The herculean task that a majority of us face is the task of waking up in the morning. Not everyone is a morning person. A majority of us, South Indians have a key motivation that helps us wake up! Want to know what? It is nothing but a strong cup of freshly brewed filter coffee aka kaapi!
Filter Coffee, known by different names such as Madras Kaapi, Kumbakonam coffee, Mylapore Kaapi, is the one perfect coffee that has more value than a Starbucks coffee in South India, especially in my hometown, Chennai.
There might be many coffee houses like Barista, Costa Coffee, CCD, and Starbucks! But the hearts of a majority of South Indians lies in the Filter Kaapi! But what makes this cup of coffee so special? Read more to know why!
The Coffee Powder itself!
The coffee powder that is used for the decoction is a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. It is a 50-50 proportion. This mix of coffee beans is then finely grounded.
Apart from this, a little chicory is also added to this coffee powder. Chicory is a woody plant that is added to give the filter kaapi its aroma and brown color.
The amount of Chicory should not exceed 20-30% of the total mixture of coffee powder. So, to get the right blend, 80% of AB Plantation powder and 20% of Chicory is a must.
Strictly No Stirring!
One does not stir the milk and decoction to make the coffee!
It has to be mixed well by pouring it back and forth using the Dabara (the South Indian version of a saucer) and the tumbler (the South Indian version of the cup).
The process of pouring it back and forth ensures that the decoction mixes well with the milk and at the same time, you get the froth on top of the coffee, which adds to the visual and gustatory beauty!
The Milk Added to the Coffee!
Adding boiled milk to the decoction and then serving it is mainstream coffee. But, to make this cliche coffee into Filter kaapi, the magic ingredient used is a little unboiled fresh cow’s milk.
After you finish making a tumbler of filter kaapi, do not forget to add a little-unboiled milk to give the coffee its final taste. The unboiled milk added at the end gives a creamy layer on top of the coffee and at the same time increases the flavor of the decoction.
This is how we get to relish the taste of the decoction.
The Presentation Matters!
Ever seen anyone drink filter coffee from a cup and saucer? No!
The filter kaapi is served in a brass tumbler and Dabara. In many parts of South India, especially in the city of Kumbakonam of Tamil Nadu, coffee is always served in a brass tumbler.
We as Indians already know the importance of metals like Brass and copper which we extensively used for cooking and for serving food. It had health benefits attached to it.
But serving the filter kaapi in a brass tumbler does not have any scientifically proven health benefits as such. It is served purely to keep it warmer for a longer period because, warmer the kaapi, better is its taste.
For the uncles who relish their tumbler of kaapi with a newspaper, and for the aunties who take a short evening break with their friends over a cup of kaapi this extra warm is absolutely needed!
This is the coffee that helps students to wake up early during boards and help them revise theory subjects with a fresh mind, the coffee that South Indians enjoy with the AR Rahman melodies during the eagerly awaited rainy season in the hot cities in the South! And that is what makes the Filter Kaapi so unique!
Coffee is a beverage! Filter Kaapi is an emotion!
So readers who are yet to taste this emotion! Do try gate crashing into one of your South Indian friend’s house for a hot tumbler of filter kaapi! And for the readers who are fans of the filter coffee, comment your experiences with the filter kaapi!