Good filter coffee


Santhanam Gopalakrishnan Iyer (let’s call him Sandy for short) was proud of his Tamil Iyer heritage. After all his grandfather (too long a name, let’s just call him Thatha) was Director General of Schools in Kerala. His father (another long name, let’s just call him Appa) was an IAS Officer from the 1976 batch and had a long distinguished service. Sandy was no less an achiever. He had completed his Chartered Accountancy when he was 22, his Cost Accounting credentials were proved when he cleared those exams when he was 23, and as if this was not enough he also became a Certified Company Secretary when he was just 25 yrs old.

Sandy was more than convinced that along with the wonderful gene pool which he inherited from his achiever grandparents and parents, the secret to his success was a strict regime that he followed on a daily basis. Getting up at 5 AM, brushing his teeth and completion of his morning ablutions, followed by a cup of hot filter coffee was the secret to his sprightliness in the mornings. Sandy was a worshipper of caffeine in its purest form, the decoction concocted by having the same filtered through a stainless steel coffee filter, and he had to have filter coffee in the mornings, no matter what condition the rest of the world was in. This and the fact that Sandy was a strict vegetarian as was the norm for all TamBrahms also reinforced his belief that filter coffee and vegetarian food were the secret of his success.

By the time he was 30 yrs old, Sandy was a globe-trotter in every sense of the world. His high profile Management Consultancy job took him to extremely offbeat places such as Bosnia, Ethiopia, Liberia and closer home, to the South East Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. And irrespective of whatever else he packed, he ensured that his faithful Salem Stainless Steel coffee filter made all these trips with him. In all the cities he went, he made it a point to taste the best local coffee, buy a couple of hundred grams of the same, and prepare and drink his early morning filter coffee without fail.  He also made it a point only to have strict vegetarian food in all these exotic countries as well.

And as fate would have it, his fortune and fame only increased, which reinforced the faith in his strict morning regime and vegetarianism.

On one of these trips to Indonesia, he happened to come across a coffee which was called Kopi Luwak and based on the recommendation of his local host, he bought some of it. And true to its reputation, the coffee was nothing short of extraordinary. In fact, Sandy liked it so much that he immediately bought a couple of kilos of the same and took it back home. And as if the stars were aligned in his favor, this Indonesian trip gave such a fillip to his already successful career that Sandy was soon ascending the stairs to stardom in his given field. He was made partner in his firm, the youngest person in the firm’s 300 yr history to make partner, he got married to the daughter of one of the country’s biggest automotive component manufacturer’s Board of Directors, his good fortune just went into orbit.

And all this time, he credited it to the wonderful effects of Kopi Luwak which his local host used to regularly parcel to him from Indonesia every two months or so. Sandy became a fanatic of the coffee and loved it so much that he modified his morning regime to include a second coffee after breakfast as well. He also gave equal credit to his strict vegetarian diet as well, for his streak of good luck.

His next assignment in Indonesia was with the Government department for Spices and Cash Crops. And when he reached there, by virtue of his assignment he was invited by one of the biggest producers and plantation owner to his coffee estate where his favorite brand, Kopi Luwak was grown. In the six years that Sandy had started drinking this brand, his fortunes had soared so much that at some levels he felt obliged to the coffee bean itself to make the visit to the plantation.

And when he reached the plantation, he was invited to the processing plant where all his notions about the brand and his strictly vegetarian diet came crashing down on his head.

Kopi Luwak in Indonesian local  dialect meant civet coffee, and these were beans of coffee berries that had been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet.

All these days Sandy’s fortunes were because he had been drinking animal shit. And that is why ignorance indeed is bliss, he thought to himself.


All the points in the above post about Kopi Luwak are true. Read this Wikipedia entry to know more about the coffee.

I first heard about this coffee in the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


This post has been selected as one of Blogadda’s WoW picks of the week.


80 thoughts on “Good filter coffee

  1. Oh Jairam, I knew that was coming and couldn’t stop laughing. Quite like a fabulous joke you’ve heard many times and will continue to do so….and start laughing at the mere thought of it. Great punch line on the kaapi seed.

    I am a filter-kaapi lover and just finished my first dose of the day. What I liked best was how wonderfully you narrated it. Why aren’t you writing a book? Buddy up for Novermber’s NaNoWriMo, no? (National Novel Writing Month – 50,000 words in thirty days. Cakewalk for you.)

    • @Vidya, thank you so much for the kind comments and am really glad that you enjoyed the post 🙂

      Regarding the NaNoWriMo, doesn’t an author actually need at least a germ of an idea to begin writing a novel, plus I feel that my skill and craft of writing needs way more improvement than it currently possesses to even begin to contemplate writing a novel. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement though, they motivate me quite a bit 🙂

      • I fully agree with Vidyaji. An author will always be polishing his skills. Your writing is like a continuous flow of clear fresh water and the readers who take a dip into it are refreshed. The TamBrahm Sandy is so beautifully depicted and the aroma of filter kaapi is still lingering in my senses.

