February 01, 2017

South Indian Filter Coffee

Share with friends and family

The charm,flavor and taste of freshly brewed Filter Coffee cannot beat any of the instant coffee brands in my opinion. Though the process is slightly lengthy to prepare a cup of coffee,but its worth all the effort.

South Indians  especially Tamilians are filter coffee lovers and the common scene in the early morning in most households would be the men folk reading the Daily newspaper ; HINDU or The Times of India to be precise and the women folk religiously handing over the cup of filter coffee mostly known as KAAPI (south indian phonetic rendering of COFFEE) to their better halves.

Quick Introduction to filter coffee : The art of mixing freshly boiled milk to athick decoction obtained by brewing best quality finely ground coffee powder in a traditional coffee filter or the Percolator .

Coffee Powder
The coffee powder is  made by using the best coffee beans ; by medium roasting and fine grinding and blend with either 20% or 30% roasted chicory powder.
Arabica and Robusta are the most widely used coffee bean varieties. 
Chicory gives slight thickness to the brew and an added flavor.

The traditional coffee filter OR the percolator  can be used to prepare the decocotion. Both of them have 2 segments in common

Decoction Pot - this is where the decoction is collected
Coffee powder holder - this is where we put the required amount of coffee powder.

1) Coffee Filter 

         ©Sweet Spicy Tasty©
Dismantled Coffee Filter

This is a slow brewing technique by pouring hot water over the coffee powder and by drip mechanism the decoction is collected in the pot below. 
We press the coffee powder using the stem disc /plunger for even dripping of decoction when hot water is poured. 

2) Percolator

©Sweet Spicy Tasty©
Dismantled Percolator

In this mechanism,the entire set up is placed on the stove top for decoction brewing.
In the water pot we fill in water little below the nozzle(used as steam vent) and 
the coffee powder is put in the coffee powder holder and as the water boils the decoction is brewed into the top chamber through the tube like structure seen in the coffee powder holder.

©Sweet Spicy Tasty©

The coffee is generally served in the traditional  DABARAH/ DAVRA TUMBLER as against the modern Coffee Mugs .
The DAVRA is similar to the saucer to help hold the piping hot TUMBLER filled with coffee . 

How to get the froth on top ?

Fresh Frothy Filter coffee

Froth is typically achieved by pouring the coffee back and forth between the dabarah and tumbler using your hands. This mechanism helps the sugar to mix evenly and also cools down the drink to sipping temperature enhances the flavor by even aeration of the mixture.

 The perfect art of making this filter coffee was passed on to me by my Mom and today I shall be presenting the same to you. 

Prep Time : 5 mins
Serves : 3 

7 tsps Best quality Filter coffee powder  
Coffee filter or Percolator
2.5 cups of Hot milk
Sugar as per your taste

Tip : Approximately 2tsp of coffee powder is needed to brew coffee for one person for medium strong flavor.

Percolator method :
  • Fill the water pot till the nozzle.
  • place the coffee pot on it and fill it with coffee powder. Level it using a spoon. Thread the decoction pot carefully on it and place it on the stove on low flame.
  • In about 5-6 min you can get the aroma of brewing coffee and the sound of steam escaping from the vent.
  • The top chamber gets fresh decoction brewed. Turn off the stove when the hissing sound ceases .
  • Donot let the decoction boil.It will induce bitterness to the decoction.
  • Transfer the decoction into a glass or air tight bottle.
Coffee Filter.
  • Place the coffee powder holder over the decoction pot and lock it properly.
  • Put in the desired amount of coffee powder in the top chamber and place the stem disc.Donot press it too hard.
  •  fill it with hot water till 3/4th of the chamber.
  • Water should just begin to bubble and not boil vigorously. 
  • Add a spoon of sugar after pouring the water.  The sugar will caramelize in the heat and give a nice color and glaze to the decoction.  This is purely optional .
  • The decoction will start dripping slowly. It will take about 20 mins to get collected 
How to make Coffee?
Take a davra tumbler set, fill 1/4th of the tumbler with the decoction,add sugar and pour hot milk over it from a slight height. This is automatically create mild frothing over the milk.
Enjoy your cuppa coffee :-)
Tip - before pouring the milk into the decoction mix it well by pouring it back and forth from one vessel to another.  This will prevent the formation of cream/malai on the top and give a good froth. 

Notes : 
  • The balance decoction can be stored in an airtight glass bottle and re-used but donot store for more than one day. It loses its taste.
  • Coffee powder brands:
    • Those living in Chennai and Bangalore can get Cafe Coffee Day's UltraRich (80% coffee-20% chicory blend) from the Fresh and Ground Outlets . 
    • Mumbai people can try the coffee powder from Mysore Concerns,Matunga.Tried and tested in our household till date .
    •  Cothas Coffee powder from Karnataka is another option which is available even in Indian Stores in USA.
    • Chennai and other cities in TN have various other famous brands like LEO,Narasus etc whose flavor I am told is equally good.
    • You can visit the Cafe Coffee Day's [CCD] coffee shop and ask for Perfect Roasted Ground Coffee powder (80-20)
  • Coffee filter can be purchased from any utensils shop. there are various sizes avaible to cater to your need.
  • This percolator I purchased from the Cafe Coffee Day outlet. You may try in your local area outlet as well.
DISCLAIMER : I am not endorsing any brand  of coffee powder/coffee filter/percolator here. I am just helping the readers to have an access to the coffee powder brands in the market.

Pin it up 

How to brew the perfect cup of filter coffee ? ,percolator method to brew south indian filter coffee,  घर में फिल्टर कॉफी,  फिल्टर कॉफी,  मद्रासी कॉफी,  what is a plunger in coffee filter , how many spoons of coffee powder should we use to get thick decoction


  1. Amazing! Tried it the way you put forth and finally I succeed in making the authentic kaapi..! Thanks a ton!

  2. Hey, such an amazing share. I loved to read this information. Thanks for sharing this awesome one article. I shared here best coffee powder for cold coffee. Visit Once.

  3. Priya, your post has me now craving for some authentic South Indian filter coffee.. love it so much. I like the one with chicory in it. Next trip to Bangalore definitely investing the the traditional kappi maker and the dabarah. I remember seeing it for the first time at a fast food restuarant and was totally amazed how people poured the coffee to cool it.

  4. Being a South Indian, I can vouch the love for filter coffee. We have coffee once these days but it has to be filter coffee. Nice post Priya.

  5. Tambrahm households swear by Filter kaapi! great tips to make a great cup there. As for souls like me, I can make a good cup even if i don't drink kaapi or chai :-)


If you feel your search for the recipe ends here and this blog has helped you with that,please do drop in a word / suggestion ,which will motivate me further to help you guys !!