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Indian (Madras) Filter Coffee

As one of the most loved drinks in the world, it isn't surprising to learn that there are hundreds of different methods of preparing coffee throughout the world.  The influence of these different methods can be felt in this country, as the Italian method of brewing coffee with an espresso machine is responsible for some of the most popular coffee drinks in cafes right now like a cappuccino, latte, or a simple espresso.  However, if you are a particularly daring person that wants to try an invigorating and sweet coffee drink, you should try Madras Filter Coffee.

Often called South Indian Coffee, Madras Filter coffee is a particularly beverage in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.  Considering that Southern India is a major coffee producing area, it is not surprising that Madras Filter coffee uses only gourmet coffee beans that tend to be of the Arabica variety.  The coffee beans that are used in this intoxicating drink tend to be grown in the hills of Keral (Malabar), Karnataka (Chikmagalur), and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris).  It is such a popular drink that it has produced a close cousin in Malaysia and Singapore with the kopi tarik (pulled coffee), a confection that was introduced to these countries by Indian Muslims.

Indian Madras Filter Coffee is a sweet milky coffee that is made from dark roasted coffee beans.  Between 70% and 80% of the drink is coffee with the remaining 20% to 30% of the drink being made from chicory.  It is prepared in an interesting manner that does take some time to be complete.  Using a metal South Indian coffee filter that can be described as a metal cup with porous bottom that fits into the lips of the regular bottomed cup, you spread fresh coffee grounds that have been mixed with chicory lightly into the porous upper cup.  This is compressed gently with the stemmed sieve press.  Once this is completed, you then pour boiling water on top of the coffee grounds while leaving the compress press in place.  As the boiling water and coffee grounds with chicory mixes, brewed coffee will drip into the receptacle at the bottom.  After a couple of hours, you are ready to drink a delicious cup of Indian Madras Filter Coffee.

Serving the Indian Filter coffee is one of the most fun parts of preparing Madras coffee.  The coffee is poured back and forth between the dabarah and the tumbler in huge arc-like motions of the hand.  A dabarah is a wide metal saucer with lipped walls that is used to gently spin the coffee around to cool it.  The tumbler is used to hold the coffee and Madras coffee is drunk from the tumbler.  By pouring the coffee between the dabarah and the tumbler, you will cool the hot coffee down to a suitable temperature while leaving a thick layer of froth on top to enjoy.

Coffee is a major social institution in Southern India.  It can be described as being a cultural icon in Tamil and Kannada cultures and is a revered tradition in Tamil Brahmin households.  It is customary that a cup of coffee is offered to any visitor when visiting an Indian household.  One sip of this delicious drink will make you understand why Indian filter coffee is such a revered beverage in this part of the world.