The Story of South Indian Filter Kappi


The Story of South Indian Filter Kappi

 Coffee isn’t just a beverage, it's a personality trait. Coffee lovers are ever loyal to their beverage of choice. This magical beverage is so popular throughout the world because of its adaptability and boldness of flavour. There are an endless number of coffee recipes out there and a dozen ways to brew them! Espressos and Cappuccinos have found their place only recently, however, it's Filter Kappi that has made its way into every Indian coffee lover’s kitchen!

What is South Indian Filter Kappi?

South Indian filter coffee, also known as 'Kappi', is a quintessential part of South Indian culture and cuisine. Filter Kappi or filter coffee gets its name from the brewing method used to prepare this style of coffee. A mix of Chicory with Arabica or Robusta beans, filter coffee is often prepared with milk. Also known as Madras Coffee, Kumbakonam Coffee, Degree Coffee, Mysore Coffee or even Meter Coffee, filter coffee is not just a drink, but a cultural tradition in South India. The southern parts of India are globally renowned for their coffee production and filter coffee gives the region its edge by being a simple and hassle-free way to prepare this drink.


The origin story of Filter Kappi

There are several legends that claim to be the story behind the rise of coffee in South India. According to the Coffee Board of India, a saint by the name of Baba Budan planted the seven seeds of mocha in Chikmagalur, in the 16th century. For a couple of centuries, coffee didn’t get much traction until it was commercially grown in the 18th century. This commercial growth of coffee was initiated and encouraged by the British. Since then, coffee has gained popularity, both as a crop as well as a beverage. The regions of Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and a few northeast regions are the largest producers of coffee in the country.


According to another story, one of the consequences of the world wars was a limited supply of coffee. During this time, an additive called chicory was blended with coffee. Chicory adds a nutty taste to the coffee while also enhancing its taste and aroma. The Coffee Board of India subsequently established India Coffee House which made filter coffee a popular drink across the country.


From bean to bag

Coffee is generally harvested between the months of November and February, depending on the type of bean. Upon harvesting, the red coffee cherries are dried to obtain the green bean. The skins of these beans are then removed through a process known as hulling. These beans are roasted to bring out their delicious, bold flavours. This is where the categories of light roast, medium roast and dark roast come from! The roasted beans are then ground and blended with Chicory to create the filter Kappi powder, which is now ready to be brewed!

How to make a cup of traditional Filter Kappi

Traditionally, filter coffee is made using a metal filter known as a ‘coffee filter’ or ‘decoction filter’. This filter is made up of 4 parts. Firstly, there’s a top cylinder which has holes at the bottom. The filter coffee grounds are added to this container. The next part is a perforated plunger which makes the coffee grounds packed and compact. The holes in the plunger make sure that the water seeps through slowly and steadily, resulting in a strong concoction. The third part is the bottom container which collects the concoction. Finally, there’s the lid which covers the entire filter mechanism and retains the heat of the hot water. This decoction process is ideally repeated many times based on how strong one likes their coffee to be.


After this process is complete, the coffee decoction is mixed with steamed milk and the sweetener of preference. A small tumbler along with a cup made of stainless steel and known as ‘davara’ or ‘dabarah’ is used to serve Filter Kappi. The coffee is poured back and forth between these two cups to cool it down a little.


Filter Kappi has gained popularity owing to its unique flavour and taste. The decoction is typically stronger than regular coffee, adding to its distinguished flavour. Mixing it with boiled or steamed milk lends the coffee its rich, creamy texture that makes South Indian Filter Kappi stand out!

Modern-day alternatives

Filter Kappi is not just a beverage but a ritual in itself. While it can be a delightful experience to go through all the steps mentioned above to create that perfect cup, it might not be possible every time. Making Filter Kappi the traditional way can be a time-consuming process, especially on weekdays when you are on the go and need your quick caffeine fix. TGL Co. offers the best of both worlds through its instant coffee mixes! These coffee powders can be prepared like any other instant coffee without compromising on the delectable flavours of Filter Kappi! TGL Co. carries their Signature Filter Coffee Powder which can be made without using a filter, just like your regular instant coffee. Their Signature Filter Coffee Sticks are pre-portioned and perfect for busy days. They offer well-layered flavours of coffee that are earthy and rich.



South Indian Filter Kappi is more than just a beverage. It is representative of the diverse customs and cultural traditions of the peninsula, making it a quintessential drink for all Indian coffee lovers. Its traditional preparation and unique taste have won the heart of millions around the globe, and this coffee continues to gain popularity even today! Check out the Instant Filter Coffee Powder and other Indian Blends from TGL Co’s curated collection!