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South Indian filter coffee


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Using the incredible power vested in me as official forum host of the Coffee & tea forum ( which is inconsequential at best :biggrin: ), I'm humbly asking for some input on a South Indian Filter Coffee thread that I just started. One of our newer members, geetha, recently posted and also exchanged a few PM's with me about sources for good Indian coffee in the US. This piqued my curiosity but I still have many questions as I'm always intrigued by preparation methods and coffee traditions that are new to me. Will appreciate any help you India experts may be able to offer on that thread. Thanks!

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I still have many questions as I'm always intrigued by preparation methods and coffee traditions that are new to me.  Will appreciate any help you India experts may be able to offer on that thread. Thanks!

South Indian Coffee

Traditional South Indian coffee is made with finely ground coffee beans. There are two types of it – with or without chicory. I prefer pure coffee. In my humble opinion light roast makes better south Indian coffee than dark roast.

It does not require any special equipment to prepare it. It is almost like Italian Latte, with sugar already added. The caramelized taste of our coffee comes from boiled milk mixed with sugar. Spicy Madras (or South Indian) coffee served at some Indian restaurants is something unheard of in South India. It is something like the generic "curry powder" which is not used in authentic Indian cooking.

8 teaspoons of very finely ground coffee

2 cups of boiling water

2 cups of whole milk

4 to 5 teaspoons of sugar (according to taste)

The authentic equipment for preparing this coffee is called decoction pot. But you don't have to run out get a decoction pot to make this coffee. A French coffee press is one alternative. Otherwise one can use a regular filter coffee pot.

The decoction pot is a cylindrical pot with two compartments. The bottom part is to collect the drip coffee. It is about the size of a 6 or 8 ounce glass. The second part that fits tightly over it has several tiny holes at the bottom. The third piece is a perforated disc with a metal handle attached at the center. To make decoction coffee place the upper compartment over the bottom one. Fill the top compartment with coffee powder and place the perforated disc on top. Push down slightly and tightly pack the coffee. Pour boiling water over the disc until the top compartment is full. Cover and set aside. Since the grind is very fine, it will take several minutes for the water to drip down. The coffee collected at the bottom half will be strong and flavorful. After all the water has dripped down, remove the top half and proceed as follows.

If using a regular filter coffee pot, place coffee filter over the pot and fill it with finely ground coffee. With the back of a spoon press it down so that it is packed as tightly as possible. Pour one cup of boiling water and let it drip. Repeat with the remaining cup of hot water. By pouring only one cup at a time, the water drips slowly and absorbs the full flavor of the coffee.

While the coffee is dripping place milk in a heavy bottomed pot and bring it to a boil. Remove from the stove when it starts bubbling and rises to the top. Stir in sugar. Pour dripped coffee over hot milk and stir. Your coffee is ready to enjoy. If you like a foamy top, hold the pot about a foot above the coffee cup and pour it slowly into the cup.

Ammini

Ammini Ramachandran

www.Peppertrail.com

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My knowlege of Filter Coffee is limited to what has been explained to me by my South Indian friends. But I understood that as the holes through which the Liqour filters are soo tiny it takes a few hours for the coffe to filter through,most in South India would start the process at night by adding the boiling water to the tamped grinds and collect the liqour in the morning. The rest is as Amini described it, boil milk or milk and water in your preffered ratio and add the filtered liqour to your desired strength.

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My knowlege of Filter Coffee is limited to what has been explained to me by my South Indian friends. But I understood that as the holes through which the Liqour filters are soo tiny it takes a few hours for the coffe to filter through,most in South India would start the process at night by adding the boiling water to the tamped grinds and collect the liqour in the morning. The rest is as Amini described it, boil milk or milk and water in your preffered ratio and add the filtered liqour to your desired strength.

Bhasin:

You are right. Most people in south India start the process of making decoction at night for the next morning. However, it does not take all night for the liquid to drip through. It is just matter of convenience. Just for making sure I am not saying this wrong, I ground coffee beans and made a batch of decoction. I added 8 tablespoons of finely ground coffee to the decoction pot and filled the top compartment with boiling water. I timed it and it took 25 minutes for one and a half cups of decoction to collect at the bottom compartment. Early in the morning when a south Indian wants his or her coffee 25 minutes or more is too long a wait. Making it overnight is more convenient.

edited for typos

Ammini

Edited by Peppertrail (log)

Ammini Ramachandran

www.Peppertrail.com

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I am very excited to see this thread! I know this style of coffee as Madras coffee which is served at one of the South Indian restaurants we go to. It is my favorite style of coffee and I always wondered how to make it at home. For those of you in the know, please share your knowledge: what brands of chicory-blended coffee would you advise? (I am in Seattle and have reasonable access to Indian groceries.) Also, I have both a French press and a stovetop moka pot. Which would work better?

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Gingerpeach:

For south Indian coffee some prefer coffee with chicory others without. I prefer pure coffee. I use light roast Gevalia coffee at home. Please grind the coffee very fine. Not the coarse texture used for drip coffee. My personal preference is light roast than dark roast. If you have French press, try using that first. When the coffee is very fine, it works very well. Don't forget to boil the milk first. It makes a lot of difference. Hope this helps.

Ammini

Ammini Ramachandran

www.Peppertrail.com

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Gingerpeach:

For south Indian coffee some prefer coffee with chicory others without. I prefer pure coffee. I use light roast Gevalia coffee at home. Please grind the coffee very fine. Not the coarse texture used for drip coffee. My personal preference is light roast than dark roast. If you have French press, try using that first. When the coffee is very fine, it works very well. Don't forget to boil the milk first. It makes a lot of difference. Hope this helps.

Ammini

Thanks for the tips, Ammini! I wouldn't have thought to boil the milk first (have been barely warming it up for the usual cup of coffee.)

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