|Filter Kaapi - Picture by Mrigaank Sharma for A Pinch of This, A Handful of That|
My parent's office was right next door to a coffee shop - that sold fresh ground coffee. And required me to pass by the heady aroma of freshly roasted coffee every single day after school! But it was much later in my teens that I discovered this magic that was South Indian Filter coffee. I spent school holidays, making myself useful at the office. What this meant was that I would wake up, get dressed and travel with one of the parents to the office. Initially, like every new trainee, I would be given some mindless job to do, but that slowly changed to more serious work. Lunch was often "Idli Sambhar dubo ke" from Lalit restaurant, the Udipi establishment that did brisk business, just opposite. We asked for our idlis to come dunked in sambhar because we figured out we got more sambhar that way. We ate it with coconut chutney and washed it down with Filter Coffee - hot enough to sting after the spice from the meal.
The Filter Coffee would be delivered in a special pair of utensils. THe waiter would ritually pour the coffee back and forth through the two utensils. There would be a tumbler accompanied by a dabarah or 'davarah', a wide metal saucer with lipped walls. Traditionally to pour the coffee back and forth with arc-like motions of the hand to cool (its gained major swag as metre coffee now!) But that stuff was for experts! Novices like me settled for merely spinning the coffee around in the davarah to cool it. Which got one cool coffee, but without the thick layer of froth that formed on top from pouring it back and forth.
Ingredients (for 2 cups)
4-6 tbsp/ 60-90 g dark roasted Coffee Beans (70%-80%) ground with Chicory (20%-30%) Store bought coffee powder can be substituted (not instant coffee though!)