Blast to the 1950s…… Butter Coffee (Kopi Gu You), Singapore Style at Heap Seng Leong

Ever since I decided to start my heritage trail to find the old school style coffee shops from Thailand to Malaysia to Singapore, I believed I had found another of the last traditional coffee shops, with a buttery twist.

Enter… Kopi Gu You.

You ask me, what is that? Literally, it means a small slab of butter on  your coffee black with condensed milk at the bottom.

If you had read one of my much earlier post on ‘Possibly the last traditional Thai coffee shop in Bangkok, Eiah Sae’, this will be more of the Singapore representation.

How did this come about? Nobody seems to really know where it originates from, but in ancient history, from Ethiopia to Tibet to a scene from a Korean thriller drama IRIS, where the captor gave the captive a cup of hot coffee with melted butter. My only guess is, in ancient times, the Ethiopians add butter for a more flavorful taste; where for Tibet and even Korea, its more for warmth and lesser of the taste.

In Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, I was always told coffee beans  roasted with butter always produce a superb aroma which goes into the brew itself. So imagine, if you had butter roasted coffee beans, grinded and brewed, and topped another mini slab of butter,you will get a double shot goodness of ‘Kopi Gu You’!

I daresay Heap Seng Leong is the only Singapore traditional coffee shop that still lives in its time capsule (1950s), minus the plastic chairs! Also, they are the only one that offer kopi gu you at a pocket friendly price of S$1.10 (A normal cuppa coffee will cost you about 90 cents to a dollar)

This coffeeshop has only 2 stores; a noodle/carrot cake store, and the famous kopi gu yu store.

Do not expect a handsome or pretty barista to serve you. You will need to go up to the ‘senior coffee master’ to make your order of coffee, bread, eggs etc. This store is manned by a father and son team.

Forget about the ‘hygiene issue’. No gloves worn, just superbly skilled hands that retrieves the boiling water, pouring into the long flask after the coffee powder had been sitting in the long socks in the flask for a while. Out comes the fabulous black brew.


With some condensed milk at the bottom, the brew will be poured into the cup, and the magical moment… butter comes dropping into the hot brew and served to you.

Do admire the butter as it melts before you stir and drink this fabulous brew!

There is nothing to shout about the bread, kaya and butter. Just the usual fluffiness, chewy and satisfying feeling with complimented with kopi gu you. ????

No ratings to be given today; as this is one of a kind….. come have it while the store still stands…. in its 1950s glamour!

The address to this heritage coffee shop:-

Blk 10 North Bridge Road, #01-5109
Opening hours: 4 am to 8 pm daily