The South Indian filter coffee is a speciality coffee drink made in parts of South India. It’s made by adding coffee decoction extracted from a mixture of coffee blends (such as Plantation A and Peaberry with added chicory for reducing bitterness) with boiled milk and sugar. This mixture is then poured vigorously from a tumbler into a davarah and back again into the tumbler. This process creates a froth, cools down the coffee just enough to sip, and dissolve the sugar evenly.
The decoction for South Indian filter coffee is extracted from a traditional Indian coffee filter. The ground coffee powder is first pressed into the upper compartment of the coffee filter with a perforated bottom and pressed compactly. Piping hot water is gently poured on top of the pressed coffee power. The hot water percolates through the compacted coffee powder and the decoction
Here is a video from Saffron Trails that explains how the authentic South Indian filter coffee is made.
The best places to find authentic south Indian filter coffee are in Chennai the home of Madras Coffee or in Kumbakonam, the home of Kumbakonam degree coffee. You will also find good South Indian filter coffee in Bangalore and any other city in India with a South Indian population!
The south Indian filter coffee is not just a drink!
If you are wondering what’s the fuss about the south Indian filter coffee, you will be surprised at the lengths people go to make sure they have a great cup of filter coffee first thing in the morning.
Art, South Indian filter coffee and love
One of our readers shared his story about his obsession with filter coffee and how it goes beyond being just a drink in the morning.
Our man happens to be a night owl. He gets up no earlier than 8 am in the morning. And when he gets up, he needs his dose of authentic Indian filter coffee before anything else can happen.
His mother doesn’t really like the idea that his son is a night owl. However, like any other south Indian mother she makes sure there her son gets the best south Indian filter coffee on the planet no matter when he decides to wake up,
Considering the fact that her day starts much earlier, and she may be busy with other things, she keeps the milk, freshly brewed coffee decoction and sugar ready for her son. That’s not all, she also leaves behind plenty of instructions on the kitchen counter to make sure her son doesn’t accidentally use the second decoction!
Just saying in case you are too lazy to make your coffee!
Morning coffee ready!
Make sure you use the right ingredients when you make coffee!
Just goes to show that the ritual of drinking coffee in the morning is a serious affair and most South Indian mothers go to great lengths to make sure her son or daughter get a proper dose of south Indian filter coffee!
The degree of filter coffee obsession
Tyagarajan Sundaresan is a writer. His Medium blog post titled “The South Indian Filter Coffee Obsession Chart” nails the various chronic conditions that define a filter coffee lover! It’s hilarious and still manages to shed light on the deep love and obsession coffee drinkers in South India seem to possess. You can read his blog post here.
Illustration by Tyagarajan Sundaresan
The history of filter coffee in South India
Until the end of the 19th century, the practice of drinking coffee or tea was absent in India.
The book titled “In Those days There Was No Coffee – Writings In Cultural History“ by AR Venkatachalapathy from the Madras Institute of Development Studies, has interesting insights about the proliferation of coffee drinking habits in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
Here are some extracts from this book.
Coffee was closely tied to colonialism. According to Anthony Giddens, a British Sociologist, “Virtually all the coffee we drink in the western countries comes from areas that were colonised by the Europeans.”
It is thought that coffee was grown in the Mysore region in the 18th century and was primarily meant for Europe. Ayothidas Pandithar, a radical Dalit intellectual referred to coffee as the drink of the Europeans!
The word coolie in the Tamil language is thought of have originated from Tamil workers who worked in coffee plantations for the British empire.
Baba Budan was a 16th-century Sufi, who is said to have introduced the coffee plant to India by bringing seven raw beans from the port of Mocha, Yemen while coming back from Haj. The guy in the scooter is definitely NOT Baba Budan and the image was sourced from Scooterswag.com.
In early 20th century, the Tanjore Gazetteer observed, “Among the higher classes, coffee in the morning is taken. Of recent years, however, a tendency has become noticeable among Shudras, even of the poorer classes, towards the use of coffee in the early morning in preference to cold rice.”
The rapid adoption of coffee as the preferred beverage among Tamilians brought to fore people who took it upon themselves to banish the drink! One of them even proclaimed “Filter coffee is more addictive than even beer and arrack!”
By the time India was inching closer to independence from the British, coffee had taken the centre stage among Tamilians. R.K Narayan had observed “A middle-class South Indian cannot feel that he has acquitted himself unless he is able to ask any visitor who may drop in, ‘Will you have coffee?’”
