For coffee enthusiasts, an aromatic Indian brew is a glorious sensory drinking experience. From the heady smell of freshly ground beans to pouring from one vessel to another, it engages all the senses.

With a traditional South Indian coffee filter set, some quality beans, and a splash of milk, you can create your own brew right at home. Read on as we walk you through the entire Indian filter coffee brewing process.

Why the Hype Around Traditional Indian Filter Coffee?

Traditional Indian filter coffee is made using a two-vessel system. The upper cup-like portion holds freshly ground coffee mixed with chicory root and lets boiling water seep slowly through a pierced bottom compartment.

This lower vessel captures a dark, dense brew with earthy, herbal aromas. The brew is then combined with hot foamed milk and sugar to produce a drink with a distinct caramel hue and irresistibly smooth, frothy texture.

What You’ll Need for the Perfect Brew

Here’s what you’ll need to recreate this South Indian coffee recipe at home.

Tools for the Task

  • Scale

  • Skillet

  • Coffee grinder

  • Classic South Indian filter set with stainless steel upper and lower containers

  • Any regular stove-top kettle or pot

  • Saucepan

  • Whisk or milk frother

  • Cups

  • Spoons

Key Ingredients

  • High-quality, dark-roast Indian Arabica coffee beans

  • A pinch of chicory root

  • Sugar or jaggery (unrefined sugar) to taste

  • Your choice of dairy or plant-based milk

  • Optional spices - cardamom powder, ginger powder, or cinnamon

Steps to Success: The Brewing Process

Filter coffee preparation is straightforward once you get the basics right. Follow these steps to make 2 servings of this traditional Indian coffee:

Step 1: Grind Coffee Beans

  • Weigh out 60-70 grams of high-quality Indian coffee beans.

  • Grind them into a fine powder in a coffee grinder or using a mortar and pestle.

  • Add a pinch of chicory.

Top Tip - You want an ultra-fine texture similar to espresso grind. This maximises the coffee's surface area for thorough extraction.

Step 2: Boil Water

  • Bring around 230ml of filtered water to a rolling boil. The water will be used to bloom and extract maximum flavour from the fine coffee grounds.

Step 3: Bloom the Coffee

  • Place the roasted fine-grind coffee into the upper cup-shaped portion of your Indian filter set. Slowly add 120ml of the freshly boiled water, just enough to immerse the grounds.

  • Let it bloom for 30 seconds to bring out the beans’ intrinsic flavours before adding the remaining hot water up to the rim.

Step 4: Extract and Filter

  • Allow the freshly ground coffee to steep undisturbed for 10-15 minutes as the hot water passes through the pierced bottom vessel. Avoid the temptation to press down on the grounds! You'll end up with approximately 120ml of thick, dark Indian filter coffee.

Step 5: Heat Milk

  • While the coffee extracts, pour 200ml of milk into a small saucepan. Gently heat on medium, whisking frequently, until frothy and steaming but not boiling.

Step 6: Add Spices (Optional)

  • If you want to add that extra traditional kick, stir spices like cardamom, ginger, or cinnamon, along with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar, into the hot frothed milk.

Step 7: Mix and Pour

Now comes the fun part!

  • Transfer the hot filter coffee between the vessels, steadily pouring back and forth from a height of 12-15 inches. This aerates the coffee capped with a frothy, light brown crema.

Step 8: Combine and Enjoy

  • Place a cup below the filter set.

  • Pour the frothed, spiced milk into the upper vessel, disturbing the foam as little as possible. The coffee will slowly drain into the waiting cup. Allow the foam to melt slightly before enjoying the first velvety, comforting sip of your homemade South Indian filter coffee.

Ideas and Variations

You’ll be surprised by how many adjustments you can try once you perfect the classic style! Here are some ideas:

  • Play with the proportions of decoction, milk, and froth to find your desired balance of sweet, bitter, and creamy

  • For a stronger brew, use more ground coffee or less water

  • Adjust the sugar according to taste preferences

  • Substitute milk with non-dairy alternatives like nutty oat milk

  • Serve the coffee in traditional tumbler sets

Brew Irresistible Indian Filter Coffee with Rave Coffee

From the special equipment to the unique flavour-mixing ritual, brewing coffee in a traditional Indian filter is a coffee experience unlike any other.

An exceptional brewing technique like this calls for an exceptional coffee. At Rave Coffee, we offer a premium Indian single-origin coffee bean that’s your perfect match. Our Indian Monsoon Malabar Coffee No.53 gets its signature complex chocolate flavour from an age-old monsooning process.

The resulting brew has notes of spice and wood, along with a smooth, velvety body that makes an irresistible base for your South Indian coffee creation.