A quick guide to brewing South Indian filter coffee at home
The slogan, anything can happen over a cup of coffee holds true – especially in the case of a traditional South Indian filter coffee. Those with a taste and fondness for filter coffee would agree that no amount of cappuccino or latte would ever match up the simplicity of a filter coffee.
But the question arises, can it be prepared at home the way South Indian restaurants serve it? Of course, yes. Filter coffee is made by blending coffee decoction extracted from coffee blends with hot milk and sugar. This mixture is then vigorously poured from one glass to another to create froth, dissolve the sugar, and cool down the coffee, just enough to make it comfortable to consume.
For making the perfect cup of filter coffee, one of the few things you need is a perfectly brewed coffee decoction and a set of coffee filter utensils. Needless to say, it’s extremely important to use the right coffee powder (that is unlike the instant coffee powder) for filter coffee. A blend of Robusta and Arabica coffee beans – roasted and freshly ground – make for a great outcome. More than anything else, it is the roasting process of coffee beans that emits 80 per cent of the aroma. At the same time, there are people who prefer a bit of Chicory (ground and roasted wood plant) in their coffee to add a distinct aroma and colour. When it comes to the tools, it is advisable to use a filter made up of stainless steel or brass utensils with a stemmed disc and a lid. This not only gives the coffee a traditional taste but also preserves the aroma to the best extent.
To make that one perfect cup of filter coffee, you need to add two to three spoons of coffee powder in the top perforated container of the filter and position the stemmed disc in a way that it compresses the powder. The next step is to place the top container above the stemmed disc, but avoid pressing it completely as this may block the brewing process. Add about 1/3rd of hot boiling water to the upper portion of the filter. Leave the filter undisturbed for a few minutes so that the brewed coffee can drip into the cup.
During this time, remember to avoid stirring or shaking the coffee filter. Do not tighten the lid too much since it will be difficult to open later due to the accumulated steam. Hereon begins the process of assembling everything – the decoction, boiled milk, and sugar or jaggery. All that’s needed is a tumbler, in which, all the ingredients need to be added and mixed well until the sugar dissolves and froth generates over the edge of the glass. Take note that South Indians, overall, only put a teaspoon or less of sugar in the final beverage and prefer to consume it strong, sometimes darker than espresso!
Try making your own filter coffee at home and I bet, you’ll eventually master the art of it!