Kaapi: Way Coffee Should be Enjoyed

How to make south indian coffee kaapi by Arun Shanbhag
Running Update: To keep up with my training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC I had to run 13 miles through partial rain and dodging puddles the entire way. Running with squishy shoes for a couple of hours is not fun! I made it around in horrible time and sore hamstrings.

This year its the hamstrings and lung capacity which have been slowing me. Appears my lungs have NOT fully recovered from the bronchitis I got earlier in the Spring and kept me from the Boston Marathon. For the first four miles, I find myself gasping and unable to pick my pace. My doctor is not surprised and mentions that after bronchitis, lungs need 6-8 months to recover vital capacity. While I don’t notice a deficit in most activities, running long distances needs my entire lung capacity, which is still compromised. But I plod on! Have no hopes for breaking 4 hours, but it would be good to FINISH a marathon this year!

How do I pick myself up after a lousy run on a wet weekend? A nice cup of piping hot, South Indian style kaapi! The perfect antidote for a washed out weekend.

Several years ago I gave up morning coffee for Almond Pista Milk, but around mid-day, I prefer kaapi. Not sure why, but kaapi is NOT acidic (like those from american coffee makers) and does not aggravate my running-induced acidity. Perhaps its the admixed chicory.

We have a couple of these traditional south indian coffee makers (see pic above). The lower container is a simple cup, the upper has a sieved bottom into which you place the coffee grounds: Indian BRU coffee powder, with its blend of chicory, and available in Indian grocery stores. Then cover the powder with the perforated ‘stay.’
How to make south indian coffee kaapi by Arun Shanbhag

Separately boil water in a kettle and pour in upper container. Close the lid, let the hot water percolate through the grounds and the ‘decoction’ collects in the bottom container. Takes ~ 10-15 minutes.
How to make south indian coffee kaapi by Arun Shanbhag
Heat (microwave) milk in a cup, pour the desired amount of decoction, add (brown) sugar and stir. It’s important to aerate the coffee by pouring it from one cup into another. M is good! This homogenizes the milk and coffee, and tops with a nice froth. This essential step infuses life-giving prana into the coffee.

How to make south indian coffee kaapi by Arun Shanbhag

See traditional coffee served at the Shanbhag Fastfood in Hospet.

Sip Slowly. Watch Grass Grow. Run Fast. Enjoy Life.

How to make south indian coffee kaapi by Arun Shanbhag

Wonderful post from Ganga, at A Life (Time) of Cooking, on South Indian Coffee.

My Konkani Favorite Recipes:


73 thoughts on “Kaapi: Way Coffee Should be Enjoyed

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    1. You should be able to get this at any large Indian Grocery Store in Jackson heights in New York.
      Many of the larger grocers or steel utensil shops in Edison, NJ should also carry it. If you don’t find it, ask one of the store assistants to help you; and just look around the Steel utensil sections. Some folks may not know what this is called, or what it could be used for. And be alert for changes to outside designs.

      Best Wishes

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