South Indian Coffee, also known as Filter Coffee is a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%-80%) and chicory (20%-30%), especially popular in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The most commonly used coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta grown in the hills of Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan), Kerala (Malabar region) and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District, Yercaud and Kodaikanal).
Outside India, a coffee drink prepared using a filter may be known as Filter Coffee or as Drip Coffee as the water passes through the grounds solely by gravity and not under pressure or in longer-term contact.
South Indian coffee is brewed with a metal device that resembles two cylindrical cups, one of which has a pierced bottom that nests into the top of the "tumbler" cup, leaving ample room underneath to receive the brewed coffee. The upper cup has two removable parts: a pierced pressing disc with a central stem handle, and a covering lid.
The upper cup is loaded with fresh ground coffee mixed with chicory (~2 tablespoons of mixture per serving). The grounds are gently compressed with the stemmed disc into a uniform layer across the cup's pierced bottom. With the press disc left in place, the upper cup is nested into the top of the tumbler and boiling water is poured inside. The lid is placed on top, and the device is left to slowly drip the brewed coffee into the bottom. The chicory sort of holds on to the hot water a little longer, letting the water extract more flavour from the coffee powder. The brew is generally stronger than western "drip style" coffee.
The resulting brew is very potent, and is traditionally consumed by adding 1–2 tablespoons to a cup of boiling milk with the preferred amount of sugar. The coffee is drunk from the tumbler (although a word of English origin, it seems to be the most commonly used name for this vessel), but is often cooled first with a dabarah - "dabarah" (also pronounced in some regions as 'davarah'): a wide metal saucer with lipped walls.
Coffee is typically served after pouring back and forth between the dabarah and the tumbler in huge arc-like motions of the hand. This serves several purposes: mixing the ingredients (including sugar) thoroughly; cooling the hot coffee down to a sipping temperature; and most importantly, aerating the mix without introducing extra water (such as with a steam wand used for frothing cappucinos). An anecdote related to the distance between the pouring and receiving cup leads to the coffee's another name "Meter Coffee".
Coffee is something of a cultural icon in Andhra, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. It is customary to offer a cup of coffee to any visitor. Coffee was originally introduced by Baba Buden to South India in 16th century and became very popular under the British Rule. Until the middle of the 20th century traditional households would not use granulated sugar but used jaggery or honey, instead in coffee.