Posted by: filtercoffeeaddict | January 28, 2010

First things first- Filter coffee and me

Yawn. Whew. It is early in the morning, 9.00 AM (Chitraguptan to himself: Poi, poi. Poi Sollaral. Pathu mannikku koranju yezhundhukkavemattal; idhayum kannakku la sethukkanum). {English translation- The Hindu God who keeps track of all deeds done on earth thinks to himself: Lie, Lie. She’s bluffing. She never gets up before 10. AM; I should add this one also to her tally} Yawn. Enough about sleep. It is such a worthy topic, maybe I will write about that some time later..

The first thing I do is to get my caffeine fix so the engine can get going. While any kind of java will do in a real fix, the best fix if you ask me, is the filter coffee or the filter kaapi. Those who don’t know what Filter coffee is, please refer to the wiki article @ Poor ignorant souls. Sigh. Anyway, fixing coffee is of course after I relieve myself of the nightly bladder collections and brush my teeth (I don’t care to discuss the order in which these activities are undertaken- depends a lot on various pressures and odors-lets just say it is very variable and leave it at that). Also commonly observed in many coffee drinkers worldwide is that drinking hot coffee or a similar hot beverage triggers the disposal of rectal contents.

Pauses- what would amma (mother) say if she read this?
Enna yezhavu di idhu? {What nonsense is this?}
Idhu ellam pathiya yezhudhuva? (Lord) Krishna!!!{Is this even something to write about? Oh My God!!!}
Kaapi pathi yezhudharennu yenna kandravi yellam yezhudhara! {You say this is about coffee, but what crap is this??!!}
Vekkama illa? Oru ponnu ippidiya yezhudhuva? Adhuvum oru public blogla? {Don’t you feel shy? Writing about such unfeminine things, that too in a public blog?} This is the point when she was put on ignore mode…

Anyway, getting back to the coffee- making a good tumbler of filter kaapi is an art in its own right. It starts with using really fresh kaapi podi (powder). It goes without saying that the podi should come from a reliable source (Leo/Narasus Kappi{brands} or your theru kaapi kadai {your neighborhood coffee shop} ) where they mix fresh roasted beans and chicory (optional) in the proportion that tickles your tongue. Once you have  fresh kaapi podi with you, you can start making your coffee (stop: you can finish reading how filter kaapi is made first and then read how to secure fresh kaapi podi in the U.S or you can read how to secure fresh kaapi podi first and then come back here). The decoction (the concoction that drips into the bottom compartment when hot water is added to the podi in the top section of a coffee filter) should ideally be hot and fresh. Using luke warm/room temperature decoction brings down the serving temperature of the drink. Stop right there…don’t even wonder what happens if you use cold decoction from the fridge..this is considered a sin in the Aathu kappi {home brewed coffee} industry. The decoction should also be of the right consistency. It should neither be too thick or too thin.  If the decoc is too thick, you will have to add a lot of milk to bring coffee to make the kaapi just right (can result in excess kaapi, a waste of milk and more importantly the podi when it is so hard to come by in the U.S). If the decoc is too thin, no matter how much milk you add, it will result in thanni kappi {watery coffee} which is acceptable only in the railway station and in a train. Next, the milk is a factor that affects the flavor a whole lot. Using aavin paal for kaapi is the preferred choice. If you buy your milk fresh from the paalkaran {local milkman}, the end result can vary even further. It really depends on what amma told him yesterday when he brought the milk in quite late (oops…appa’s {father’s} newspaper had already come in some 20 mins earlier and he was harassing poor amma about why she didn’t have the forethought to have an additional arai liter {half a liter} paal{milk} in the fridge and she in turn told the paalkaran off for being late). So one can predict that today the paal karan would have added around 500 ml thanni to a liter of milk rather than his usual 300 ml thanni.  And the milk has to be boiling/steaming hot. If you heat your milk in the microwave, the milk has to really boil (as in big,big bubbles in the milk should be sighted) although boiling the milk when the milk is already pasteurized is not essential for other mundane purposes. So, we have established that the quality of the decoction and milk really do affect the quality of kaapi. Next comes the sugar. It has to be exactly the right varies for each I won’t go on about it. But let me just caution, too little sugar will make the coffee bitter and too much will make it taste like payasam (an indian porridge). Last but not the least, the contents have to mixed together using a dabara and tumbler, aathified {for clarification about dabara, tumbler refer the wiki article} just 2 times (3 at the most) to produce to just enough froth.

How to lay your hands on some Kaapi Podi in the U.S: Entire process is completed in 4 steps.

