In Bangalore, good mornings come with steaming-hot cups of filter coffee brewed extra strong. The fragrant concoction has fuelled the city for decades – with both old-school and modern establishments featuring it on their menus. Here’s our pick of the best spots for a sip.
Frothy, flavourful, and fragrant filter coffee – or kaapi, if you will, is an indispensable part of the dietary habits of Bangalore. This South Indian love affair began sometime in the early 17th century. The story goes that one Baba Budan – a Sufi saint – smuggled coffee beans into India from present-day Yemen on his way back from a pilgrimage to Mecca. He then planted them in the Chandragiri Hills of Chikmagalur, which is now a popular producer of coffee and, as such, a beloved neighbour to the caffeine-enthusiast population of Karnataka’s capital. Establishments across the city- iconic vintage spots and new restaurants – feature the beverage on their menus. Some choose to make it extra strong while others pack on the sugar – catering to a range of preferences. Regardless of which is more your speed, a visit to each comes highly recommended. Here’s our pick of the lot.
Best shops in Bangalore to grab a cup of piping-hot filter coffee
Indian Coffee House
Old Bangalore vibes at the Indian coffee house. pic.twitter.com/9tuilxszSg
— Soni Amrite (@Soniabhay6) June 18, 2022
This old-school spot which has been around since 1957 draws diners in scores, despite the recent advent of artisanal coffee in the city. This could be due to its nostalgic charm – with the yesteryear portraits on the walls and service staff clad in red and white uniforms. But the filter coffee here, that’s brewed without chicory and served in a traditional cup and saucer is the biggest draw. Best paired with their masala dosa, beetroot cutlets, and eggs on toast, the coffee is a must-try. Best part? It’s ridiculously affordable so you can indulge in a few extra sips.
Address: 19, Ground Floor, Church Street, Bangalore
Contact: +91 80255 87088
Brahmin’s Coffee Bar
A trip to Bengaluru is incomplete without a visit to Brahmin’s Coffee Bar. Possibly the best idli-vada-coffee. pic.twitter.com/fgWNuVfkYr
— Rajeev Mantri (@RMantri) October 8, 2021
Little glass tumblers of coffee draw big numbers at this spot – even as early as 6:00 am. Brahmin’s Coffee Bar – which has been around since 1965, is popular among a large cross-section of people. Most rave about the idlis with chutney as well as the khara bath, kesari bath, and upma. However, the filter coffee brewed extra strong with Chikmagalur coffee, has its own cult following. Brace for long lines though – the wait is worth every sip.
Address: Ranga Rao Road, Basavanagudi, Bangalore
Contact: +91 98450 30234
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Shree Sagar (CTR)
Another popular spot that often deals in long queues and wait times – CTR has been around since the 1920s. This makes it one of the oldest establishments in the city. The space is best known for its ghee-laden benne dosas – crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside. The idlis, goli bajji, rava idli, and maddur vada are popular as well. However, a meal here is incomplete without a cup of their classic filter coffee. The secret? Loyalty to the recipe that’s worked like a charm for them for years.
Address: 7th Cross, Margosa Road, Malleshwaram, Bangalore
Contact: +91 80233 17531
I did not want to take a chance. Had a great filter Coffee at Airlines Hotel, today. God only knows what life would be without it. #BengaluruLockdown pic.twitter.com/rV73xURG4G
— DP SATISH (@dp_satish) July 13, 2020
Walk by St. Mark’s Road in the centre of the city and you’re bound to spot this vintage establishment that’s marked by college students and office goers on a smoke break. The freshly-brewed filter coffee here is an indispensable part of the ambience – long tables, tall trees, and the waft of piping-hot dosas in the air. The chow chow bath, kesari bath, and lunch thalis are also perfect complements to the caffeinated beverage. What makes it special? An age-old recipe, smooth flavour, and generous servings (think tall glasses) to pump you up.
Address: 4, Madras Bank Road, Off Lavelle Road, Lavelle Road, Bangalore
Contact: +91 80222 18776
Namma Filter Coffee
Relatively young as compared to other spots on this list, Namma Filter Coffee has several varieties of filter coffee on its menu. This includes the signature blend of Arabica, Robusta, and Chicory as well as renditions with jaggery, ginger, and hand-churned milk. These pair well with the local-favourite benne biscuit and Congress khara bun. If you’re in the neighbourhood, give this spot a go.
Address: 176/42, Near NMKRV College, 22nd Cross, 3rd Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore
Contact: +91 96207 12888
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Morning filter coffee at the iconic Koshy’s in #Bangalore .. pic.twitter.com/ZEIs2qfKaC
— Nirupama Menon Rao 🇮🇳 (@NMenonRao) July 18, 2016
One of the most iconic establishments in the city, Koshy’s received the most stellar recommendation from Bengaluru-based historian Ramachandra Guha who once famously stated, “I can probably (just about) live without music, cricket, and even books, but life without Parade’s (Koshy’s) is impossible to contemplate.” The menu here features a fun mix of chicken liver toast, prawn biryani, bacon omelette, mushroom toast, ham sandwich, and vegetable cutlet. Each pairs deliciously with their filter coffee, the recipe for which has been meticulously crafted by the cafe. Brewed strong using a coffee filter that’s been around for decades, each sip packs a punch.
Address: 39, St. Marks Road, Bangalore
Contact: +91 80222 13793
A household name in the city, MTR is over a century old. Since its establishment, it has served up the most delicious idlis and coffee. Naturally, the chefs here know a thing or two about South Indian caffeinated beverages. And despite expansion over the years, the recipe and formula of the coffee has reportedly remained unchanged – with beans being ground early in the morning every day for the freshest brew. Pair a sip with their popular rava idli, bisibele bath, upma, or dosa.
Address: 4, Lal Bagh Main Rd, Doddamavalli, Sudhama Nagar
Contact: +91 98868 94128
With over 75 years of service to its name, Vidyarthi Bavan has a cult following in Bangalore. The dosas here are thick, fluffy, and golden – some of the best in the city. The kesari bath and medu vadas are close seconds. Rounding out the meal here on a punchy note is their classic South Indian filter coffee made by experts using the finest ingredients in their right proportions. If you like your cup of Joe aromatic and not too sweet, you’ll be delighted by this one.
Address: 32, Near Gandhi Bazaar Circle, Basavanagudi, Bangalore
Contact: +91 80266 77588
Promising coffee that ‘stirs your soul,’ this is another modern establishment that serves up classic options. Their filter coffee powder – 80% coffee and 20% chicory – is a popular sight in most South Indian homes. Naturally, a cup at the cafe itself comes highly recommended, especially with a side of their samosas and sandwiches.
Address: 1 & 2, Tower B, Murphy Road, Ulsoor, Bangalore
Contact: +91 95919 99434
Which of these filter coffee spots in Bangalore are you headed to for your next sip?
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All images: Courtesy Brand/Shutterstock
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India
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