’ meaning Black Coffee.


Another term which is ‘Ka Feh Wu Gao’ were used when more sugar syrup were added into the roasted beans which makes it more dark.  At that era, when the term ‘Gao Gao Ka Feh Wu’ were used, it means concentrated black coffee.


All of the tin miners were in love with the coffee and as time goes by, coffee became part of their daily must-drink. Since the Chinese migrants were scattered all around the employment industry, black coffee were spread to all corners of Malaysia, making the beverage as Malaysia’s specialty drink.

History of White Coffee

The Beginning

To understand the history of White Coffee, one should know that the culture-based history of White Coffee is indivisible with British Coffee.


At the peak of the colonial period, countless Chinese migrants came to the local in hopes of seeking employment in the industry which leads to most of them being hired as butlers for British families, thus the very first beginning of coffee sensing and taste.


The beginning of White Coffee: Butler is in charge of daily meals of a household. Preparing coffee is a must as coffee is the ideal drink to the British. When a master demand for a cup of coffee with milk: the term 'White Coffee' would be uttered. Whereas for a cup of black coffee: the term 'Black Coffee' takes place. Little by little, those who works as a butler starts to hone their English language.

During World War II where Malaysia was under Japanese occupation, most of the British went back to their homeland resulting many of the then butlers, including the first founder of our company, Mr. Cheow, losing employment.


From Batu Gajah, Mr. Cheow went all the way to Paloh, which is now popular as Ipoh Town to seek new routes of employment. The 'Open-Air' market along Kinta River was where Mr. Cheow sold his first coffee by utilising only a wooden cart. With his background at the British in coffee making, brewing a tasteful aromatic coffee isn't as hard but to meet the locales choice of black coffee (coffee with caramel), Mr. Cheow decided to combine the recipe of real British Coffee together with the local-liked coffee, and thus the White Coffee is born.


After much trials, he comes to a formulation of combining local coffee beans with some sugar, grinding it to coarse texture and mixing it up with condensed milk along with boiled water, came the aromatic and rich coffee.


He then literally translated the means of coffee with milk as 'White Coffee' (‘Bai Ka Fei’ in Chinese) which is the signature drink of the time. Whereas for a cup of coffee without milk is 'Black Coffee', also known as 'Kopi-O'. From here, Mr. Cheow became the legendary coffee maker in history. His coffee business was growing and gaining recognition day by day, hence the name, Uncle White ('Bai Su' in Chinese) or Brother White was named by the locales but as time goes by, his real name was long forgotten.


In those days, lives were tough for the Chinese to be hired as employees. Many of them went to Uncle White for advice on the White Coffee business.


Uncle White shared every details of the great cup of White Coffee without hesitation and lends a helping hand to those in need by supplying his own roasted White Coffee and Black Coffee. From there, the locales were able to taste the great cup of local White Coffee and Mr. White, the first founder of White Coffee and making the White Coffee well known to the world.


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