Monday, July 18, 2016

Filter Coffee ~ A Cultural Icon of South India.

“Filter Coffee” is a cultural Icon of South India. Hot Filter (Decoction) Coffee which goes by the name “Kaapi” is one of the most Favourite Beverage of Amchies / South Indians .....

“Filter Coffee” is a cultural Icon of South India. Coffee which goes by the name “Kaapi” in GSB / Konkani Saraswat houses is a hot drink prepared by brewing coarsely ground coffee powder available in market to which later milk and sugar are added The name itself is enough for most of the South Indians to lift their head up and try to inhale the aroma of the freshly brewed filtered coffee. 

Though I am not a diehard fan of coffee, actually, I prefer Tea, I have included this in my Blog as my husband, my dear Mom and all my sisters simply love their hot steaming cup of Coffee and I used to be fascinated just looking at them enjoy their coffee with great relish. Therefore, I always felt there was something in it, which made them crave for this steaming hot drink and enjoy it. However, everybody loves the coffee I prepare for them, rather they always demand me to make some freshly brewed filter coffee for them every time they drop in especially my eldest sister. Therefore, I guess I am a good coffee maker though not a adherent coffee drinker. Coffee is also prepared by adding finely ground coffee powder to boiling hot water and straining it after some time. However, filtered coffee is the best one that is always in demand for more. 

There are many types of devices used for filtering the coffee. The oldest one being two cylindrical cups, which have removable parts, the top one of which has a bottom with several minute holes. The coffee powder is added to this and topped with hot water and covered. The filtered coffee drains into the 2nd cylindrical cup attached below. It takes some time for the coffee to be filtered through the minute holes into the other vessel below. Then there is the similar type of pot shaped brewer ie kettle shaped, which has also similar type of removable parts. 

Then again with changing of times came the percolator type of brewer, which could be kept on gas flame. I have used this intensively during the early years of my marriage. This however works a bit differently. This too has two removable parts. Water is poured into the bottom vessel, which has a detachable funnel which has a cover of plate with tiny holes. You add the powder here and then the other top vessel which has a filter within it, is joined to the lower one. This is kept on the gas flame. The water boils, then passes through the funnel, then the powder and then finally gets filtered into the top vessel. This method also gives you a very good decoction of the coffee.

Nowadays we get electric coffee percolators, which are very good and easy to use. Coffee decoctions can be prepared in a moment using them. I am sure many of you are aware of the same. I am posting pictures of the percolators that are used in my house. You can choose anyone of them suitable to you or use anything that is available in the market. 

The result of freshly brewed coffee is generally much stronger than that of the instant coffee or for that matter coffee prepared with finely ground coffee powder. Traditionally, the coffee is prepared by boiling the freshly brewed coffee decoction and then adding to it the required amount of boiled milk. Say at least 1- 2 tablespoon of milk for one cup of coffee. Sugar is then served as per one’s requirement. Some like it sweet and some like it without sugar too. Therefore, the quantity of sugar depends on individual’s taste.

** How to make Filter Coffee ... ie how to go about the process of preparing the Decoction / Black coffee .... Here is my way of preparing coffee ... and I humbly add my frds and family say I do make the best coffee for a person who does not drink it ... and always in demand ... 

I use electric filter coffee machine ... I add about 1 heaped cup of decoction coffee powder in the sieve part over the vessel where there is a drain for the decoction to pass ... check the picture below ... and add about 750 ml of water into the water holder which passes water after boling onto the coffee powder put in sieve ... If the size is smaller and does not hold that much water you can always add on again and repeat the process. Collect the deccoction that will pass through the sieve. If water is more, it may overflow, so you have to keep a check ... Remove the collected decoction into a thick stainless steel vessel. 

** Note :
You get three types of coffee powder in the market. One Decoction ie filter coffee powder which is coarse in texture. The second one is finer quality powder that can be directly added to boiling water and allowed to boil and then strained a bit. The third is instant where you just add on the powder and mix. Remember to buy coarse variety of powder for filter / decoction coffee preparation. It is stronger and the powder does not pass through the sieve which is not at all pleasant while drinking if it comes on the coffee. 

** Filter coffee or the decoction as we in south also call it is done separately and the milk added later on. So it is really easy. How strong you want the coffee to be is individual choice so is the sweetness ie addition of sugar. I have explained the method of preparing the decocotion ie black coffee above ... I make it very strong as though I do not drink coffee my husband loves it strong with more of milk to balance the same. So prepare the decoction as per the instructions on the coffee maker you have or as mentioned above as each machine has separate instructions and then pour it into a vessel and bring to boil. In another vessel bring milk to medium heat and then add the decocotion that much how much is necessary to bring to your desired taste. 

** Having said this I personally add about 1 cup of decoction coffee powder available in south indian stores to about 750 ml of water. which yields about half a liter of decoction.

Coffee should be served hot in steel tumblers in southern parts of India. For serving the coffee, it is poured with expertise from one tumbler to another keeping some distance so that while serving the coffee there is a thick forth on the top of the tumbler. This is actually aerating the drink, which somehow enhances its flavour.

Coffee aroma simply fills outs of every South Indian Homes especially in the early morning wee hours. I have to mention here that Coffee in the olden times used to be prepared adding jaggery / gur instead of sugar. This coffee too has its own distinct flavour and taste. Many people still follow this method. However, the urban cities have adapted to sugar. 

Coffee is served both during breakfast and tiffin times. Breakfast without coffee / tea is something unheard off anywhere in the world. Off course with changing times and dietary lifestyle people have adapted to new methods now. But a breakfast with coffee is always relished by one and all at some period of time. 

Coffee has left such an impact on all, that people have started having this flavour introduced into many items. Many prefer to have Cold coffee during the summer months, when the heat is unbearable. Coffee is also added to Ice creams and this is one of my favorite ice cream. Cakes are also flavoured with coffee. The list is endless for an innovative mind to introduce coffee flavour in different items. So I guess coffee has come a long way and is here to stay forever. 

Enjoy your Hot Coffee with Cookies during Monsoon and Winter with Cookies

Sometimes I like to have this Mangalore Benne Butter with Decoction Coffee for Breakfast or Tiffin ….. Actually I can have this any time.

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