Coffee makes all things better. But hey, are you in the filter kaapi gang or do you prefer your beverage instant?
Seeking instant gratification is no crime, especially when that morning cup is the sole reason why you wake up each day. If there is ever a ritual that sets off your endorphins and adrenalin rush at the same time, it is making a cup of instant coffee.
The whiff when you open the bottle lid, the crunchy sound when the spoon shovels out the granules, the brown gurgling bubbles that appear as boiling water is added into your favourite mug and the change of colour with the dash of milk — and in seconds after your first sip, you are ready to take on the world. Can this euphoric experience be achieved through an infinite drop by drop brew? Chinese torture would be more welcome.
The bottle in the bag has always brought a sense of comfort on my travels. Anywhere, any time, black or white — I had the power to manipulate my moods. The folks at home could tell my ‘before and after’ coffee moments. The irritable and snappy mood would change into a genial, all’s-well-with-the-world demeanour — with that one cup.
Being the sole coffee drinker at home back then, it was problematic. “For every cup of coffee you better compensate by drinking two glasses of water,” big brother would say. “It’ll kill your appetite,” mother would groan. “Insomnia!” sisters would caution. The side effects of caffeine in your blood stream seemed nothing compared to the joys of the bottled buoyancy.
S B Vijaya Maryis unapologetic about downing two cups while typing this piece and is this close to be crowned Ms. Congeniality!
“I’ll wait, maybe you will have change when more customers walk in,” I suggested, but the man dismissed me with a wave of his palm. This was days after demonetisation was announced in 2016, and I was in Coimbatore at an outlet of a famed coffee brand with only that darned ₹2,000 note, which no one wanted. The aroma of coffee wafted in the air. The thatha was packing freshly ground coffee powder for those who walked in after me. He didn’t look at me even once…
I am no coffee addict. But if I have coffee, it has to be a brewed one — filter, AeroPress, cold brew… you get the drift. Did you say instant coffee? We can never be friends.
You only realise you love something after it is gone. I fell in love with filter coffee after moving to Hyderabad as a cub reporter. Before that, filter coffee was the norm at home in Coimbatore. But here, in the city of Irani chai, I had to actually hunt for filter coffee. In desperation, I tried instant coffee. A few sips later, I wish I hadn’t. This wasn’t coffee, no way.
My coffee filter and filter coffee powder occupy a special space on my kitchen counter. I don’t share coffee powder easily, but I’ll generously disclose a tip (courtesy Bharatanatyam dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant): Along with spoons of coffee powder, add two or three grains of sugar into the filter, just before adding hot water. The sugar crystals help in getting a thicker, richer decoction. Going back to 2016… Mom gave me her stash of filter coffee before I left. The world was bright again.
Sangeetha Devi Dundoo wrote this piece remembering the divine Kumbakonam degree kaapi served in the interiors of Tamil Nadu
(In this column, our writers debate on divisive quandaries)