The history of coffee in India has deep roots. From production to consumption to unique expressions of cafe culture, India is bursting with coffee narratives, but there’s one particular story from India that’s only just starting to be told outside the subcontinent: South Indian filter kaapi.
This brewing method, distinct to South India, can be found in home kitchens from Goa to Chennai. It is “a three-part manual percolation brewing device consisting of a top chamber with holes, a bottom collection chamber, and a lid,” writes Namisha Parthasarathy. “Available in several sizes, its occurrence is largely confined to either South Indian households, which largely opt for 200–400 milliliters sizes, or darshinis, quick, self-serve restaurants that serve batch brewed filter kaapi.”
In a recent feature for Sprudge Special Projects, Parthasarathy explores the history and ubiquity of this brewing method for coffee lovers in India’s south, and the challenges, limitations, and opportunities the method presents to a new generation of specialty coffee lovers. In a coffee industry forever searching for the new gadget, the next big thing, this story invites us to look instead at a traditional brewing method with deep ties to a specific region, and how this method—”bursting with potential”—might tell us more about coffee than we thought possible.
Sprudge Special Projects is a hub for long-form original journalism and select archival features on Sprudge. Since 2009, Sprudge has been the world’s premier home for thought-provoking coffee journalism, evocative photo essays, design deep-dives, and cultural narratives. Special Projects Desk continues this tradition in 2023 and beyond, platforming exceptional works from the field of coffee journalism.
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