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How To Make South Indian Filter Coffee At Home

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Image: Filter Kaapi*

About South Indian Filter Coffee

Umm.. Yumm...

Exactly the phrase I use every time I hear someone say "Filter Coffee". Oh it's not even Coffee, it's Kaapi!

It doesn't matter if you're a South Indian or not, hell you don't even have to be an Indian; but if you have ever come across this drink, I bet you can't forget about it and crave for it (on a regular basis). Well I'm craving it now! But I just had a heavy lunch followed by a protein bar (for dessert) and a couple of biscuits with tea. That's a lot to eat for one meal right?? I think the same. I'm overloaded but that doesn't mean I can't write about the one thing I truly love : FILTER KAAPI

The audience reading this might be varied, so let me just give you an essence of what Filter Kaapi is. It wouldn't be fair to call this a drink. It's a ritual. followed in each and every South Indian home.

A simple decoction of ground coffee and hot water, indulged with boiled milk, laced with sugar and finished with a silky layer of froth on top.

The Basics

The mechanics to make this is simple. Let's get the recipe going.

First things first , buy a good coffee blend. A blend of Arabica and Robusta is better than just buying plain Arabica coffee. Preferably go for a medium dark or a dark roast. A blend of Arabica and Robusta will give you a good body/weight to the cup.

Here's the recipe I love using :


  • 25 gms coffee (ground to fine)

  • 100 ml hot water

  • 120 ml boiled milk

  • 10 gms white sugar


Coffee Decoction

  • In the upper cylindrical cup of the Filter Coffee Equipment, add your ground coffee.

  • Tamp the grounds lightly with the steamed disc to form a uniform layer. Don't tamp too hard!

  • With the press disc remaining in place, the upper cup is placed on the bottom chamber.

  • Pour your boiled water in and place the lid on top.

  • Let the coffee drip slowly from the top chamber to the bottom.

  • You should get 60 ml of the final decoction.

Final Cup

  • Once the decoction is ready (you'll get around 60ml for two cups)

  • In a small cup/traditional Dabarah, add 30 ml of the above decoction.

  • Once the decoction is ready (you'll get around 60 ml for two cups)

  • Add 60 ml of boiling hot milk in your decoction, starting slow but stretching it from far away as you reach the rim of the cup, to create bubbles.

  • Coffee is typically served after pouring back and forth between the dabarah and a tumbler.

Additional Tips

  • The coffee decoction should take around 12-15 mins to fill the lower chamber.

  • If it takes less than 10 mins, your coffee is too coarse for a filter. And if it takes more than 15 mins, it's too fine. Adjust grind size accordingly.

  • The rule is : all water should drip under 10 mins,

  • Pouring back and forth two cups serves multiple purposes : mixing the ingredients (including sugar) thoroughly; cooling the hot coffee to a sipping temperature; and most importantly, aerating the mix without introducing extra water

To Conclude

South Indian Filter Coffee Houses still use a lot of chicory but let's not talk about it today. Let's focus on just good coffee! I promise we have more about chicory in near future for you.

Here's another recipe I came across on YouTube. It's fun!

Here's our South Indian Filter Coffee Page you can check to to know where you can buy your filter coffee equipment from, based on your requirement and budget. Go for it.

Filter Kaapi, Not People :))


* "Kaapi" by rx_kamakshi is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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