Yesterday's Sunday eye of the Indian Express carried an article about Tea where the author boasted that coffee is just to pass the time where as tea is a culture or something like that. My first reaction as a tam brahm (Tamil Brahmin) was indignation and then a ruthless articulation "what would a northerner know about Coffee". But then again I thought over my words and pitied me over my indignation. The author was right about how I make tea. Just pile on everything and bring to a boil, strain and pour out in cups. I thank you sir for helping me know my ignorance in making tea. But when coming to making coffee, that for me is religion. Lovingly wash the filter (not your electrical contraption), a simple stainless steel affair which resembles a mini grain silo. Heat the strainer gently to clear the holes, dole out coffee powder measured to the last grain and tamp it gently. pour boiling water into it and let it drain through the filter. That my dear friends is how my day starts. My God in his pooja room has to wait till I finish this ritual first (I found god even in coffee, so that he could not complain). The next step in making coffee is pouring milk and sugar. How much milk and how much sugar. well that depends on how much coffee you would want to drink My first tumpler of the day is 200ML (Yes I measured it). Pour a little decoction/dikashan) from the filter (it should be still warm), taste a little (should taste like dark choclate, not dairy maik). Pour milk and the liquid mixture should turn from sepia to a shade darker than beige. Add sugar (not to make it sticky sweet). The flavor of coffee is bitter-sweet not sweet-very sweet-sticky sweet. Then add a little more decoction to bring the color to a shade of brown which resembles dark and white chocolate mixed in equal ratio. Mind you please use fresh hot milk not reheated milk. The contraption in my office dispenses this need, the milk is just plain dispensed. Pour it out in a broad tumbler, pick up the newspaper and over to my study where I spend half hour with coffee and newspaper. I would have enjoyed a smoke along with that but wifey dear had ensured that I never smoked at home (thankful for that injunction) and I also quit smoking. The thing about the first tumbler of coffee for me is the cool air around me, the very bitter-less sweet taste of coffee takes me to the seventh heaven riding on the ninth cloud, breathing in the quintessence of coffee. During the time I spend with my morning coffee, I am left undisturbed my son and wife. After marriage my best half understood my love for coffee and undertook to make my morning coffee. She like the author in Sunday Eye was a tea aficionado and was not particularly interested in coffee.In the beginning I was ungratefully critical of the output, but she put in patient effort to make it right every day and every time. Looking back I regret all the criticism I heaped on her earlier efforts . She now makes excellent coffee which I cannot find fault with. I was gifted an electrical percolator for our wedding which I use for mixing with my favorite poison - dark rum. But my morning coffee will never be insulted by being made in this contraption. I have drunk coffee at establishments like cafe coffee day, Costa, Barista and such. They can brew different coffee from aroun the world but still they would be fish out of water if they attempt a tam brahm coffee. For me they cannot and will not be able to match the exacting standards of Saravana Bhavan in Chennai or the erstwhile Gayatri hotel (Sob sob sob) in Hyderabad or Bombay Anand Bhavan in Secunderabad when it comes to making a tam brahm coffee.
Movie with coffee: Jim jarmusch's coffee and cigarettes
Book with Coffee: R K Narayan's Dateless diary especially the section which covers black and white (humph!) coffee
Liquor with coffee: Dark Rum (Old monk and especially contessa)
Pondering with Coffee: Don't ponder. Enjoy the quintessences of coffee
Music with coffee: Vivaldi's Four seasons.
Best Company to spend coffee time: Who else but the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
Coffee powder to water ration: 3 tbsps coffee tamped and pour 150-200 ml of boiling water in the filter. If the decoction has not strained in 15-20 minutes. you have tamped too hard. poke with a fork gently so as to not distrub the coffee and water standing in the filter.
NOTE: I am grateful to the Muslim saint bababuden ( I am not sure of the spelling, so please forgive my ignorance) for bringing coffee to India and my parents for starting me on coffee when I was quite young.