My first rendezvous with filter coffee, if my memory does not play the betrayal games on me, was when I was a kid whose mother would find herself in the company of her acquiescent son wherever she would go.
My recollection though not vivid to remember the finer nuances, but I have managed to hold on to the faint remembrances of those meetups. I can recall during one of our visits to an acquaintance who hailed from South of India and who I would address as “Aunty” offered me a cup of coffee.When she observed me in state of hesitation, she said, intending to make the offer more lucrative, “Filter Coffee”. I accepted the offer with some degree of curiosity thinking what was so great about a coffee. Being an initiate in the world of coffee, I thought- well, a coffee is a coffee is a coffee. That day, I was going to acquire my first lesson on coffee- a right coffee brewed in a right way is captivating enough to propel you on your feet and having you saunter in direction of that tantalizing aroma.
I hail from a family that finds its root in Northern part of India and so coffee was a foreign entity in my mother’s kitchen. We would often wake up to the wafts of “adarak wali chai”-ginger tea brewing in the kitchen and my idea of coffee till then had been the instant coffee which pales in comparison with the south Indian filter coffee.
My initiation in the world of filter coffee had created an enduring impression on me and would many years later make me a coffee fanatic.
I would in my earlier days, go out in search of an outlet that serves filter coffee, which can match up to the taste that still lingers on my taste receptors. However, in Mumbai and Pune, to my utter disappointment the coffee that would be served would leave me cringing with disgust. After many years of search I could find a place known as “Banana Leaf” – A restaurant serving flavors of Chennai, in Pune that serves filter coffee which lets me feel complete. With the discovery of this place, I was elated as it meant, I could have my poison, though not every day, but at least once a week.
Insatiability is a propensity of human race. As I had comforted myself with weekly dose of filter coffee, I felt an urge to have it every day. When this impulse grew strong enough to resist, I decided to learn the art of making filter coffee. Getting the initial knowledge pertaining to filter coffee was never difficult with internet being around. The real challenge lies in translating this abundance of knowledge into something meaningful. I started with acquiring filter coffee drip maker, which is an essential apparatus needed for making this version of coffee. Next step was procurement of right coffee powder and the owner of eatery “Banana Leaf” came to my rescue this time. He was more than helpful in explaining the finer nuances of coffee powder and was very forthcoming in sharing his coffee powder with me.
So having Robusta coffee powder and a drip maker I had my launch pad for my experiments ready. I, with no dearth of zeal went ahead collecting my first decoction and to my dismay, it turned out to be disaster. It was in no way close to what I have been drinking from past few months, and needed a complete revamp. I begin trying and taking mental notes of each of the trials intending to make a good cup of coffee. After several retrials I had failed and was clueless about the missing element when I got a pointer from the most unexpected sources. During one of our coffee table discussion in my office, my boss was thrilled to know about my recent coffee escapades and enquired about the chicory powder that I was adding to the coffee blend. Admittedly, I was stumped and now I could see a faintest ray of hope that could translate my dream of brewing a perfect cup of coffee at home a reality.
I began by reading about Chicory roots and by the end of the week I felt convinced that I had discovered the missing link. On the weekend, equipped with this new source of information I walked into the store asking him to make three different coffee blends for me that would combine Robusta and chicory in 3 different ratios, 70:30, 80:20 and 90:10.
Next few weeks I ended up making filter coffee from each of these blends and then it came to pass- I had acquired my magic potion. A cup of filter coffee brewed with the blend of Robusta and chicory combined in 70:30 ratio had dazzled my senses. My quest for Holy Grail had finally culminated.
If you love your cup of coffee more than anything else and want it to taste same every time you brew it, then you must apply yourself in your kitchen. It is an experiment that you must do on your own until you succeed. A cup of rightly brewed coffee is a testimony of your persistence and a dedication and take your time as you sip through your cup.
I hope this recipe gives you fair bit of ammunition that you need to begin with filter coffee but I would urge you to experiment and discover your final composition. Follow this recipe and share your feedback with us using the comment section below.
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Serves: 4 cups
- Filter Coffee drip maker
- 2 and ½ tbsp filter coffee powder
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 250 ml milk
- 125 ml water
- We will need a filter coffee drip maker.This can be procured easily from a retail shop or online shops. Stainless steel drip maker costs around 200-300 rupees and brass made costs around 600 rupees.Drip maker is composed of 3 parts lid, upper chamber and lower chamber. Coffee powder with hot water are added to the perforated upper chamber.The decoction gradually drips through and collects in the lower chamber which is used for making filter coffee.
- Coffee powder can be robusta or arabica. Robusta has higher caffeine content than Arabica. We are making use of Robusta. We have combined Coffee powder with Chicory in ratio 70:30.Chicory roots are baked and grounded and used as a substitute for coffee powder.Chicory powder enhances color and thickness of filter coffee.We use 70:30 ratio. For a 100 grams of coffee powder, combine 70 gram robusta and 30 gram chicory powder.You can increase or decrease chicory powder content to suit your taste.
- Put Coffee powder in the upper chamber.Cover the perforated chamber with coffee powder.
- Let's heat the water.Do not boil the water. As it begins to simmer,we will turn off the heat.
- Pour the water inside the chamber over coffee powder and cover with lid.
- It will take 10-12 minutes for decoction to collect in the lower chamber.Meanwhile heat the milk.
- Coffee decoction is ready.In a vessel, put sugar, milk and decoction. Mix the contents well.
- Pour the coffee into cups and pour some more decoction on top.
- Enjoy your morning with a cup of South Indian filter coffee.
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