Between the 1920s all the way to 1950s, there was an explosive growth in “Coffee Hotels”. These were small restaurants, typically run by Tamil Brahmins, that served good South Indian filter coffee and tiffin.
Subsequently, old coffee brands like Narasus and Leo coffee continues to survive and thrive in the midst of modern coffee chains such as Coffee Day and Starbucks trying to change the way coffee is consumed in India.
Best places for tasting the South Indian filter coffee
If you are new to South Indian filter coffee, we picked out a bunch of places in Chennai and Bangalore that serve authentic South Indian filter coffee. “Authentic” means, a proper choice if coffee bean powder, undiluted milk (preferably cow’s milk which may not be available even in the places we have listed below), and just the right amount of sugar so that it just masks the bitterness and not overwhelm the taste bud with sweetness.
Here is our list of places to get your cup of steaming hot South Indian filter coffee.
1. Saravana Bhavan Restaurant
In the world of south Indian vegetarian food, Saravana Bhavan has carved a name for itself in the hearts of South Indians. Their filter coffee is alway consistent and their staff will oblige if you need more decoction! While we have listed their T Nagar location, Saravana Bhavan is everywhere and the coffee is always good in all their restaurants.
2. Karpagambal Mess
The 67-year-old “mess” in Mylapore, the cultural centre of Chennai, is a must visit place if you are hunting for authentic filter coffee and a range of tiffin items. You can read about their history here.
3. Sangeetha Restaurant
Sangeetha is a worthy competitor for Saravana Bhavan. They too have a big presence across the city and have now opened branches in the US as well. Their RA Puram branch is always a safe bet if you are in the mood for an authentic South Indiana filter coffee.
4. The New Woodlands Hotel
The Woodlands Hotel was started in 1938 and has stood the test of time by remaining the go-to place for authentic South Indian vegetarian fare. No restaurant in Chennai can hope to remain the bastion of traditional food if they cannot serve the highest quality filter coffee and Woodlands hasn’t disappointed on this front for 70+ years!
5. Kalmane Coffee
Bangalore competes with Chennai when it comes to the sheer number of options you have to get your fill of authentic South Indian filter coffee. Kalmane Coffee grows its own coffee beans and their plantations are over 130 years old! You will find their outlets in most malls in Bangalore as well as in Chennai.
6. Brahmin’s Coffee Bar
This is a hole in the wall cafe with no seating and yet you will have to probably jostle with the crowd outside to get your hands on their filter coffee and their delicious vegetarian tiffin items. Famous for its breakfast, the Brahmin Coffee Bar is an institution and a must visit for a foodie.Brahmin Coffee Bar is an institution and a must visit for a foodie.
7. Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR)
MTR is the probably the ground zero of authentic South Indian vegetarian fare and coffee in Bangalore. They started as Brahmin Coffee House way back in 1924 and the business was renamed as MTR in 1951.
8. Hatti Kaapi
This is one place where the star attraction is just the coffee (Like Kalmane Coffee). People who land at the Bangalore airport make it a point to taste a divine cup of South Indian filter coffee at Hatto Kaapi before leaving the airport. Don’t worry, they also have locations in the city.
Is filter coffee under threat from Starbucks?
The filter coffee craze is so strong in South India that people who migrate to other countries don’t give up on their quest to find coffee that tastes like the South Indian filter coffee!
Questions like What coffee taste the closest to South Indian Filter coffee? or What is the best filter coffee powder to use in the US? or How to make coffee decoction? tells us that no matter where people go and no matter how many Starbucks outlets are close by, South Indians will always crave for authentic filter coffee!
Starbucks in Chennai! Via @Suo_motu on Twitter.
The likes of Starbucks and other international coffee chains as well as Indian clones are sprouting up in all major cities across India. Clearly, in terms of pricing and ambience, these international coffee chains are targeting the well-heeled, well-traveled customers They are also embracing local tastes and speciality brews.
For example, Starbucks in Chennai lists filter coffee in its menu! Be warned, you do end up paying over six times the amount you would probably pay for a filter coffee at Saravana Bhavan!
Local chains like Cafe Coffe Day are doing a better job by lowering their price points and the fact that they have a larger presence across all major cities and towns make them accessible as well.
