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South Indian Filter Coffee

- Submitted by Dahlia on 23rd May 2016

(Kumbakonam Degree Coffee, Filter Kapi)

South Indian Filter Coffee

Coffee is one drink that is prepared in so many different ways in different countries. There are the cold coffee drinks and the hot coffee drinks. I’m sure we all must have tasted a few different coffees is coffee shops. For any South Indian, more than anything, a cup of ‘filter coffee’ will be the top choice anytime. 

Filter coffee is also known by different names like the Kumbakonam degree coffee, Madras kaapi or Mysore filter coffee. The coffee is said to taste best when made with thick full cream milk and freshly brewed strong decoction. That’s the reason for the name Degree Coffee i.e. coffee of the highest degree. At homes people also make coffee with second decoction which is not strong in flavor as the first one. This filter coffee cannot be called the degree coffee. I hope I am clear with the difference between filter coffee and degree coffee. On googling I found that the traditional Kannada name for filter coffee is Boondh Bisneeru, where bisi neeru translates to hot water.

At home most people stick to making Instant Coffee to save time. For those who are used to filter coffee, they can never enjoy anything else. 

What is needed?

The making of the South Indian filter coffee starts with freshly ground coffee beans. There are special coffee shops where the beans are ground fresh. One of my Tamil Brahmin friend gets ¼ kg of Peaberry, ¼ kg of Plantation A and 50 grams of Chicory ground together in a local coffee shop.  Her filter coffee is one of the best. In my house, we are just a few coffee drinkers. So I just buy a 100 gram packet of Narasus or Bru filter coffee and it lasts a month.

To prepare filer coffee you need a coffee filter. There is no other alternative to get the authentic taste. These days electric coffee filter is available. You can invest in one if you make large amount of coffee. The traditional coffee filter is what I have used below. It is also available in different sizes. Mine makes about a cup of decoction. This coffee powder has an upper part where we add the coffee powder and the hot water. There is a lower part where the decoction slowly drips and gets collected. There is a center disc, also called the filter umbrella which is added in the top part. This helps to brew a stronger decoction. 

Making Filter Coffee Making Filter Coffee

Once prepared, the filter coffee is traditionally served in brass tumbler and davara (or dabara). These days stainless steel tumblers or ceramic cups are used for serving.

Recipe For Making Filter Coffee

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes 
Serves: 2 

Ingredients

  • Coffee powder – 3 tbsp
  • Water – ¾ cup
  • Milk – 1.5 cup
  • Sugar – 2 tsp

Method

  1. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the coffee powder to the top part of the filter and place it over the lower part.
  3. Put the disc in place and add the boiling water.
  4. Put the lid and let the decoction drip slowly in the lower container. It will take anywhere between 10 minutes to half an hour for the decoction to get collected.
  5. In the meantime, boil the milk and simmer for few minutes.
  6. For serving, add sugar in each cup, add required amount of decoction and fill the tumbler with milk. You can add decoction depending on how strong you like your coffee.
  7. Make it frothy by pouring it back and forth in the tumbler and dabara. Enjoy it piping hot.

Tips

  • Some people make the filter in a large quantity and use it later. The taste of coffee with freshly brewed decoction is definitely much better. Also, some people make a second decoction with the same coffee powder. I do not personally like it as the decoction is not strong enough. An aunt in my apartment makes the first decoction and second decoction, mixes it up and then makes the coffee. That way the coffee is not too strong or mild.

South Indian Filter Coffee

Detailed Steps For Making Filter Coffee

Before adding the coffee powder it is a good idea to show the top part of the filter over direct flame. This will open up the holes in case anything is blocked and helps in brewing strong decoction.

Making Filter Coffee

Bring the water to a rolling boil.

Making Filter Coffee

Add the coffee powder to the top part of the filter and place it on the lower part.

Making Filter Coffee

Put the disc in place. This will even out the coffee powder. It will also slow down the hot decoction from dripping to the bottom container which helps in getting a strong decoction.

Making Filter Coffee

Add the boiling water to the top part of the filter.

Making Filter Coffee

Put the lid and let the decoction drip slowly in the lower container.

Making Filter Coffee

It will take anywhere between 10 minutes to half an hour for the decoction to get collected.

Making Filter Coffee

In the meantime, boil the milk. Reduce the heat and simmer for few minutes. This really enhances the taste of the coffee.

Making Filter Coffee Making Filter Coffee

For serving, add sugar in each cup, add required amount of decoction and fill the tumbler with milk. Usually the above measurement makes enough decoction for 2 or 3 cups of coffee. You can increase or decrease the quantity depending on how strong you like your coffee.

Making Filter Coffee Making Filter Coffee Making Filter Coffee

Make it frothy by pouring it back and forth in the tumbler and dabara. This froth, called norai in Tamil, is also an important aspect of filter coffee. Serve hot.

Making Filter Coffee Making Filter Coffee Making Filter Coffee

Serving Filter Coffee

Filter coffee is traditionally served in brass davara and tumbler set. Take tiny sips of this aromatic coffee and kick start your day.

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Comments (2)

Person sruthi   (September 28, 2016)
the early morning aroma makes my day, even outside india i dont hesitate to spend some extra time making milk and sugar filter coffee.i am currently using jayanthi coffee for almost 5 years, my friends get it to me from india which has 15% chikory.
Person Dahlia (S.I.R. Author)   (September 28, 2016)
I totally agree with you. Morning cup of aromatic coffee is a very personal experience that cannot be explained in words.

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