Step A
KA (kaapi addict): amma, unnakku therinjava yaaravadhu ippo U.S varala? {Do you know if any known person is  coming to the U.S anytime now}
Amma: namba X mama illa? Avaroda rendavadhu payan Y irrukannono? Avan wife oda brother adutha varam San Jose poranam. Yen di ketkarai? {literal transltions: Our X uncle no? His 2nd son Y is there, no? His wife’s brother is going to San Jose next week it seems. Why do you ask?}
KA to amma: Illa ma, kaapi podi theendhu poyiduthu. Onakku dhan ivarai pathi nanna theriyume. Daily karthala munumunukka aarambichutar. Coffee seri illa, thanni ya irruku, kasakardhu nnu, paal seriya kaachu nnu (naisa pazhiyai aathukar mela podaral nnu observes Mr. Chitraguptan).  {No ma, kaapi podi got over. You know about him no. Daily morning he has started grumbling. Says Coffee is not right, its watery, its bitter, boil the milk properly etc (slyly passes on the blame on her hubby, observes Mr. Chitraguptan}
amma: apidiya. seri. naan ketkaren. { is it? ok. I will ask.}

Step B
amma to X mama: Mama, eppidi irrukel? Nanna irrukella? Y eppidi irrukan? Mrs. Y eppidi irrukal? {Mr X, how are you? Are you doing well? How is Y? How is Mrs. Y?}
mama to amma: Ellarum bhagavan kripainallai nanna kshemama irrukkom. Sollungo, enna vishayam? {All of us are doing by god’s grace. Tell, whats the matter?}
amma to mama: Onnum illai mama, onga matu-ponnu Mrs.Y irrukalono? Avaloda brother adutha varam San Jose poraname? Onnum illa, thuli kaapi podi en ponnukku annupanum avan mulyama. { Nothing much, your daughter-in-law Mrs Y is there no? I heard her brother is going to San Jose next week. Nothing much, I have to send a wee-bit of coffee powder to my daughter through him.}
mama to amma: Adhunala enna ma, namba manushaluku namba dhan help pannanum. (Mama X, equally picky about his coffee sympathizes) Pavam, nandhan parthene, ennoda modhal payan Bostonla irrukanolyo? Ange 3 masam irundhen. Kaapi seriye illai. {So what? We only have to help our own people? (Mama X, equally picky about his coffee sympathizes) Poor people, I have seen no, my first son is in Boston right? I stayed with him for 3 months. Coffee is just not right there}
amma to mama: romba thanks mama. nango nalaike vandhu kudukarom. { Thank you very much mama. We’ll come by tomorrow to give it}

Step C:
Mrs Y to Mr. Y : Yaaram idhu? Kaapi podi yenna U.S la kadaikave kadaikadha? Anga dhan ellame oho-oho nnu irrukku nu pesikarale ellarum. Seri, avaa dhan ketkaralam na, onga appa eppidi yen brotherai ketkamaye ok nnu solluvar? Pavam avan, avanukke evalo saman irruku. Kaapi podiya suitcasella vaccha thuni-mani ellam kaapi smell adikkum. Nanna- pack pannuvalo matalo. Pongo.  Bro kittendhu eppidi vangipalam? Illai adhayum courier/post pannanuma? Adhukku kaasu yaar kudupalam? Adhuvum nammam dhana? Hmm..
{Who is this anyway? Don’t you get coffee powder in the U.S? And people say everything is so “awesome” in the U.S. Alright, their asking such a favor aside, how could your dad say yes without asking my bro? Poor guy, he already has a lot to carry. If you keep coffee powder in the suitcase, clothes and everything else will end up smelling like coffee. Ok- will they atleast pack the powder properly? Go man! How will they collect it from my brother? Or will he have to courier/post that too? Who will pay for that? Is that also a right off? Hmmm}

Mr. Y (an enlightened soul): Yes….

Mrs. Y to Bro: Enga mamanarukku therinjava ava ponnukaga onn muliyama kaapi podi kuthu annuparalam. Parava illiya? Yedam irrukuma? {Somebody known to my father-in-law wants to send some coffee powder through you. Is that Ok? Will you have space?}

Bro (a bachelor who travels light anyway): No problem.

Step D:

KA to Bro: Thank you so much for bringing this for us. Nalla aathu sappadu sapadanumna eppo vennumnalum come home. {If you want to eat good home made food, please come home any time}

Bro to KA: No problem at all.

Bro becomes a regular visitor to KA’s home; surprisingly all visits occur during lunch or dinner times.

Okay..that’s it for this’s time for a coffee..:)