Coffee means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some it’s just a beverage, for others it’s addiction, for some it’s livelihood. Everyone describes coffee with what they connect with.
As a South Indian from Chennai née Madras, Coffee is Tradition. It’s part of our culture. The aroma is what signifies the start of a brand new day. It’s what we welcome our guests with. It’s what we finish our meals with. It’s what we reach out for whether it’s joy or melancholy. Everything can be fixed with a piping hot cup of filter kaapi.
Even as a child, it wasn’t as elusive as it is to kids these days. My great grandfather regularly allowed us to dunk our biscuits into his kaapi aka our first initiation into the dark side. It was then followed up with the last few sips from the davarah – the last sips were the cooled down, sweeter version of the kaapi. we progressed to baby sips and then enjoying mini kaapi like the elders did.
for me kaapi is culture. which is laughable considering the looks Paati gives me when she sees me brewing with a V60 or the aeropress. “appove sonnen science padika vekaatha nu” (translation : Tamil : my parents made me study science and thus iam being very experimental with my coffee)
I inherited a brass SI filter – this while I was still her favourite kaapi drinking grandchild and way before the world of speciality coffee. in South Indian terms this is akin to receiving gold heirlooms.
I also have a teeny stainless steel SI filter that I use for mini morning cups albeit black.
The SI filter is a cultural representation of coffee. Much like the Turkish version. What this allows you is the flexibility of bringing your own touch to it. There are etched brass and steel ones that sell at prices higher than an aeropress go. there are ceramic and hand painted ones that sell for even higher. not controlled by the corporate, yet steeped in culture, the simple SI filter gives you the freedom to cherish and present it in your own perspective. you can’t do this with a V60, an AP or a Siphon now can you.
a few months ago, I came across this company that was putting out steel SI filters. I have nothing against the product, brand or pricing – as I said to each their own. what fascinated me was the comment section under the post announcing said product. one person (South Indian) commented on how the product was priced in 1000s when the local store would give you the same for 100s. an argument of truth but you can’t fight someone for selling what they do. you can buy a samosa for 5rs or 500rs. the choice is yours. you can’t fault the samosa seller.
but what caught my eye was actually a response to the same. a very eminent name in the coffee scene argued about being a coffee lover and yet hesitating to spend 1000 and about coffee supply chain and farms (which had nothing to do with the product in question)
so, who’s at fault here?
not the product owner : it’s a free country. I won’t fault them even if they have priced at product at 10,000/-. the product is clearly targeting at an international audience that has the fascination for overpriced products of colonised countries and are ready to shell out in many thousands for products that are available dime a dozen in India because 1. Colonised Culture 2. conversion in dollars and pounds still isn’t much for them given the rate of growth of their economy.
not so much the Indian who commented on the price : he has a right to voice his opinion but that’s exactly where his limits end. in the world where brands like sleepy owl exist, i can live with someone selling a seemingly overpriced SI filter.
not so much the coffee expert too : his POV comes from ignorance and in alignment with what the the brand is selling – the product and what it stands for.
when it comes to coffee brewing – the only rule is, there are no rules.
coffee is extremely personal so don’t yuck someone’s yum just because you believe what you are doing is right. the person who simply cups their coffee or uses a French press may have a better developed palate than your SCA abiding self.
there are no wrong recipes, only trials.
there are no wrong techniques, only experiments .
to each their own, truly.
allow people to enjoy the coffee they want to , in the way they want to. dark roasts with milk be your jam? awesome! winey, fruit coffees brewed delicately over filterpapers is what tickles your fancy? great! can’t taste any of the notes written on the pack and yet your enjoy brewing your cup of speciality coffee? fantastic!
the world of specialty coffee is snobby by definition because it’s the elite-ness that people buy into. it’s sad because people are snobs when they don’t have a foot to stand on, but it’s also great because the good ones stand out like reflectors on a dark night and make for superbly amazing friends (yes, that includes the kindest of folks running estates too)
we have much bigger problems in the world where even fundamental rights aren’t being met. on Instagram, it is oxymoronic to read the comments on such a post and then immediately go on to read a Faye D’Souza post about World News.
there’s only one ratio that matters when it comes to coffee
coffee in, happiness out.
have a great international coffee day!!
celebrate the beverage, have fun brewing and make the most of all the discounts that are available today 🙂 🙂