Friday, September 14, 2007

Of Lunch Boxes and Filter Coffee

A couple of days ago, someone read this post on South Indian filter coffee I'd written a while back and asked me about making it. That set me rummaging through my cupboards for that package of filter coffee powder that my mom insisted, over my objections, I pack when we left Bangalore three months ago (how do moms know what their children want even before they know themselves?). By the time I set the water to boil and got my filter out and got them ready, I was craving it so bad I could taste it in my mouth already.

I hurriedly got the spoon out and started piling on the coffee powder in the top part of the filter. Then I poured the boiling water in, closed the top and waited for the decoction to collect in the receptacle at the bottom.

I waited and waited.

I opened the lid once or twice and found most of the water still in the top part. Twenty minutes later I couldn't take it anymore. I disengaged the top part from the bottom to see what was holding it up and found that the decoction was dripping - literally - drop ... by ... drop ... by ... drop.

Twenty more minutes later when I figured there was enough for one person at the bottom, I poured whatever decoction had collected into a mug. It was thick, to put it mildly. Then I got the saucepan of milk that had been warming up and proceeded to pour it into my coffee mug. The coffee almost reached the rim of the mug but it remained surprisingly dark.

In my eagerness to taste the coffee I had used too much coffee powder. The layer of powder was so thick in the filter that it was not letting the water through.

This reminded me of my mom packing my lunch to school on college. The quantity of food in my lunch box would be directly proportional to the depth of her hunger in the morning. On the days she was hungry when she packed my lunch in the morning, my lunch box would be super heavy and on the days she was not it would be light. She laughed and laughed when I pointed it out to her.

As they say, don't go grocery shopping when you are hungry.


Jordan said...

I personally think you are better getting ground coffee and using a French press, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

he he - my sister figured out this long ago! right after a very heavy lunch out she would ask us - what to make for dinner? we'd groan - NOTHING please! come dinner time we'd be starving and she of course would have made 'nothing' coz thats what we asked for!

ggop said...

I made the mistake of pressing the powder down real tight. That also slows down the decoction making process. Rarely use the filter anymore :-)

Cindy/Snid said...

I've never used the filter coffee maker that you describe, but I have been known to put so much coffee in the french press that I then have a hard time pressing it down!
Oh man- now I have to go make my morning coffee- I woke up late today!

Sujatha Bagal said...

JJ, Cindy, I've never tried the French press. Perhaps it's time I tried. But the South Indian filter works great for me, though. It was only that one time when my cravings dictated the portion size rather than the recipe. :)

D, I follow exactly the same tack with my husband. :) And then we all end up eating ceral!

Shinyshoes, I will venture to say that it's time someone considered a redesign of the filter. The top part gets stuck and the lid gets too hot to open.

Anonymous said...

Thats so true. I make it a point to feed kiddo before I eat. Otherwise I start to feel that I am feeding him a lot and he is going to throw up anytime ( which he quiet frequently does after the last spoon) and end up feeding less :) Its the same with supermarkets. When we go after dinner, we always buy less :)

Anonymous said...

I so agree with this

I will venture to say that it's time someone considered a redesign of the filter. The top part gets stuck and the lid gets too hot to open.

Sue said...


Yes, I get very indignant when my son refuses to eat something I love -- particularly if I'm hungry when I'm feeding him. I guess that's why my mother used to insist on me eating before I fed him.

Oh and I love Southie coffee. Here in Cal coffee is not their strong point (although the tea is pretty good).

Piscean Angel said...

I've never made filter coffee myself but I remember the time when my Tamilian flatmate's mother was visiting us. She wud always have a filter ready with the decoction & I wud always be ready to give her company for her coffee breaks. I loooooovvvvve filter coffee. :)