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The Ultimate Guide To South Indian Filter Coffee And How To Brew It At Home

Most espresso snobs in South India will let you know that it is the finer particulars that make an enormous distinction.

The first time I heard the time period ‘espresso snob’ was in Melbourne. Australia’s sporting and culinary capital can also be obsessive about espresso; it is also the place I’ve all the time discovered the most effective variations of one in every of my favorite variations of espresso – a flat white. But even the freshly brewed espresso at Cup of Truth – one in every of my favorite hole-in-the-wall cafes in Melbourne – is not any match for an invigorating tumbler of filter espresso in Chennai or Bengaluru. Two cities that I’m all the time torn between and two cities with espresso afficionados that may give Melbourne’s espresso snobs a critical run. While newer espresso brewing strategies – from French Press espresso makers to Chemex filters – have turn into commonplace in houses in Chennai and Bengaluru, filter espresso nonetheless guidelines the roost. First, the espresso rising course of:

Bean to cup: The espresso bean to cup course of can take as much as ten months. It begins with the blooming of the espresso flowers which can be similar to jasmine flowers. These flowers turn into espresso berries that take about eight to 10 months to turn into able to be manually harvested. The espresso beans undergo a laborious course of to turn into match for roasting. The beans are segregated after which washed, a course of throughout which the beans additionally undergo moisture discount. The ultimate stage places the beans by fiery temperatures of between 180 to 230 C. This roasting course of sees the beans change color from inexperienced to yellow to the espresso brown we’re all conversant in. The beans are lastly prepared for grinding and brewing.

(Also Read: The Best Places For Filter Coffee In Chennai)

Most espresso snobs in Bengaluru or Chennai will let you know that it is the finer particulars that make an enormous distinction. Here are a number of the ideas I’ve discovered helpful and use for my first tumbler of morning espresso:

Choosing the filter espresso: I’m keen on home-grown manufacturers (you’ll be able to order most of those manufacturers on-line) like Narasu’s or Vivekananda espresso in Chennai. My ‘go to’ model is Cothas espresso from Bengaluru with a barely coarse texture. Quite a number of manufacturers like Coffee Day and Leo additionally can help you decide your beans and make your personal mix at supermarkets or devoted shops. I might recommend mixing two espresso beans and asking the blender so as to add 15-20% chicory to the combo. The roots of the chicory plant do not simply add color however extract extra flavour from the espresso powder. Cotahs, for example has an 85:15 (espresso: chicory) combine. It additionally provides a light candy style that offsets the bitter style of espresso.

Storing the powder: Always search for the manufacturing date on the crimp while you purchase pre-packed filter espresso powder. It’s perfect when you purchase powders packaged inside 30 or 60 days. Also, purchase smaller packet sizes (100 or 200 gm) the place you’ll be able to and retailer in an hermetic jar. I’d advocate glass or chrome steel storage jars in your espresso.

Buying a percolator or espresso filter: South Indian filter espresso makes use of a drip brew course of that’s much like how Vietnamese espresso is brewed. About seven years in the past I used to be at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore the place I checked out Trung Nguyen Coffee, one in every of Vietnam’s finest identified manufacturers. This café locations espresso percolators on the desk and permits diners to observe the Vietnamese espresso gently drip down. A typical espresso filter comes with two cylindrical cups (one with a pierced backside that sits atop the tumbler cup) and a lid, there’s additionally a disc with a stem that’s positioned over the espresso powder within the higher cup earlier than you pour heat water. Most house percolators are available in chrome steel however many old fashioned eating places use massive brass filters that improve the flavour. You can go for a smaller brass filter for house use, however as I’ve found it’s excessive upkeep and requires an additional effort to maintain shiny.

Brewing the espresso: This is essentially the most crucial step. I’d advocate an in a single day course of when you like waking as much as filter espresso. You also can brew the espresso successfully in about an hour too. Transfer the specified quantity of espresso (my common measure is three heaped teaspoons for 2 cups of espresso) to the higher cup and flatten it with the plunger or stem. Sprinkle a small amount of espresso over the stem after which sprinkle some white sugar over this powder (this step provides a slight caramelisation to the espresso and is a trick many marriage ceremony cooks use). Pour heat (not boiling) water over the espresso and let it brew. Remember good filter espresso takes time.

(Also Read: 5 Best Filter Coffee Places In Delhi NCR)


Chennai vs. Bengaluru filter espresso: From Kumbakonam diploma espresso to Mysore Coffee and to Mylapore espresso, filter espresso goes by totally different names in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, however the brewing course of is sort of equivalent. The one distinction between the Chennai and Bengaluru model is the viscosity. The basic Chennai model is made with thick milk and robust espresso, it virtually coats your tongue. I lean extra in the direction of the Bengaluru model that’s barely lighter – I take advantage of 50% milk for this combine that features the brewed espresso and boiling scorching water to make up the stability. This is normally down to non-public choice and you’re sure to develop your perfect combine (that additionally will depend on whether or not you utilize excessive fats or slim milk) as you begin brewing filter espresso recurrently at house. And if you’d like the froth, ensure you use a pitcher and cup (or davara) and ‘pull’ the espresso – it is what some folks name metre espresso, as an alternative of stirring it.

About Ashwin RajagopalanI’ve found cultures, locations and felt at house in a number of the world’s most distant corners due to the varied meals I’ve tried which were ready with ardour. Sometimes they’re conventional recipes and at most instances they have been audacious reinterpretations by artistic cooks. I may not prepare dinner typically however once I do, I think about I’m in a cookery present set – matching measuring bowls, et all!


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