As we see it, the entry of international chains provides greater choice for coffee obsessed Indians and they are not a “threat” to the coffee culture that is already thriving in south India. Case in point, Starbucks in now exporting coffee grown in the Coorg region of Karnataka all the way to the US!
Summer in India is getting hotter every year. However, nothing takes away from the fact that the Indian summer is what defines our collective memory. Every grown adult in India will fondly cherish the unique food, sights, and scenes that define the Indian summer. Nobody remembers the heat anyways!
“Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing.” –Truman Capote.
While we cannot match Truman Capote in his rather imaginative description of summer, we have lined up 11 amazing artwork showcased on Dribbble and Behance to give you a glimpse of the essence of Indian summer. We encourage you to click on the images to find out more about the artists and their work.
1. Gathering under a Peepal tree
Illustration by Seerow.com
Villiage life in India revolves around gathering places like the temple or the peepal tree. On a warm summer day, the peepal tree provides a cool, shady place for the villagers to gossip or conduct the village council meetings. The artwork here was created for a consumer brand yet it captures the contemporary Indian village where modern influences are creeping in. If you notice carefully, you will see a smattering of Peepal leaves on the top of the image.
2. Dusk brings relief to a village
Anil Saxena on Behance
Villages across India look forward to summer and it is around this time that they would have harvested their crops and are flush with money. However, no amount of romantic notions we harbor of summer in Indian villages take away from the fact that men and women have to perform back-breaking work in the hot sun. This artwork is a clever amalgamation of images into one awesome picture! Click on the image to learn about the technique used by the artist (digital composting) to create this masterpiece.
3. Every Indian summer is synonymous with vacations
Contemporary Pattachitra painting by SCD Balaji
No Indian summer is without the obligatory trip to the hill station or a visit to the grandparent’s house. Nowadays, more and more families or visiting fancy resorts or exotic foreign locations as well. The idea of a summer trip is probably more romantic than the trip itself. The artwork shows a rather colorful couple with cool motifs and travel gear we will die for! This work was inspired by the Pattachitra style painting from Odisha. Pattachitra is considered to be a 1000-year-old art form and usually depicts colorful deities on a canvas. Click on the image to read more about the artist and his work.
4. Oranges and Indian summer are made for each other
Ollin on Dribbble
While no Indian summer is complete without the mangoes, oranges definitely occupy a prime place during summers in India. India is one of the largest producers of orange and the country houses over 1500 varieties of this fruit! When you go out to the market or get down from a bus, you will definitely find at least one street cart selling oranges. That’s not all, no Indian summer is complete with the ubiquitous orange squash! If you are visiting your friend or family member on a hot summer day, brace yourself for the cold, sugary, orange squash.
5. Summer circus spectacle!
Betit Group on Dribbble
Life in India was less complicated before the smartphones, televisions, and Internet hijacked our lives. In most towns and villages, the circus was a prime attraction in summer. How do you know you had the circus in town? They usually have a powerful spotlight beam illuminating the night sky and they also had mobile ad vans inviting everyone to attend the show. This artwork is a beautiful, cliched, and funny representation of what you might not actually see.
6. Indian summer and the Indian family
Shylesh on Dribbble
The best memories from childhood are summers and spending time with the grandparents during summer holidays. As joint-families are waning, grandparents look forward to meeting their grandkids and children love to be pampered. With no school or classes to attend to (if you ignore the zealous parents who are hell bent on keeping children busy with summer classes or summer camps), the bond between the children and their grandparents takes root with every summer vacation.
7. Summer travel and food – the dynamic duo!
Riya Mahajan on Behance
Romantic train journeys during summer are complete only when you taste the local cuisine and food items from the hard to ignore hawkers at every railway station across the length and breadth of the country. This amazing artwork chronicles the food items that you will come across when you travel from Mumbai to Madgaon. Click no the image to learn more about the artwork.
8. No Indian summer is complete without the gola cart!
Ranganath Krishnamani on Dribbble
If there is one thing that is not good for you, but you enjoy it anyways, it’s the colorful shaved ice sold by street vendors. Indian summer is not complete without stopping to enjoy the obligatory roadside sin! This artist has created a jaw-dropping illustration of the “gola cart” that will bring back moments of pure bliss you might have enjoyed smack in the middle of a scorching Indian summer. Click on the image to learn more.
9. The sweet sugarcane juice stall
Ranganath Krishnamani on Dribbble
A far healthier alternative to the gola cart is the sugarcane juice. You will notice that this cart has a motor to drive the presser. But this was not the case in the past. The juicer was powered by the vendor or his family members! The giant wheels had a handle and the juice was literally hand pressed.
