India's Favourite Drink: The Origin Story of Filter Coffee
Info (Amala Earth)
Aug 02, 2023

Very few things are better than the whiff of an extra strong fresh filter coffee. This coffee variety goes beyond daily beverages and offers a wholesome experience. With an unbeatable taste, filter coffee is South India's pride and joy. However, its origin is beyond this region. If you are a coffee lover and haven't heard about this fascinating beverage, we have got your back.

Let's help you learn about filter coffee origin and everything else you need to know about this traditional Indian coffee.

History and Origin Of Filter Coffee

The history of filter coffee can be traced back to the 16th century. During that time, coffee was not a regular beverage choice. It is believed that Baba Budan, a Sufi, brought coffee beans to India. He managed to sneak precisely seven coffee beans on his way back to India after his pilgrimage from Mecca. Some say he hid the beans in his beard, while others believed they were wrapped around his belly. During his return, he settled in Chandragiri Hills in Chikmagalur, a city in Karnataka, India.

Here, he planted those coffee beans and began coffee cultivation. It was in the 20th century that coffee gained popularity in other South Indian states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. The popularity resulted from the brewed coffee mixed with milk and sweeteners like honey or jaggery. This way, the South Indian filter coffee or "filter kaapi" as we know it today, gained significance.

With this surge, coffee reached other parts of India and raised a need for coffee commercialisation. It resulted in coffee plantations across India, but the central hub remained in the Southern Part.

Brewing Using The Indian Coffee Filter

You will need the Indian filter with two compartments for your filter coffee preparation. The ground-roasted coffee is put down with hot water in one compartment. The decoction or the concentrated liquor resulting from boiling the coffee is collected in the second compartment.

The traditional method is to consume the filter coffee in a tumbler and dabarah. The dabarah is used to cool down the coffee and add a creamy texture by constantly pouring the coffee back and forth from tumbler to dabarah. Filter coffee remains a significant part of the South Indian culinary heritage and is one of the region's many charms.

Secret Behind The Authentic Filter Coffee

Before finding the perfect filter coffee recipe, you must know a few secrets. The method used to roast the beans differentiates an average coffee from an extraordinary one. Roasting the Indian filter coffee beans on a skillet is not enough. They were traditionally roasted in closed cylinders that ensured the perfect flavour. However, you don't need these traditional cylinders to roast the beans right. You can find numerous famous filter coffee brands that offer the traditional taste.

However, remember to follow the below filter coffee brewing process to experience the refined taste.

  • Fill half the percolator in your brewer with coffee powder.
  • Pour boiling water inside the filter and place the lid to keep the aroma and flavour intact.
  • Remember, the decoction will always be hot.
  • Add milk and your preferred sweetener for a warm sip.

If you want to use the morning decoction in the evening, do not warm it directly or after blending it with milk. Transfer the decoction to a small vessel and place it in a boiling water container. It will ensure the liquor warms without losing its original flavour.

Another secret is the slight details that lie behind the coffee-drinking style. Skip the fancy mugs and grab the dabarah set comprising a tumbler and a dabarah for the right froth.

Bottom Line

Takeaway -

  • The history of coffee can be traced back to the 16th century when Baba Budan brought coffee beans to India and planted them in Chikmagalur, Karnataka.
  • Coffee gained popularity in South Indian states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala in the 20th century.
  • Filter coffee is traditionally consumed using a tumbler and dabarah for an unbeatable taste.

From the distinct ground coffee powder aroma to the way it is poured in traditional containers, the filter coffee holds a special place in the world of coffee lovers. This coffee variety has been boosting parts of South India for centuries, with its branches spreading to the entire country. So, how about brewing a cup of filter coffee and experiencing its authentic taste?

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