Recipe to make filter kaapi: How to make South Indian filter coffee

Kumbakonam Degree Kaapi

I also have three traditional coffee filters jostling for space in my over-crowded cabinets. Just that I'm not an extremely well-planned person and I can't wait for the coffee to percolate in the morning, when I want my caffeine fix in a hurry. Also, my decoction would always be too watery, so much so that I could easily pour half a cup of decoction into half cup of milk and still it would never be as 'strong' as I'd like it to be.

I observed Mom-in-law's technique when she was here and it was some serious technique. Seriously good coffee in the end. That's how I make my coffee nowadays and I make sure if I want that coffee fix in the morning, I get out my percolator the previous night. Other days it's good old tea. Not that I love tea any less.

Some of the equipment you can use to prepare a good coffee decoction:

Traditional South Indian Coffee Filter
Electric Coffee Maker
Stove top espresso maker

Mom-in-law's Filter Kaapi

-You'll need a traditional percolator

-Coffee powder-Well, I'm not the girl to buy coffee beans and grind it fresh. Store bought coffee powder is just fine. A fine grind is used with a small percentage of chicory mixed in. Mom-in-law's brand of choice is from Vimala Coffee works in Chennai. In Bangalore, Kalmane's Koffee does a good job of roasting and grinding beans.

~Use a clean filter. Remove the lid and umbrella. Put 2 heaped Tbsp of coffee powder per person and press it down with a spoon. Keep the umbrella back and gently pour fresh water brought to a rolling boil over the umbrella in the top container.

~The water will percolate down slowly depending on the quantity of powder placed. 6-8 tbsp of coffee powder will take the decoction almost 6-8 hours to collect at the bottom. (So it's better done at night, to have your morning cuppa). If you've put a lot of coffee powder, you wouldn't have a chance to put enough water to percolate resulting in very concentrated but less quantity of decoction at the bottom. In this case once the decoction collects below, you can add more boiling water at the top to collect the concentrate 2-3 times.

~Just remember that the consequent collections wont be as concentrated as the earlier ones. You might want to collect the entire lot and mix it together to get an even concentration of the whole lot of decoction in the end.

To prepare coffee: In a tumbler (traditional steel glass) or a mug, fill milk to fill 3/4th of the glass and add decoction with constant stirring to make a coffee to suit your liking, mild or strong. Add sugar if you wish. Enjoy the aroma as you take a sip of Madras culture.

In my opinion, filter kaapi must be drunk in a traditional tumbler-davaraa, and the coffee swished a couple of times between the two to produce delicious foam (norai) on the top. I don't think my mom-in-law approves of this though. The disadvantage being the coffee getting cold while swishing it around ;) It is called Meter-Kaapi in someUdupi hotels as the coffee is poured into the glass from a meter's height to produce maximum foam

This is a description of how the coffee is made at my in-laws' place, and it makes a terrific cup of coffee. You can also try the instant electric coffee percolators or the stove top coffee maker, which give you the decoction fairly quickly and you don't have to wait for long to get your hands around that perfect tumbler of filter kaapi.

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