10. The tender coconut seller on the beach
Ranganath Krishnamani on Dribbble
Moving on to a healthier option to deal with the Indian summer, check out the amazing artwork of a vendor selling coconuts. You will find them even now going around the town on a hot summer day. Their sturdy cycles seem to defy physics to lug around three dozen heavy coconuts with the sickle neatly slotted into the handlebar. Click on the image to find out more about the artist.
11. Indian summer is IPL time!
Ankur Patar on Behance
Last but not the least, Indian summers and cricket are brothers in arms. What do children do during summer holidays? They play cricket! With IPL dominating the summer season in India, cricket will probably rank among the top entertainment options available for Indians in the summer. This artwork shows Dhoni wielding his bat nonchalantly. Just look closely at the background as well.
It’s summer in India and it means only one thing. Everybody is going gaga over a fruit! Yes, we are talking about the king of fruits or the original king of good times (sorry Kingfisher!).
The king of fruits has had a lasting impact on what we eat. A simple Google search will throw up millions of recipes that involve the mango. You should believe us when we say there aren’t any Indian dishes left untouched without somebody deciding to add mango to it. Strangely, we are pretty sure they all taste good. After a lot of head-scratching on how we can pay tribute to the kind of fruits aka mangoes without boring everyone with our list of 10 awesome mango recipes, we chose on one aspect of mango nobody ever talks about i.e. it’s artistic influence!
After a lot of head-scratching on how we can pay tribute to the king of fruits aka mangoes without boring everyone with our list of 10 awesome mango recipes, we chose on one aspect of mango nobody ever talks about i.e. it’s artistic influence!
The mango competes big time with the coconut and banana when it comes to the question of what is the most important fruit in India. You may think only the banana and the coconut find a prime spot in all religious events and hence mangoes comes a distant third. But think again.
Unlike banana and coconut, mangoes are seasonal. However, for the short few months, mangoes make their presence felt. They have an overbearing influence on Indian culture through drawing, art, jewelry, and designs. That’s not all. Our appetite for a mango flavored drink the year never wanes even when they are out of season!
Here are a some interesting titbits that proves that mangoes have ruled us from the Vedic times and even Gods compete with one another for the coveted mango!
Archeologists discovered that people from the Indus Valley Civilization wore mango shaped ear ornaments! That’s not all, Hindu scriptures from 2000 BC tell of how a mango caused a serious rift between Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga and how this episode lead to the allegory of the fruit of wisdom in the words of Avvayar!Devika Bal
We concluded that the king of fruits deserves its place in an art gallery considering the impact it has had on our culture. Little did we realize that mango has captured the imagination of artists from around the world. Check this out for yourself.
Summer dreams are incomplete without the mangoes!
Indian summers and mangoes go hand in hand. Here is what Rachana Saurabh had to say about her visions of an Indian summer.
This painting is inspired by my dream. These days I am missing my childhood summer days badly. Summer vacation in India , Mango tree and lots of birds singing! Few weeks back when I called my Mom in India, I heard the sweet voice of a Cuckoo bird. And the same night I had this dream!
Summer Dreams by Rachana Saurabh
Fruit meets art
What happens when a mango meets a chicken? They fell in love and had a baby! Don’t believe us? Here is what Celine Nieuwland, an artist from the Netherlands, came up with! You be a judge of whether this is the love child of a mango and a chicken or a mango and a dehusked coconut (or should we call this mangonut?)!
Fruit Meets Art By Celina Nieuwland
Watercolor mango in all its glory
This is a simple, yet amazing watercolor painting of a mango by Claudia Melchor del Rio from Germany. The painting shows the different shades of orange and red that’s characteristic of a ripe mango, ready to be devoured!
Watercolor Mango By Claudia Melchor del Rio
Japanese dolls with a head of mangoes?
The Daruma doll (also known as the Dharma doll) is considered as a talisman of good luck in Japan. It is modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. This Daruma doll from Mineya Daruma has pancakes and mangoes! No, this is not a typo.
Daruma Doll By Mineya Daruma
NSFW mangoes from Australia!
Just when you were scratching your head about the Daruma doll with mangoes, we came across this gem from Australia. Question – When you have a grocery market close to the Bondi beach, what happens to the produce? Answer – They start wearing bikinis and skimpy outfits! Check out this artwork from Steven Popovich. He created this for the Harris Farm Market.
