Filter Coffee

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A tasty South Indian filter coffee recipe that will have you coming back for more! Add hot milk to this coffee and serve it with tiffin breakfast items like upma, idli, dosa, uttapam or medu vada. Make in just 15 minutes!

filter coffee served in a glass

About This Recipe

I am a regular tea drinker but I do enjoy filter coffee from time to time so I am sharing a traditional way of making this beverage. It is also known as filter kaapi in Tamil language and Mysore filter coffee. 

This popular coffee is also served in South Indian hotels, restaurants and street-side food stalls.

You will need the South Indian coffee filter to make this tasty hot beverage. It is available in most utensil shops in South India, West India and also online.

This method is similar to the french press coffee decoction however the equipment used is unique and different. Plus the apparatus is very simple to use.

You will need coffee powder to prepare the coffee. My parents travel to South India quite often so they normally pick up coffee powder from there so I always have stock. The taste of the coffee largely depends on the type of ground coffee used.

So buy a good brand of filter coffee powder. Keep in mind that the filter coffee powder is different from instant coffee.

filter coffee powder in a bowl with spoon

Serve the filter coffee immediately as a single beverage or serve it after tiffin breakfast items like upma, idli, dosa, uttapam or medu vada.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Filter Coffee

1. The picture below shows a South Indian coffee filter which makes for 2 to 3 tumblers (small glasses) of this drink. It comes in various sizes.

South Indian coffee filter

2. The parts include two cylindrical vessels. The top vessel has perforations in it and it fits into the lower vessel which collects the coffee brew. There is also a pressing disc with a handle and a lid.

cylindrical vessel coffee filter parts

3. This is a picture of the top vessel with the perforations.

coffee filter with perforations

4. This is the base vessel where the coffee decoction is collected.

South Indian coffee filter base vessel

Making Coffee Decoction

5. Now let’s move on to the coffee! Use ground coffee to prepare filter coffee. Place the top vessel on the lower one. Then take 3 teaspoons of coffee and place it in the top vessel with the perforations. For this filter use the following proportions:

  • 4 teaspoons coffee powder – for strong coffee
  • 3 teaspoons coffee powder – for medium strong
  • 1.5 to 2 teaspoons coffee powder – for light coffee
ground coffee in a bowl with spoon

6. Gently spread and even out the coffee powder with your fingers or a small spoon.

even coffee powder

7. Place the pressing disc with the handle on the coffee powder.

pressing disc with handle on coffee powder

8. Heat 1 cup of water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil.

hot water for preparing filter coffee recipe

9. When the water comes to a boil, gently pour the water in the top vessel.

pour hot water into the vessel

10. Fill it up to ¾ or until it is almost full. I used 1 cup so the top vessel was almost full with hot water.

hot water in vessel

11. Cover with the lid and leave to sit for 10 to 12 minutes until the coffee decoction percolates in the lower vessel. Depending upon the size of the perforations in the top vessel it will take more or less time for the coffee to percolate.

coffee decoction

12. Here is a photo of the top vessel with some water left in it.

coffee decoction with water

13. In the photo below all of the coffee is percolated and brewed. Cover and set aside.

brewed filter coffee

Making Filter Coffee

14. Once the coffee has brewed, heat ¾ cup of full fat or whole milk until it starts to boil. You can even start heating milk just before all the water percolates.

For a vegan filter coffee heat plant based milk like cashew milk, oats milk, almond milk or soy milk until hot. Don’t boil them as they may curdle or separate.

hot milk for preparing filter coffee recipe

15. Now take a tumbler (glass) and add 2 teaspoons sugar to it. Or you can add the sugar as needed to the milk. You can use white sugar or raw sugar.

sugar for filter coffee recipe

16. Pour ¼ to ⅓ cup of hot boiling milk directly into the tumbler while straining it.

strain milk poured into cup

17. I strain the milk to avoid the malai (the layer of cream on top) that comes with boiling milk. If you like malai, then you can add the milk without the strainer. Add less or more milk depending on your preference

strainer with milk

18. Pour ¼ to ⅓ cup of the brewed coffee into the cup. You can add less or more depending on your preference.

brewed coffee being poured into hot milk mixture

19. The filter coffee is almost ready.

making filter coffee recipe

Serving Filter Coffee

While the coffee is almost ready to be served. It is made frothy and bubbly with a special technique that I am sharing below. To make the coffee frothy a pan shaped like vessel is used called as dabarah or davara. The coffee is served in a small glass placed on dabarah. You can also use a frother or any other small sauce pan, if you don’t have this small shaped pan.

20. Now take dabarah or davara which is a small pan-shaped vessel that is used to cool the coffee. Pour the coffee back and forth from the tumbler into the davara. This will help the sugar to dissolve and a top layer of foam will form on the coffee.

coffee being poured into the davara

21. Pour the coffee from the davara into the tumbler.

Coffee being poured back into the tumbler

22. Repeat this step again at least 2 to 3 times but don’t do it too much as the coffee will become cold. You can also skip this step if you don’t have time.

