From India to Toronto, Shilpa Rajahamsa has been pouring Kaapi her whole life. And no, not coffee but Kaapi. The new drink on the block, from your morning ritual to your afternoon pick me up, Kaapi is the new coffee. Bringing us the authentic flavours of India, Kaapi not only has a unique flavour profile but a story of tradition and nostalgia.
If you’ve never heard of Kaapi before, you’re in for a real treat.
Madras Kaapi is a mix of ethically-sourced Arabica Coffee beans from India, locally roasted and combined with Chicory Root and “Jaggery” (Indian cane sugar) and served with milk. Chicory contains multiple health benefits including anti-inflamatory and digestive properties like inulin and prebiotics, and it also has a distinct woodsy and nutty flavour. It is created in a traditional Indian brass or copper tumbler and a Davara, poured back and forth to aerate it. After 15 minutes of adding boiling water, it leaves a strong, concentrated coffee called “decoction.” This process makes for a low-tech, theatrical coffee experience. Copper also has many health benefits as well, adding to the enticement of the very popular drink.
Traditionally, Kaapi is made with 20% to 30% Chicory Root grounds and 70% to 80% coffee grounds in India, but Madras Kaapi keeps the Chicory Root at 10% for all our coffee lovers in Toronto. Usually served hot (even at Indian summer highs of 40 degrees) Kaapi can be made as an iced coffee beverage as well.
[insert quote] “It’s a ritual every morning, you need your hot coffee with the newspaper. And that’s how people literally sit and drink their coffee. It’s a lot of fun to see the joy in people sipping their coffee. And that is something that, you know, I think I want to bring here.” – Shilpa Rajahamsa, founder of Madras Kaapi
The coffee movement in India isn’t new either. Centuries ago (about 400 years) Kaapi was discovered in India after a Yemen Saint called Baba Budan smuggled some coffee beans into India. He planted the beans in the hills of Chikmaglur in Karnataka which is now called the Baba Budan Giri Hill, and a few years later the coffee started to grow. Since coffee needs high elevation it worked perfectly on this particular mountain and since then has been brought to a few other regions in South India as well.
“I want to bring that nostalgia that I grew up with to North America. And I also want to popularize it and make kaapi a mainstream word.” – Shilpa Rajahamsa, founder of Madras Kaapi
Pictured below are various products and a detailed outline of the steps it takes to make a traditional cup of hot Kaapi:
This picture shows the traditional way of drinking Kaapi. It’s called the Davara and Tumbler and the coffee is aerated by pouring it back and forth.
The traditional brass Filter which has two compartments. Add coffee to the first compartment and use the stomper to press it down. Add boiling hot water and in 15 minutes, it collects a thick decoction or a concentrate that can be used to make coffee both hot and iced.
Iced Kaapi with Jaggery (Indian cane sugar) which adds a great flavor to the Kaapi.
A traditional cup of hot Kaapi, typically frothy which is a result of the back and forth aeration.
The Kaapi Kit which contains a bag of Chicory blend coffee, the traditional filter and Davara / Tumbler.
Be sure to check out Madras Kaapi on Instagram (@madraskappi) to see the live Kappi story in action and join in on the fun! Visit their website to learn even more and buy your very own Madras Kaapi to enjoy at home. And heads up Kaapi lovers! Madras Kaapi is set to open its very own cafe in the heart of Toronto this summer! FBI STYLE is definitely excited to be a part of this launch and we are looking forward to visiting as soon as it opens!
I'm a curious, creative, enthusiastic individual with an eye for a good story. As a Bachelor of Public Relations graduate from Humber College, I am passionate about communications and DE&I and sustainability issues. Find me happiest while drinking coffee, snuggled up to my dog, and reading a book or learning about local cultural hotspots.