The Only Filter Kappi Guide You Need | MF Guide
To the uninitiated, filter kaapi, is deliciously strong coffee, served with a dash of milk, in steel glasses. If someone serves you a milky, lightly-coloured cup of coffee and passes it off as filter kaapi, they’re doing it wrong! Having grown up in a South Indian household, my day begins and ends with a cupful of this concoction. Even today, I cannot get my eyes to whip open unless I’ve downed at least one cup of this hot beverage. So, what’s the big deal about this filter kaapi? Why are you always plied with a cupful when you step into a Tam Brahm household? Why is it an omnipresent force in Udipi restaurants, where the servers dole it out with proficiency, taking care not to spill as they pour it from the glass into sparkling davaras?
Well, here’s why. Filter kaapi in a South Indian household is akin to the warmest welcome you will ever receive anywhere across the globe. Not offering your guests some coffee? Tsk, tsk, where are your manners?! Filter kaapi is associated with memories and tradition. I, for one, have seen my mother bustling around in the kitchen before bed-time, pouring the rich coffee powder into the kaapi filter and topping it off with boiling hot water. Result? Rich and delicious coffee, a.k.a decoction (as a South Indian would call it), every morning! It is a daily ritual and the aroma that wafts around the kitchen then, is enough to transport you to paradise.
While a South Indian home is the best place to go to for some authentic kaapi, here’s a list of restaurants that you can visit, to get a taste of my favourite beverage, in Mumbai:
Hotel Ram Ashraya, Matunga East
This popular eatery in Matunga opens up in the wee hours of the morning, with people rushing over to cram in a breakfast of hot idlis and coffee. Go try it out if you haven’t already! They always nail their filter coffee.
Café Madras, Matunga East
This one’s quite the favourite, even amongst celebrities! Deepika Padukone has been quoted as saying that Café Madras is her favourite place for some South Indian food. Their coffee is always frothy and super delicious.
Dakshinayan, Juhu & Malabar Hill
This place is a must-visit if you happen to be around the area. Their range of dosas and sambhar that is (thankfully) not sweet will keep you coming back for more. Need I even mention the steaming hot cups of filter coffee they serve?
Ram Krishna, Vile Parle
A great place to visit, especially for breakfast, Ram Krishna is equipped with extremely quick and efficient staff and delicious food that feels like it’s been whipped up at home. End your meal here on the right note with a hot cuppa.
Sharda Bhavan, Matunga East
It’s true, Matunga does seem to have most of the popular Udipi joints! Sharda Bhavan, a family run establishment, should be your quick fix for a plate of scrumptious upma and a steaming cup of kaapi, served strong, the way it ought to be!
Mani’s Lunch Home, Chembur
This latest outlet of the popular Mani’s, is a great spot for an authentic South Indian meal. But don’t miss out on their tasty breakfast and, of course, their filter coffee.
Banana Leaf, Andheri West
If you’re bored of quick meals in Udipi restaurants, head to this place in 7 Bungalows. The pleasing decor, relaxed vibe and delicious food will put you at ease, as will the piping hot filter coffee served nearly every minute!
Madras Diaries, Bandra West
This space puts a spin on regular South Indian food, serving up jalapeno idlis, broccoli vadas and more! But if you find the thought too jarring, they do have lots of filter coffee to take you back to your comfort zone.
Paaji Balaji, Thane
This newly opened spot in Thane offers the best of both worlds – think dosas from the South with some tadka from the North. While they’re most well-known for their elaborate dosa thalis, served with North Indian gravies like butter chicken, dal and a variety of dosas (yes, there is more than one kind of dosa), they are equally popular for their comforting glass of authentic Madras filter coffee. Go try!
Arya Bhavan, Matunga East & Nariman Point
Owned by the Idli King of Mumbai, Muthuswamy, Arya Bhavan is a name you will find on every foodie’s lips. They’re very well-known not just for their food but for their filter coffee, which is served in gleaming brass glasses instead of the regular steel ones.
Where do you get your favourite cup of filter coffee? We need to know!