The beans. Local kopi uses robusta while the Western type coffee uses Arabica. Also, the roasting technique is very different. Local kopi roasts with margarine, salt and sugar which gives local kopi an aromatic, sweeter smell and taste. Also, there is an almost oil-lier after taste which is from the margarine.
The Hainanese. Most Hainanese where working with the British on their ships and many were cooks or doing something related to food. They came up with the sock filter technique because they had no access to brewing appliances and improvised with the “sock” filter. The kopitiam kopi locals have grown fond of today of adding sugar, condensed milk and evaporated milk is also from the early Hainanese kopitiam owners.
No one! Everyone doing this is in their fifties and sixties. The youngest being in his late forties. For the pay we get, many younger ones have alternatives. How many people you know want to be in this hot, sweaty, sooty environment all day?