The Indian filter coffee is variously known as filter coffee, degree coffee, Mysore filter coffee or Kumbakonam coffee, and was a staple in South Indian households long before café chains serving lattes and mochas became fashionable in urban India.
The origin of the filter coffee -- made from a mixture of coffee and chicory -- is attributed to the French during India’s colonial past.
It is rumoured that in the early 17th century, when coffee was in short supply, the French and Germans started blending chicory with coffee. Some others believe that chicory, the roasted and ground root of a plant, was added for its medicinal properties and its use in coffee reduced the caffeine intake.
Whatever the reason, the new coffee turned out to be so flavoursome and popular that the French continued the chicory blend even after coffee became easily available.
The French colonial provinces in India at the time were scattered around the South-eastern coastline, with its capital at present day Pondicherry, a Union Territory of India adjoining Tamil Nadu.
And that’s how history, geography and cultures combine every morning in kitchens across India, in fresh strong brews of filter coffee.