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Indian Filter coffee refers to roasted coffee beans that have been ground and are used for coffee machines or traditional methods like drip coffee.
Most Indian coffee is grown in the Southern Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
While each of these states has its own distinct culture and language, the word KAAPI means coffee!
Filter coffee brewing involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds. Gravity then pulls the water through the grounds, facilitating extraction, and dispenses it into a mug or carafe placed below.
Without pressure to quicken the extraction, it takes more time and water to produce a rich, balanced mug.
The roasted coffee beans were ground, boiled with water and consumed after allowing the coffee sediments to settle at the bottom (This is how Turkish coffee is prepared even today!).
Subsequently, somewhere in South India, the Indian Filter Pot was invented to refine coffee extraction. All coffees made since then using an Indian Filter Pot came to be called Indian Filter Coffee.
Filter Coffee is one of the most popular South Indian breakfast beverages in restaurants and tiffin centres all over India.
Mysore filter coffee or Kumbakonam coffee, was a staple in South Indian households long before café chains serving lattes and mochas became fashionable in urban India.
The origin of the filter coffee, made from a mixture of coffee and chicory, is attributed to the French during India’s colonial past.
It is rumoured that in the early 17th century when coffee was in short supply, the French and Germans started blending chicory with coffee.
Some others believe that chicory, the roasted and ground root of a plant, was added for its medicinal properties and its use in coffee reduced the caffeine intake.
The new coffee turned out to be so flavoursome and popular that the French continued the chicory blend even after coffee became easily available.
World War II was the time when the Coffee Board of India was created to handle and control the coffee supply in India.
Indian filter coffee was popularised by the India Coffee Houses run by the Coffee Board of India in the mid-1940s.
It became the drink of millions after the emergence of more popular Indian Coffee Houses in the mid-1950s.
Historically, coffee drinking in India was part of the Upper-class Brahmins’ morning ritual. They preferred having their hot breakfast with hot coffee.
In an era when casteism was so prevalent in India, the lower castes were curious about the Upper-Class coffee drinking ritual. They replaced eating cold rice with having hot coffee in the morning.
Once religiously consumed as a morning drink, South Indian Filter Coffee/Kaapi now is relished anytime during the day and is liked by millions all over the world.
Typically filter coffee is served in a stainless steel tumbler and dabarah (container/cup) that is used to froth & cool the coffee.
But the speciality of the Indian Filter Coffee is the filtering device itself.
Although the concept of filter coffee is not exclusive to India, the end product obtained in the process is indeed exclusive.
The taste of Indian filter coffee is one of a kind, but other filter coffees are no less attractive.
Pour over coffee – The pour-over method of filtration has a distinct advantage over other coffee filtration methods, which are primarily immersive because the extraction of flavour is much better than that derived by the French Press or Siphon method.
French Press – The origin of the equipment is in Italy which patented the product in the early twentieth century. The French Press relies on the technique of immersion to complete the filtration process as opposed to the pour over process that relies on gravity as the coffee drips accumulate in the container.
Siphon Filter Coffee – The process consists of making a mixture of finely ground coffee beans in warm water and then siphoning out the water by using a tube under gravity so that the wet coffee ground stays behind. It results in imparting a unique aroma to the coffee that is not possible with any other methods.
Aero Press Coffee – The portable device made its first appearance in 2005 and is a speedier filtration method than the rest. The equipment has many similarities with the French Press, but the plunger is more powerful and exerts much higher pressure. It extracts the oils in the coffee ground that give a unique coffee flavour.
Indian filter coffee requires no accompaniment. But it goes very well with Idli, Dosa, Vada, Upma, Utthapam, Bonda and Paniyaram.
India’s tryst with coffee is said to have its origins in early 17th-century Karnataka.
Baba Budan, a Muslim saint from Chikmagalur, is said to have smuggled seven coffee beans from present-day Yemen while returning from Hajj, or a pilgrimage to Mecca.
At the time, it was illegal to transport green coffee beans out of the Arabian Peninsula as local coffee producers and traders wanted to preserve their monopoly.
However, Baba Budan not only managed to sneak them into India by hiding the beans in his beard but he was also able to plant them in the Chandragiri Hills of the Chikmagalur district, where they soon flourished.
The hills were named after him as Baba Budan Hills.
On International Coffee Day (celebrated on October 1), Taste Atlas released a list of the most popular coffee drinks in the world.
While the oh-so-popular Espresso bagged the first rank, India’s Filter Coffee also made it to the list by grabbing the 20th spot.
Indian filter coffee, also called South Indian coffee, is a preparation technique in which coffee is brewed with the use of an Indian coffee filter.
“This filter consists of two chambers—the upper one with a perforated bottom used to hold ground coffee and the bottom one in which brewed coffee is slowly dripped,” the description for the coffee on the TasteAtlas list read.