The Lazy Bum's Guide to Filter Coffee

This post is an attempt to teach the quintessential lazy bum the art of brewing a quick half-decent (if not great) cup tumbler of filter coffee. Let us start with the primary apparatus and ingredients.

What you need:

   1)      A coffee filter

This two-tiered marvel of a metal sieve is an essential in every South Indian household. You can purchase one in most shops that sell steel utensils, coffee powder, or at select CafĂ© Coffee Day outlets (they also stock cappuccino machines and my birthday is on 13th Jan). 

In the absence of a filter, a cheat is to use the separation method of decantation from a primary school science textbook.

   2)      The coffee 

As you probably guessed, this is the core ingredient for that strong, flavourful cup of brown and has to be of the non-instant variety that is insoluble in water. The alternative to grinding coffee beans at home is to get it freshly packed from a store that deals in coffee, tea, and/or spices. Cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai have a number of such stores which are usually named on the lines of ‘XYZ Coffee Works’. They have a variety of blends but I recommend the 85:15 (Coffee: Chicory, the latter enhances the taste of the brew). That’s what most Darshini hotels in Bangalore use and they usually have fantastic filter coffee. A good place in Bangalore to buy coffee is from one of the Fresh n' Ground outlets (that’s how CCD started way back in the 90s) and a freshly packed version of their coffee is supplied every week to More supermarkets. 

   3)      The Brewing

The first step is to prepare a decoction. Clean the filter and fill one fourth of it with your coffee. Now, pour boiling water all the way up. Care should be taken to pour the water in such a way that it covers and moistens all of the coffee without the need for stirring. Never stir the decoction in the filter else fine granules of coffee will fall through the sieve.

Close the lid of the filter immediately while being extremely careful to not burn your hands. Leave the filter aside for a few minutes till the decoction is gathered.

Now to the coffee itself. The measure used in my house is a 150 ml cup with a milk:decoction ratio of 3:1 and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix the contents well and then boil the mixture. It tastes best when the decoction is fresh and the sugar is mixed into the milk before adding the coffee. Allow it to bubble along the sides and take it off the heat.

Finally, the grand finale of pouring the brown. Filter coffee is generally served in a thick stainless steel tumbler. The beverage is poured from a height to make a cloud of foam so that cream does not collect on top and mar the first sip. If done right, your tumbler of coffee will look better than this:

Perfect for a winter morning.


neanderthaldude said...

Folks back home swear by this Coffee Day Peaberry-Plantation A (AND NO CHICORY) blend that's freshly ground when you buy. Any other coffee gets thrown out upon discovery.

Akshatha said...

Hmm. I have tried many kinds of 100% coffee, even those fresh from the plantations of Coorg and Chikmaglur. Always preferred some chicory in the blend. It's simply not filter coffee without that subtly mellowed down flavour.

Merin said...

Ah. I am SO craving some Coorg filter coffee now. :)

Ashwini said...

That is the exact same ratio at which we buy our coffee blend too! no other instant coffee powder can beat the high this purely south Indian filter coffee can give you! :D

Akshatha said...

@ Merin: You guys have the best coffee out there. Really. And something good has finally come out of my mum moving to Chikmaglur. :)

@Ashwini: Cannot agree more. You don't even have to drink it sometimes..just the aroma gives a high.

Siddharth said...

Lovely post :)

Are you particular about the kind of milk that goes into the coffee? Over the last one year or so, coffee with low fat milk somehow tastes better for me.

adithi gowda said...

Best part? Im meeting you in 5 fore coffee :D

adithi gowda said...


Akshatha said...

Siddharth: Thanks! You won't believe it but I've never tasted any milk other than the blue Nandini and it's equivalent in Chennai. Will check out this healthy-sounding alternative you mentioned.

Adithi: Next time we'll have proper filter coffee, ok? No Au Bon Pain. Filter coffee and veg puff from Nano. :)