How to Make the Perfect South Indian Filter Kaapi

South Indian filter kaapi is a unique and cherished coffee preparation that combines the robust flavors of coffee and chicory with the richness of boiled milk. Its meticulous brewing process and traditional serving method make it a distinctive and beloved beverage in South India and beyond. Renowned for its strong flavor and aromatic profile, filter kaapi is made using a traditional South Indian coffee filter and served in a stainless steel tumbler and davara. Here are the detailed steps to make the best filter kaapi like a true South Indian:

Ingredients and Equipment:

High-quality coffee beans (preferably a blend of 80-90% coffee and 10-20% chicory)

Traditional South Indian coffee filter

Full-fat milk

Sugar (optional)

Stainless steel tumbler and davara (optional for serving)


Prepare the Coffee Grounds:

Use freshly roasted and ground coffee beans.

Ideally, use a blend of 80-90% coffee and 10-20% chicory.

The grind should be medium-fine.

Set Up the Filter:

Place 2-3 tablespoons of coffee grounds into the upper compartment of the coffee filter.

Lightly tamp the coffee grounds using the plunger that comes with the filter. Do not press too hard as it can hinder water flow.

Brew the Coffee Decoction:

Boil water and let it cool slightly (to around 90-95°C or 194-203°F).

Pour the hot water into the upper compartment of the filter, filling it to about three-quarters full.

Place the lid on the filter and allow the coffee to drip slowly into the lower compartment. This process can take about 10-15 minutes.

Prepare the Milk:

While the coffee is brewing, boil full-fat milk in a separate pan.

Aerate the milk by pouring it back and forth between two vessels or using a frothing wand.

Mix Coffee and Milk:

Pour 1-2 tablespoons of the thick coffee decoction into a cup. Adjust according to the desired strength of your coffee.

Add the hot, boiled milk to the cup containing the decoction. The typical ratio is about 3/4 cup of milk to the decoction, but adjust to your taste preference.

Add Sugar (Optional) and Serve:

Add sugar to taste and stir well. Traditional South Indian filter coffee is usually sweetened, but you can adjust the amount of sugar based on your preference.

Serve the coffee in a stainless steel tumbler placed in a davara for an authentic experience.

Froth the Coffee:

Pour the coffee back and forth between two cups or between a cup and a davara (a wide, flat-bottomed bowl) to create a frothy top.

Consume the coffee while it is hot and fresh.

By following these steps, you can enjoy a rich, aromatic cup of South Indian filter kaapi that captures the essence of traditional brewing methods.

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