Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Brunei

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Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Brunei, offering insights and tips for navigating the local coffee scene. Emphasizing the article's relevance to expats seeking to immerse themselves in Brunei's coffee traditions and customs.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

One of the best ways to fully understand and appreciate coffee in Brunei is to understand where it comes from. While many coffee varieties are imported into the country, locally grown Robusta and Arabica beans are also popular. The main coffee-producing areas include Tutong, Belait, and the Temburong district. If you're interested in exploring coffee plantations and farms firsthand, check out the Tasek Merimbun Coffee Farm in Temburong.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Brunei offers an array of coffee styles and blends that cater to various tastes. Here's a quick summary of some of the most popular coffee drinks in Brunei:

  • Traditional Brews: Locally prepared coffee varieties include kopi o, which is brewed using palm oil, and kapuas hitsau, brewed using coffee cherries. Both are enjoyed hot or iced.
  • Specialty Blends: Specialty coffee blends such as coffee-flavored mojitos and milk-based coffee beverages, e.g., latte, cappuccino, are also enjoyed by locals
  • Popular Coffee Beverages unique to the region: One of the most unique coffee drinks in Brunei is the kopi susu –milk coffee-- which is a favorite among the locals. Made by combining condensed milk and coffee, it becomes rich, thick, and caramelized.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is more than just a beverage in Brunei; it is deeply ingrained in the country's culture and traditions. Understanding and respecting these customs will go a long way in helping expats navigate Brunei's coffee culture:

  • Embrace local customs: Coffee is often served in settings other than cafes, such as during tea ceremonies or with meals. Observing how locals drink coffee can help expats to understand how it is part of their daily routines, and these practices are essential to the overall coffee culture.
  • Coffee Etiquette: Sharing coffee in Brunei is a sign of friendship, and it is common for locals to offer guests coffee, often served in small clay cups. It's essential to drink the coffee offered as a sign of respect.
  • Cafe Culture: Brunei offers a variety of cafes to choose from for those who want to indulge in a more traditional coffee experience. Places such as Caffe Bene, Tima Coffee, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offer both traditional and modern coffee experiences.


Coffee's universal appeal transcends borders, uniting expats and locals through shared experiences. Brunei's distinctive coffee culture offers a myriad of unique and rich experiences. Embracing the coffee styles, traditions, and customs in Brunei will present an opportunity for the expat community to immerse themselves in the country's rich customs and traditions. We encourage expats to indulge in Brunei's distinctive coffee culture as a gateway to connecting with Brunei's authentic cultural experiences.