How to make Traditional South Indian Filter Coffee

South Indian filter coffee is a strong, milky coffee decoction that is made with a coffee filter, and served in a traditional dabarah and tumbler. In a country where instant coffee is the norm of the day, this method of brewing coffee is often preferred, because it produces a much better cup than instant coffee.

Traditional South Indian filter coffee is made with a “coffee filter.” The coffee filter consists of two cups, one that nests on top of the other. The upper cup holds the coffee grounds, and it has holes that let the brew drip into the lower cup. The strong decoction is collected in the lower cup. There is also a pressing disc for tamping the grounds and a lid for keeping the decoction warm while brewing.

Making a filter coffee may sound easy to many but, not any one can make a good coffee. There are three main factors for making a good coffee. Coffee powder and fresh milk are main factors.

To make the decoction, follow these steps:

1. Place the coffee powder in the upper chamber of the coffee filter, and lightly tamp the powder using the pressing disc. Leave the disc in place after tamping. (Tamping mainly ensures that the coffee powder is even in the chamber. The powder shouldn’t be tamped as hard as espresso grounds.)

2. Place the upper chamber on the lower one, and fill the upper chamber with boiling water.

3. Cover the coffee filter, and let it brew for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. While the decoction is brewing, heat milk to a boil on the stove.

5. When the decoction is finished, pour 1 to 2 Tbsps. of the decoction into the dabarah, and then fill the dabarah with milk. Add your desired amount of sugar.

6. Once the coffee is brewed, it’s poured back and forth between a dabarah and tumbler to cool it. This process also mixes in the sugar and hot milk, and it aerates the decoction. This method of aeration produces a different type of foam than steam does. The dabarah is a small metal cup with a lip that doesn’t get too hot. The tumbler is a slightly wider and shorter bowl-shaped vessel.

7. Serve in the dabarah, setting it in the tumbler.

Optionally, roasted chicory can be added to the coffee powder. The coffee powder can be up to 20 to 30 percent chicory. Adding chicory will slightly increase the brewing time, which will make the final decoction slightly more extracted.

Even though only a tablespoon or two of the decoction is used in the final beverage, the coffee is quite strong. Without milk added, the decoction is stronger than espresso.


• Choose correct filter size , you have to at least fill quarter and add water accordingly. If you add too much water then the strength may not be thick.

• If the coffee powder is coarse, press tightly to get thick decoction. If the coffee

• If the decoction is brewed very slowly, tap the filter gently with a spoon or show the filter over the flame for few seconds before adding coffee powder.