How to Make Kumbakonam Filter Coffee at Home

Dec 04 , 2023

Levista India


Filter coffee is a strong, flavoursome brew that carries the rich culture of South India. Among the various styles, Kumbakonam filter coffee from the small town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu is particularly renowned for its rich, robust taste.

Ah, the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, the sound of water brewing and the anticipation of that first sip! There's something truly magical about making and enjoying a cup of Kumbakonam filter coffee. 

If you're a fellow coffee aficionado who's been longing to recreate the rich, aromatic experience of this South Indian classic in the comfort of your own home, you're in the right place! In this guide, we'll take you through the delightful journey of crafting the perfect Kumbakonam coffee filter, step by step.

Origin of Kumbakonam Filter Coffee


What comes to your mind when you think of filter coffee? Hot tipping coffee served in a brass dabara or the tumbler set? Yes!

To truly appreciate Kumbakonam filter coffee, we must first understand its roots. This drink originated in the town of Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district, an area known for its exquisite South Indian filter coffee. 

What's particularly interesting is that Kumbakonam coffee didn't gain widespread popularity until the 1960s. 

That's when enterprising businessmen began promoting it as the "Kumbakonam filter coffee degree" to attract more customers. The "degree" referred to the coffee's thickness after mixing- almost like syrup. 

This marketing ploy worked wonders, and soon, Kumbakonam coffee's fame had spread across Tamil Nadu and beyond.

How Do You Make Kumbakonam Filter Coffee At Home?


Now, let's get ready and see what all the hype is about! We'll walk you through the process step-by-step.

Ingredients Used

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground filter coffee (a blend of coffee and chicory)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup full-cream milk
  • Sugar to taste

    Preparation Method

    1. Begin by boiling some water in a small saucepan. This will be used to brew the coffee.
    2. Place the ground coffee in the coffee filter or filter holder of your choice. You can also use a traditional cloth filter for maximum flavour.
    3. Once the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly (about 30 seconds). This prevents burning the coffee grounds.
    4. Slowly pour the hot water into the coffee filter, taking care not to over-saturate the grounds. Let it drip through naturally without pressing.
    5. Allow the coffee decoction (filtrate) to fully drip through, about 5-7 minutes. You'll end up with 3/4 to 1 cup of strong, concentrated liquid.
    6. In the meantime, bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan on the stove. Make sure not to overheat it.
    7. Once the milk is steaming hot, remove it from heat and allow it to cool slightly. This prevents curdling later.
    8. In your serving glass, add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. Pour in the coffee decoction, then top up with the hot milk.
    9. Use a small whisk or spoon to gently mix together without creating froth. The coffee should be thick and syrupy.
    10. Top with a dusting of ground coffee if desired, and enjoy your Kumbakonam filter coffee right away!

    Make Kumbakonam filter coffee using Levista Coffee powder. 

    Levista offers two filter coffee variations with different proportions of Chicory. 

    1. 60% coffee and 40% chicory
    2. 80% coffee and 20% chicory

    Choose the one according to your taste. 

    What’s So Special About Kumbakonam Filter Coffee?

    You may wonder what makes this brew different from any other coffee. A few key factors set Kumbakonam coffee apart.

    #1 Richness from the full-cream milk: Unlike Americano-style coffee that uses mostly water, Kumbakonam coffee uses full-fat milk. This creates an incredibly creamy, almost milkshake-like texture.

    #2 Intense coffee flavour: The cloth filtering process extracts maximum flavour from the coffee grounds without bitterness. Coupled with the decoction brewing method, it results in a very strong coffee taste.

    #3 Thick, syrup-like consistency: Using only hot milk and no additional water means the finished coffee coats your mouth nicely. It has an almost fudgy mouthfeel.

    #4 Aroma: Between the steaming milk and fragrant coffee grounds, your kitchen will be filled with heavenly smells as it brews.

    #5 Smoothness: Despite its intensity, well-made Kumbakonam coffee has no acidity or harsh notes. The milk provides a silky smoothness.

    Tips for a Perfect Kumbakonam Coffee

    Here are some more tips for making the perfect Kumbakonam filter coffee.

    • For the authentic Kumbakonam flavour, look for high-quality robusta beans. 
    • Right before brewing, grind just enough whole beans for your batch using a burr grinder. This ensures maximum aroma and taste. Coarsely ground is ideal for filter brewing.
    • Bring the water to a boil, then let it cool slightly for 30 seconds before pouring over the grounds. Too hot will yield a bitter brew; too cool won't fully extract flavours.
    • Steep the grounds for 5-7 minutes to let flavours permeate the water fully. Shorter/longer brewing won't give you a balanced flavour.
    • Warm milk over low heat until just simmering. Higher heat may scorch or curdle it, spoiling the velvety texture.
    • Simply pour the coffee into the milk and gently whisk to combine without creating foam. Too much mixing incorporates air for a thinner drink.
    • Start with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and adjust to your taste. Too much sugar masks coffee notes. Jaggery is a traditional alternative.
    • For the best flavours, drink your Kumbakonam coffee right after preparation while still hot. It continues to thicken as it gets cold.
    • Traditional cloth filters give the cleanest extraction without fines/ bitterness. Paper ones work, too, but require occasional rinsing.

    Lastly, don't forget to garnish! A sprinkle of ground coffee on top adds aroma and visual appeal to your finished cup. With some practice, you'll be crafting restaurant-worthy Kumbakonam coffee in no time.

    In Conclusion

    You can enjoy the legendary Kumbakonam coffee filter in your home with just a few simple ingredients and some patience during preparation. Perfecting the technique does take some practice, but the results are well worth it for a rich, robust cup of South Indian coffee. Following the traditional methods will allow you to understand what makes this speciality brew so special. 

    Choose Levista For Your Coffee Cravings!

    If you don’t have time, it’s better to use Levista’s super easy filter coffee powder on the go for a win! With two different coffee and chicory proportions to your rescue, Levista powers your day with its magic blends. We bet you will have an authentic filter coffee experience!

    Purchase your filter coffee powders here.



    Which place is famous for filter coffee?

    The southern state of Tamil Nadu in India is famous for filter coffee. Filter coffee, also known as "South Indian filter coffee", is a traditional coffee beverage consumed in Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India. It is prepared by brewing coffee beans using a filter made of muslin cloth.

    Which filter is best for filter coffee?

    The traditional muslin cloth filtering method is best for the ultimate flavour extraction. Plus, they are reusable options suitable for those seeking to reduce waste or obtain a fuller flavour profile.

    What is special about Kumbakonam coffee?

    Kumbakonam coffee is known for its unique brewing process, which involves filtering coffee through a muslin cloth. This gives the coffee a very smooth and rich texture. The speciality of Kumbakonam coffee also lies in the specific blend of coffee beans used, which often includes Arabica and Robusta varieties, resulting in a distinctive flavour.

    Which beans should be used for filter coffee?

    The best beans to use for filter coffee are robusta and arabica coffee beans. Using beans from the South Indian states where coffee is widely grown, such as Karnataka or Tamil Nadu, also results in a flavour profile well-suited for traditional Indian filter coffee preparation and taste.

    Is filter coffee worth it?

    For many coffee lovers in South India, filter coffee is undoubtedly worth it due to its unique taste and experience. While it takes more time and effort to prepare than instant coffee, the rich, robust flavour profile and warmth from a freshly brewed cup of filter coffee make it a worthwhile daily ritual.

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