Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For a cuppa filter coffee

One late afternoon, I was on MG road trying to kill time before meeting my husband. I was browsing through some stores and doing some shopping/window shopping. Since my return from the US, I have been getting used to my mom's first class South Indian filter coffee everyday at around 4.30 pm. Typically, I don't drink too much coffee and am not an afficionado by any measure. Infact, for all the years in the US, all I had on a daily basis was a cup of instant coffee with hot milk in the mornings. :) When on the road, I have enjoyed Starbucks too.

Anyway, as I strolled along I realized that it was my coffee time, 'mom's South Indian filter coffee' time. I was at The Bombay Store, and the nearest coffee joint is the Cafe Coffee Day(CCD), which is adjacent to it. I went to the counter to take a look at the menu. There were the typical espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, decafs, and the like. So I asked the guy at the counter if they served the regular South Indian filter coffee, after all I am in South India, aren't I? And there was no such coffee available. Also I noticed that the per cup coffee prices ranged from the early to the late 30s. I next headed towards Barista, further down from CCD. I could smell the cappuccinos and espressos as I neared Barista. I didn't even bother going in. I wanted my South Indian filter coffee, and that was that.

I walked down further and the very familiar coffee smell greeted me from the India Coffee House (ICH). I walked in and to my surprise the table right next to the big window overlooking MG road was available! I sat at the table facing the window and ordered for a coffee right away. The waiter brought me a cuppa Kapi. No frills and no jazz, just the way I wanted it. The saucer had water droplets, having just been washed. It was a nice big cup of fresh South Indian filter coffee, just like mom's.

After I got the coffee, I ordered a masala dosa. He brought it almost immediately. Nice and very home-made. Loved the simplicity of both my dosa and coffee. I noticed that the menu card hadn't changed in all the years. And the prices were down right low! Right in the middle of MG Road and I just had to pay a total of Rs. 22/-!! Amazing! (Any coffee at CCD was around Rs. 35/-)

I enjoyed the window view as I cleaned off my cup and plate. Nothing had changed. The ICH has probably remained the same for all the 60 odd years. The same old ceiling fans, a few old posters and hangings on the walls, the same red+white uniforms on the waiters, a few tourists, and some regulars. It had the old Bangalore colonial hangover and I was almost transported back in time.
View from the window
There has been the rumor that ICH is going to be razed to the ground, like everything old in the city. The location is very prime. In fact, I am surprised it is still standing what with the espressos becoming the norm in the trendier parts of town. I don't know for how long it is going to be around, but thanks to ICH, I hardly missed my mom's coffee that evening. And my hub got to meet a happy camper!

18 comments:

Jyoti said...

Your blog is really good man. Good work, enjoyed reading it and on so many things, i felt like i was writing it myself. Sigh! The Indian filter coffee and the banana leaf meal were so right on!! Keep writing....

Chitra said...

Thanks Jyoti!

G said...

It's indeed a pity that "trendy" chains like Cafe Coffee Day and Barista don't server regular "south indian coffee".

I think these guys should get that "imitating" the likes of Starbucks need not be their company's motto. They should get some brains of their own and think on how they can be an organization that "includes" the local tastes apart from being trendy.

Ravi said...

South Indian coffee is relatively easy to make. Perhaps, they give very little margins. Hence, it must be more profitable to provide 'refreshingly new' varieties to the Indian palate and make awesome bucks in the process? Just guessing!

Chitra said...

Exactly, my point, G. They can serve the espressos as long as they serve the regular local coffee too. After all, if the Roman feels like an outsider in Rome, what is the point?

Chitra said...

Welcome to my blog, Ravi. You have a point too. But by catering to everybody, they only stand to gain.

sowmya said...

Hi,

This is Sowmya well your blog was a relish to the eyes and heart. I completely agree with your comments, each and everything you relished once in Namma Bengalooru is seriously changing with advent of IT companies here, the whole outlook of this place has changed.

Yeah, lot of things have changed for good but lot of things has really lost its lusture, like the climate, roads, traffic, pollution,long footpaths, and a very important ones are TREES.

Before you could see lots of trees on the way to your school, college, office etc., It was indeed a garden city but these days one only finds new construction sites with new houses, flats, offices, malls coming up everywhere.

It is sad to see such a sight in Our Bangalore.

Harish said...

Nice Write Up. Enjoyed reading your blog. Keep writing.

So many things in Namma bengalooru have changed over the years. Wish Bangalore was the same.
you just perfectly summed up my thoughts. Had wondered so many times why CCD's and Baristas do't serve good South indian Coffee.

Filter Coffee and masala dosa combo, just perfect.

Chitra said...

Sowmya, welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for the nice compliment. I will be writing about the things you have mentioned in the future. Do visit again.

Harish, welcome to my blog. Thanks!

Arun said...

Typically, things that are not 'normal' for you tend to get trendy and sought after and are also priced higher. Most of us drink filter coffee morning and evening and you look for a change in cappuccions and moccas. And when you have missed filter coffee for long time, thats what you would look forward to.

I can feel your craving for filter coffee. At home, I used to make instant coffee for a long time for just one reason - laziness. But the craving eventually won over laziness; now I make filter coffee.

Nice blog, btw.

Chitra said...

Arun, welcome to the blog. Thanks!

I don't if I ever craved for any kind of coffee, since I am not really into coffee. However, since arriving, I am just getting used to good coffee. And just wanted one that evening.

Usha said...

mmm.yum...........mmmmmmmmmm
nice post.

Chitra said...

Usha, thanks! :)

Smitha said...

Chits, another place not to miss for sipping a cup of coffee is Koshy's on St Marks Road. Next time around try that.

Coffee said...

You made my day chitra!!!!! I am anytime for a coffee..... and definately anytime for a filter coffee.... I am not a south indian but still have filter coffee when at home :)

Thanks dear. I am blogrolling you :)

www.withacupofcoffee.wordpress.com

Chitra said...

Coffee, welcome to my blog. Thanks for blogrolling! :)

hrishi said...

It was a wonderful feeling reading your blog on coffee. I must say that one should start with the whole idea of "Filter coffee" coffee shop. The other time when I was in bangalore, I was at Ranga Shankara, and noticed that there were so many 20+ souls who were into filter coffee. I think bangalore is just waiting for one such hang out places where you have mostly the home-made-filter-coffee experience. Oh that reminds me to let you know one more topics you can include sometime in your blog about Ranga Shankara. Its a cool place. Great bloggin!

marina said...

Hello,
Thanks for the Info on Filter Coffee. I'm a big time fan and just luv Filter Coffee.
I actually brought a Fresh And Honest filter coffee machine for my daily use. No more endless trips to the Coffee Houses again
I thought that you might want to know that Fresh and honest offers patented Swiss fresh milk coffee vending machines in India at only the installation cost for corporates. Owners now have the option to pay either per cup of filter coffee or buy coffee beans per KG. Their 24/7 free vending machine upkeep along with a 4 - 24 Hr service turn around time makes them one of the most preferred coffee vending machines provider in the country.
Checkout the type of machines that meet your business needs/ personal machines for top corporate management or even your homes at http://www.fresh-honest.com/

Thanks Again
Marina Lobo