      • @Kalpana, thank you so much for the kind words. Will surely take yours and Vidya’s words as much needed motivation for my writing skills 🙂

      • Jairam, there’s no hard and fast rule. How about a series of parenting essays packed into a book, or any topic that you are passionate about? Just free write. I swear you’ll feel good. You are a fantastic writer. You are.

    • @Subroto, yes I just read about the Black Ivory coffee in a separate post today morning, once again coincidentally written for the WoW prompt itself 😀

  2. I’m giggling away although I’ve heard this story before, but not told as masterfully as you did!! I’m seconding Vidya here – and you’re book can be a series of short stories and not actually a novel, my friend! Don’t let that talent go to the civets! 😉

  3. Haha…. was hilarious…. poor Sandy. Imagine his face after he came to know the truth…. God! Poor fellow.
    And like Sandy I also need my caffeine in the morning despite the condition of the world. Coffee just makes the world more sane 😉

    • @Sheethal, yes, poor old Sandy, no!!! 😀 At least now you will be more careful about which brand of coffee you drink 😀

  4. Awesome post Jairam. Would have never seen that coming in relation to the WOW prompt! I third the rest of them on the fact that ” you should definitely write a book:)”.

    • @Richa, yes there was one other Wow post on Black Ivory coffee, quite a coincidence 😉 to read about two “shitty” coffees in one day!!!

  5. Superb!!!! The first time you mentioned Kopi Luwak in the post, I was wondering where I had heard that name. My doubts were cleared by the time I reached the end, bursting out laughing at the same time!! Loved it!! (The post, not Kopi Luwak)

  6. I for one cannot absolutely understand why you choose to call you Mahabore when you can weave off such tales with a wonderful ease . and yes I swear I did not have Kapi luwak …just my plain filter Kapi 😀

    • @sridevidatta, this is one question that I am getting asked too often and have decided to dedicate a post just to explain the origins of the name. Thanks a lot for reading and liking the story 🙂

    • @Sugandha, I know, it was quite coincidental and hilarious that there was yet another post on a similar kind of coffee 😀 Quite hard to believe that there is so much “shitty” coffee out there, isn’t it 😉

    • @Kathy, at least you will read the name and enquire about the origins of the coffee beans before you sip your next coffee, won’t you ;D

  7. You know, as disgusting as the process sounds, it is not really eating animal shit. The civets eat only the fleshy part of the coffee bean. Coffee is made from the bean! After it is excreted, the bean is thoroughly washed and processed. And did you know that we have kopi luwak from India as well. We recently visited a plantation in Coorg that markets its own organic kopi luwak. After all that gyan, let me say that the story was nice :).

    • @Rachna, let me put it this way, I would drink Kopi Luwak without any hesitation, but that being said not too many people can actually even imagine swallowing something that has been excreted by an animal even though the same has been washed, processed, desterilized and put through an extremely rigorous cleansing process 😀

      Now, after all this gyaan, I would like to thank you for liking the post itself 🙂

      • You are right. The prospect is icky :).But this coffee is goddamned expensive, perhaps the most expensive in the world. Actually, I work for a Corporate coffee blog in Australia and have researched and written extensively on coffee, so you can understand the nitpicking :).

      • @Rachna, yes, I have heard that it probably is the most expensive coffee in the world primarily due to this novelty it brings to the table. In this case, all that glitters and is costly is not necessarily palatable to most of the world, is it 😀 And no, I don’t mind the nitpicking at all 😀

  8. Well, “his good fortune just went into orbit” but I sit eyeing the beans of my coffee maker very suspiciously. Just wondering how expensive that coffee must be. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind trying, especially if someone gets me a cuppa for free! 😀
    PS – Any autobiographical element here? 😉

    • @Sakshi, I don’t really know if it is available in India, and no, no part of the post is autobiographical although the TamBrahm elements have been borrowed from my own and extended family experiences 🙂

  9. Enna sir…. karthale ezhuntirunthu chooda oru filter coffee kudichen nnu nenachen…ipdi kadaiseela kondu poyi kottavuttutttele 😀 😀 😀
    nekku oru filter kaappi venam 😀 😀 😀

    Superb take on the prompt….
    Sometimes, the way you write reminds me of ‘the Slice of Life’ by V Gangadhar, which was one of my favorites in the Hindu.

    • @Sreeja, 😀 😀 this post was a warning to all the people who don’t have a clue as to the ingredients of whatever they put into their mouths 😀

      And by comparing me to V Gangadhar, you are doing me a great honor, thanks a lot for that 😀

    • @Sid, please do, am sure she will like the post and have second thoughts about the origins of her coffee going forward 😉

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