Your first time ordering coffee in Singapore?

Jul 30 2018

Kopi C Siu Dai Ping

Teh O Kosong

That’s how you order coffee Singapore.

I created this app to take coffee orders on my last day at work.

I thought it’ll be a great idea for foreigners to order coffee the local way too.

During my first year in Singapore, taking tea-time orders was confusing.

Instead of importing a foreign word like ‘latte’, we decided to mix Hokkien, Chinese, Malay, and English.

What’s Siu Dai?

What’s O and C?

Yet, it was music to my ears.

Sit in front of a coffee stall and watch people ordering. Any sign generation gap disappear at that moment.

App main page

All the possible combinations

The process started by writing out all the possibilities. Ice, milk, different type of milk…

To maintain a minimalist design, I’ve used only buttons to build your coffee.

The animation and color changes are intuitive to show what each button does.

To help foreigners, I’ve created a button at the bottom which translates all the buttons from Singlish to English.

Singlish to English

Where do I store your order? AirTable

Place your order

Through my experience of prototyping, AirTable is a joy to use as a database. It’s free for up to 1,000 rows and it looks like Excel.

You can copy & paste from your Excel. A data entry assistant can work on it without any knowledge of database.

The part I like most is the ability to read or write to the database via API, i.e. developer friendly.

In this coffee app, I’ve created a ‘confirmation screen’ that asks for your name. And the ‘Place Order’ button triggers a POST request via the AirTable API that looks something like this:

AirTable database for coffee app

What would I improve on

A specialized take-away coffee shop would be keen in using this minimalist ordering concept.

This would require a functionality to notify users that their coffee is ready for collection. A chatbot would be a good way to notify users.

The coffee cup could have been drawn to resemble a local coffee cup. I would also love to see the cup change when I select iced coffee.

In production, there would be more drinks on the menu. A separate screen would work for non-coffee or tea orders.

On the database side, we’d log more information e.g. time of order, time completed, and user contact.

Tech Stack

Front-end: Vue.js

Back-end: AirTable as database