To sip the coffee at Kumbakonam Filter Coffee at West Fort is an experience in itself

Bitter-sweet or just sweet? Milky or black with no milk or sugar? Whatever the choice, coffee is not just a beverage even in a city of tea drinkers. It has its high priests and a devout following too. Since I am not a coffee addict, I step into the Kumbakonam Filter Coffee outlet near West Fort with trepidation in my heart.

Soon the steaming brass tumbler of frothy coffee is right under my nose. Piping hot, with the foamy cream still settling down on the sides of the tumbler, it looked picture perfect. I take a sip. Then another. Soon I am cooling it, pouring it from the tumbler to the davarah and back. The aroma is exhilarating. I take short sips, enjoying the sweetness and then the lingering sharp aftertaste. In between I bite into a crunchy, hot bonda.

The Kumbakonam Filter Coffee kiosk is a place to be for any coffee lover. Or maybe this is the place to be initiated into the world of coffee.

The first franchise of the brand in Kerala, this outlet is run by siblings, G. Subramanian and T.G. Kumar. “When we went to Chennai, we happened to have Kumbakonam filter coffee and immediately fell for it. We wanted to bring it to Thiruvananthapuram and our dream materialised four months ago,” says Kumar. They recently opened a new outlet at Kinfra and are planning to have 10 outlets in the city within this year.

The Kumbakonam Filter Coffee is a unit of OMR Escapade and it is marked by its “superior blend of Arabic and Robusta” coffee bean varieties. Most importantly, the coffee has no connection with Kumbakonam. The temple town, known for its products such as brass, bronze, rice, silk and sugar, among other things, simply lends its name to the coffee.

“The coffee is grown in Coorg and we get the powder from Chennai. Ranjith Baba, owner of the brand, is credited with taking it across Tamil Nadu, especially through outlets along the highways in Tamil Nadu,” says Kumar.

The beans, roasted in set temperature, is ground into a coarse form so that the percolation is just right.

“We have been trained to prepare the decoction. The milk has to be very hot and the sugar also has to be used in the right measure. We get milk from Tamil Nadu and use double refined sugar. It is said that coffee tastes better in the brass davarah and tumbler. The tough part is that these vessels have to be cleaned thoroughly,” Kumar adds. The kiosk comes with the filters, boiler and the vessels.

It cost Rs. 10 for a tumbler. The outlet also sells tea and snacks such as bonda, uzhunnuvada and vazhakkabhaji. Even as we wonder whether it is unhygienic to prepare the snacks in the open, by the road side, Kumar stresses that as soon as the snacks are prepared, everything is transferred into glass containers.

Open on all days from 5.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and again from 3.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the outlet also serves breakfast.

Kumbakonam, known for its products such as brass, bronze, rice, silk and sugar, among other things, simply lends its name to the coffee.

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