Sexy Mangoes By Steven Popovich
Mango Man! Sorry, the Mango Girl!
The artist, Laxmidhar Rout, explains a rather strange event that led to his creation. A girl happens to go the “mango land”. There she eats so many mangoes, that she becomes a “mango girl”. She also listens to music with her mango headsets! We just guessed she is probably listening to “taste the mango….”.
Mango Girl By Laxmidhar Rout
The metamorphosis of a mango!
Rishika Gambhir of New Delhi has put together thirteen handcrafted illustrations that show the growth of a mango. She demonstrates a keen sense of observation and of course her talent! Check out this gallery.
Finally, mangoes are also closely linked to the paisley pattern that’s so popular with ladies in India when it comes to sarees. The paisley pattern has already made a leap away from clothing material to become a key part of wedding invitation cards and even cell phone cases! Here is an example of Paisley pattern used in greeting cards.
PenandFavor From Etsy
Did you like this blog post? Like and Share this post for good karma!
Adrenaline or epinephrine is a stress hormone that prepares our body to fight for survival or run like hell away from danger. In India, the adrenaline rush most of us experience can be because we came close to being run over by a speeding truck or we just got into an argument with a cop who pulled us over for not wearing a helmet!
Most of us are happy to remain calm and in peace but then there are a group of people among us who crave for the adrenaline rush. They are called the “adrenaline junkies”. Adrenaline junkies are those addicted to danger, thrill, and spine-tingling action all the time. In short, most of our Bollywood heroes and some heroines squarely fall in the adrenaline junkie category!
Figure out what lights the fire and then chase the match!
That pretty much summarizes the life of an adrenaline junkie. Let’s take a look at 13 awesome videos of people doing crazy stunts and enjoying it. Most of us will shudder at the idea of insane heights and the thought of throwing our lives on the line for the sake of experiencing the adrenaline rush. As we go through the videos, you will also find out interesting facts about what makes these adventure seekers tick!
1. Blame your genes! According to Marvin Zuckerman, professor of psychology at the University of Delaware, the sensation-seeking behavior that characterizes the adrenaline junkie is just another human trait. And like any other human trait, it is something we inherit from our ancestors.
2. Adrenaline junkies are heroes (sometimes!): Not all adrenaline junkies drive around recklessly or just spend time doing crazy stunts. Some adrenaline junkies find equally daring things to do for the benefit of those around them. For example, adrenaline junkies will love working for the military, police force or as firefighters.
A video posted by Adrenaline Junkies (@adrenaline.junkies) on
3. The addiction to adventure has a reason: When you perform strenuous activities, the body starts producing a chemical called endorphin that suppresses pain and gives you a heady feeling. This is a kind of addiction that demands more from you!
5. Christopher Columbus must have enjoyed the adrenaline rush! The thrill of a new discovery and the challenge of venturing into the unknown is also a sensation-seeking trait that has helped human beings discover new continents and conquer challenging tasks around the world.
6. Do you have an Attention Deficit Disorder? According to Dr. Bernard Beitman, people with ADD tend to focus better when they are provided with a challenging task. This is because their norepinephrine levels are increased.
A video posted by Nastyone Clothing 🇦🇺 (@nastyoneclothing) on
7. Which city is the most thrill-seeking? The tire company, BFGoodrich, surveyed 3500 Americans back in 2013 and concluded that one-third Americans are self-proclaimed thrill seekers who enjoy the adrenaline rush. The survey also found that Chicago has the most thrill seekers.
A video posted by Dennis Ohlsen (@captainohlsen) on
8. Pranayama can help cope with adrenaline: If you think you need to chill out and take a break from the addiction to the adrenaline rush, pranayama or deep breathing may be a simple yet effective remedy for you.
A video posted by Extreme Sports Page (@extremesports.page) on
12. The French Spiderman: Alain Robert from France is known for his daredevil feats. His specialty is to climb skyscrapers with just climbing shoes and a bag of chalk powder. He never uses any safety harness!
A video posted by Extreme Sports Page (@extremesports.page) on
13. Stuntmen and stuntwomen: Obviously, stuntmen and women are adrenaline junkies. But, they are never the center of attraction in most movies. As a tribute to their bravery and foolishness, here is a list of 7 top stuntmen from Hollywood!