South Indian coffee, also known as Kaapi, is known for its rich and aromatic flavors.
Here’s how to make a great cup of Kaapi:
Coarsely ground coffee beans (usually a blend of Arabica and Robusta)
Fresh, cold water
Milk (usually full-fat)
Sugar (optional, to taste)
A South Indian coffee filter (known as a “dabarah”)
Coffee grounds holder (upper chamber)
Coffee decoction container (lower chamber)
A saucepan or vessel to heat milk
A stovetop or hot plate
Prepare the Coffee Decoction: The essence of South Indian coffee lies in the coffee decoction. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee to the upper chamber of the coffee filter. Tamp it down lightly; you don’t want it too tightly packed.
Place the upper chamber over the lower chamber.
Boil Water: In a separate saucepan, heat water until it’s boiling. Use approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the total water capacity of the lower chamber.
Filtering the Coffee: Slowly pour the hot water into the upper chamber filled with coffee grounds. Allow the water to drip through the coffee and into the lower chamber. The process is slow, and it may take a few minutes for all the water to pass through the coffee grounds.
The result is a rich, strong coffee decoction in the lower chamber.
Heat the Milk: While the coffee is filtering, heat the milk in a saucepan. You can froth it if you like, but it’s not traditional in Kaapi.
Prepare the Kaapi: In a traditional Kaapi tumbler, pour some coffee decoction, typically filling it to about 1/3 or 1/2 full.
Add hot milk, filling the tumbler. The milk can be adjusted to your taste, making it milder or stronger.
If desired, add sugar to taste and stir well. South Indian coffee is known for being strong, so adjust sugar accordingly.
Serving: Serve your Kaapi hot. The traditional way is to cool it down by pouring the coffee back and forth between the tumbler and a small container a few times to create a frothy layer on top.
Enjoy your South Indian Kaapi, a flavorful and aromatic coffee that’s unique to the region. It’s often accompanied by crispy snacks like “vadai” or “murukku.”