Coffees of 2023 – Year of the Decoction


Decoction has been part of the South Indian Coffee Scenario since time immemorial. From the conservative 80-20 to the bold 70-30, and the scoff-inducing 90-10 for the newbies, decoction has been in our homes everyday.

The pride wasn’t having a grandson over a grand daughter, it was in the how much the grandchild relished their first sip of kaapi.
I peaked at 6 months and was considered a forerunner because I could sniff the coffee and would wobble around in search of the drinker.

Decoction typically meant extraction of a chicory laced kaapi powder. It was something that was always available at home lest we have unexpected guests or someone with a headache warranting another cup. The South Indian filter was only washed at night or in the wee hours of the morning to prep for a fresh batch.

The beans in question were nameless, faceless, though brands did exist. Kumbakonam mix was the most popular. Leo came a close second because of their iconic song and of course a very young and handsome Aravindsamy.

A decade down the timeline and we have the advent of the liquid decoction sellers. We would have people delivering decoction to our homes. This was first derided by the purists and paatis. Then the decoction made their ways to the annachi kadai and supermarkets in pouches and bottles. That changed a lot of minds – convenience for large gatherings, early working morning and the paatis who claimed “hey I made cold kaapi with the decoction di”

With the advent of specialty coffee, decoction has taken a slight step back, for me.

I dint give up, I did experiment with the SI Filter but you just can’t extract the fruity-winey-fermented notes with a traditional South Indian Filter. I couldn’t.

This brings me to my experiments for “Coffee at Work” which is currently a success for having discovered the decoction. I brew the extract with an aeropress that i then bypass with water for a cup of specialty coffee at work.

I see a lot of coffee people sell their own bottles of decoction. The general market is already flooded with decoction pouches and easy-to-carry single use sachets from various brands. However, what iam most excited about this year is the decoction from the specialty sector.

The best way to tap into the sphere of instant-and-sugary-coffee drinkers who are looking into specialty coffee without the hassle of equipments or the scientific calculations. An absolute delight for travellers without an aeropress. A very promising subscription plan in the offering – much easier and more consistent than beans.

So this year iam looking forward to the decoctions – from everyone! The researcher in me is super excited about playing around with variables like packaging, storage, longetivity, palate difference and preferences with all the decoctions to come!
oh what a fun time to be alive