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Chicory & South Indian Filter Coffee + Health Benefits You Should Know

Chicory & South Indian Filter Coffee + Health Benefits You Should Know

How did chicory, a root native to Europe, become an essential ingredient in South Indian filter coffee

From its original purpose as filler during times of shortage, chicory is still added to South Indian Filter coffee today and is a subject of much debate. How much is too much & is it even a true ‘kaapi’ when the chicory is removed?

Here we explore the origins of chicory coffee and the added benefits this humble root brings.

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Origin of Kaapi

Origin of Kaapi

Synonymous with a South Indian home is a coffee filter. The filter helps derive the 'decoction' to be used to form the delicious milky beverage known as filter coffee, a staple in many homes and restaurants.

So, what is filter coffee, and how did it come about to be so popular in South India?

The British introduced a coffee-chicory essence in the late 18th century called Camp Coffee. Over time, South Indians started warming to it, albeit after the addition of milk and sugar. 

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A Brief History of Chicory in India

A Brief History of Chicory in India Before the 1950s, chicory was not cultivated in India. So all South Indian filter coffee had European-imported chicory.

In the late 1950s, the first chicory seeds were imported, and cultivation began in South India. It wasn't until 1971 that businesses realised that chicory cultivation in the South wasn't of the quality they saw in the imported variety.

And so, a family decided to go to the North-West of India and begin cultivation. This saw immediate results in the quality of chicory, and today, India has become one of the finest producers of premium-grade chicory.

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