While the Italians might have taken over the world with their Lattes, Espressos and Cappuccinos in the spotlight, India has its own brand of delicious coffee to offer. The filter coffee of South India is arguably one of the most satisfying drinks in the world, and like all good coffee, it makes art out of the aroma and bitterness of the coffee bean.
Coffee is actually not native to India, and was brought to Karnataka some time in the 17th century. A total of 7 Coffee beans were smuggled back to India from Yemen, where there were restrictions on transporting green coffee beans so that the traders there could maintain a monopoly of it. Accelerated by the enthusiasm of the British during their rule, plantations were then set up all over South India in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
One of the things that makes South Indian filter coffee so special is that it is a product of more than 200 years of experimentation with the coffee bean.
The making of South Indian Coffee
South Indian filter coffee is made using a special two-chambered coffee filter that is used to create a strong coffee decoction. The filter brews the coffee in boiling water until the decoction is released from the upper chamber into the lower chamber. The decoction is so strong that using just one or two tablespoons is enough to make a full cup of coffee.
Once the decoction has collected, it must be added to hot milk using a special two tumbler system. Typically the tumblers are made of stainless steel and are of different sizes. One of them is called a Dabrah, which is short and wide, while the other is a normal tall tumbler. One holds the decoction while the other holds the milk, and they are poured repeatedly into each other until the two have fully mixed.
The pouring process produces the signature bubbly foam at the top of the tumbler and that is how it is served. South Indian filter coffee is served with both tumblers, amongst which the tall tumbler is placed inside the wide one. The reason for this is that the coffee is served plain,