Repeat this method with the remaining servings of the coffee to make it frothy.

coffee being poured into the davara

23. Serve filter coffee as soon as it is made.

South Indian filter coffee recipe or filter kaapi recipe

Expert Tips

  • Davara: I like to pour the coffee back and forth from the davara and tumbler two to three times to ensure that there are no sugar granules at the bottom of the mixture. It also gives the coffee a nice layer of froth at the top. However, you don’t have to do this step if you are short on time. You can also use any other small sauce pan instead of davara.
  • Milk: Make sure you heat the milk before you pour it into the sugar as you don’t want cold coffee. Before you pour the milk into sugar strain it to get rid of the layer of cream (malai) formed on the top. If you don’t mind then pour the milk in the coffee without a strainer.
  • Coffee: Use good quality filter coffee powder for this recipe. You can also alter the strength of this coffee to suit your preference. If you want strong coffee then use 4 teaspoons of coffee powder. For medium coffee use 3 teaspoons of coffee powder and for a weaker coffee use 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of coffee.
  • Sugar: Feel free to add more sugar to this recipe if you have a sweet tooth and if you like your coffee plain then skip the sugar altogether.

FAQs

What is meant by filter coffee?

Filter coffee refers to roasted coffee beans that have been grounded and are used for coffee machines.

The container is made of glass. Is this ok or should it be made of steel only?

The containers often come in steel or glass so the container can be made of glass as long as it is able to withstand liquids at high temperatures. However, generally we use steel or brass ones.

There was a lot of coffee residue left in the upper container. Any idea why it happened and can I use the residue?

There is usually some residue with most filter coffee powder brands and you can prepare more coffee with the residue using the same method. Simply scrape the residue from the press, place it in the top container and prepare. I usually only get a bit of residue so I discard it.

Does filter coffee taste different to instant coffee?

Filter coffee tastes very different from instant coffee. The taste largely depends on the variety, type, and grade of the coffee beans.

More Delicious Beverages

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filter coffee recipe, filter kaapi recipe

Filter Coffee

4.8 from 15 votes
Easy to prepare and popular South Indian filter coffee or filter kaapi made in just 15 minutes.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Cuisine South Indian
Course: Beverages
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 2
Units

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup whole milk or add as required
  • 2 teaspoons sugar for each glass or mug or add as required

Instructions

Making coffee decoction

  • Take the coffee filter. Fit the top vessel on the lower one. Now take 3 teaspoons ground coffee and place it in the vessel with the perforations.
  • Gently spread and even out the coffee powder with your fingers or with a small spoon.
  • Place the pressing disc with the handle on the coffee powder.
  • Heat 1 cup water in a sauce pan and let it come to a boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, gently pour the water in the top vessel, till its 3/4 or almost full.
  • Cover with the lid. Wait for 10 to 12 minutes till the coffee decoction percolates in the lower vessel.

Making filter coffee

  • When all of the coffee is brewed, then heat 3/4 cup full fat or whole milk till it becomes hot and boils.
  • Now take a tumbler (glass) and add 2 teaspoons sugar in it.
  • Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot boiling milk directly in the tumbler (glass) while straining it. I strain milk, so as to avoid the malai that comes with the boiling milk. If you like malai, then you can add milk without straining it. You can add less or more milk as per your preference.
  • Now pour 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup of the brewed coffee. You can add less or more or as much as you like.

Serving filter coffee

  • Now take dabarah or davara. This is a small pan shaped vessel that is used to cool the coffee. The coffee is poured back and forth from the tumbler to the davara and so on. Thus the sugar dissolves and a top layer of foam forms on the coffee. Pour the coffee from the tumbler from a height in the davara.
  • Now pour the coffee from the davara back in the tumbler.
  • Repeat again pouring coffee in the davara from the tumbler and vice versa. You can do this process 2 to 3 times. Don't do too much as then the coffee becomes cold. You can even skip this step if you want.
  • Repeat this method with the remaining servings of the coffee to make it frothy.
  • Serve filter coffee hot. It needs to be served immediately as soon as its made.

Notes

  • The recipe can be scaled.
  • Use a good quality filter coffee powder.
  • You can increase, decrease or skip the sugar according to your taste.
  • To prepare a vegan filter coffee heat plant based milk like along milk, oats milk, soy milk or cashew milk until hot. Don’t boil them as they may curdle or separate.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Filter Coffee
Amount Per Serving
Calories 133 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 45mg2%
Potassium 120mg3%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Calcium 103mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Filer Coffee recipe post from the archives (Sep 2016) has been republished and updated on 3 June 2021.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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31 Comments

  1. Filter coffee is perhaps the mainstay of every South Indian family. My mom cannot her start her day without it. I have struggled to get the right kind of filter coffee with the right coffee/chicory blend that gets the right balance of taste and flavor. Coffee Day pure coffee is what I have settled with and it is just about ok. If you have a recommendation, I would love to know.5 stars

    1. I agree so much. For some of my relatives and friends filter coffee is mandatory for breakfast. I do not have any brand recommendation as my parents get it in bulk from Kerala. They buy from these stores which sell only coffee or coffee products. I have used a few brands, but they were ok and not that great. A suggestion is that if you have a coffee grinder, you could make your own blend with coffee and chicory.

  2. Hi,

    I got one filter coffee press locally here in Dubai, the container is made of glass. Is it Ok to have that or should it be made of steel only?

      1. Just to get more specific the coffee press i got is French press coffee maker, that is what I discovered today after searching in Google. And seems it doesn’t support percolation method, but instead direct pour. Couldn’t find enough material on the internet if this kind of coffee maker will give me south Indian kappi

        1. fine. you can use french press to make filter coffee as the coffee liqueur is filtered in a french press but with another technique. just don’t keep the water and coffee granules mixed for a lot of time as then the coffee can get bitter. 2 to 3 minutes works well.

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