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Kumbakonam Degree Coffee

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Jambu

Active member
Last week end I was going to various places in and around Kumbakonam after several years and tried to get that famous Kumbakonam Degree coffee But could not get it But was served with Bru instant only Please let me know where I get it. The Hotels like Kaliakudi Magalambika etc have pulled down their shutters and could not even eat in some of the hotels where we had to. Why this is called Degree Coffe? Jambu:p
 

praveen

Life is a dream
Staff member
Here's what i could find from the net

A term often heard for high-quality coffee is degree coffee. Milk certified as pure with a lactometer was called degree milk owing to a mistaken association with the thermometer. Coffee prepared with degree milk became known as degree coffee.

Another explanation for degree coffee is that chicory beans were used to make the coffee. The South Indian pronunciation of chickory became chigory then digory and finally degree.

Yet another explanation is that, when coffee is decocted for the first time, it is called as the first degree or simply as the "Degree Coffee". This has the strongest flavour and the necessary strength to mix with milk without watering down the taste. In less affluent households, in earlier days, coffee was decocted for a second or third time from the same initial load; this became the second degree coffee and naturally, is not as strong. Affluent households drank first degree or the famous "Degree Coffee" only.
 

RVR

Well-known member
Kumbakonam degree coffee is a favourite drink among TB community in the olden days. But mostly the community has migrated out of erstwhile Tanjore district and hence the coffee would also have lost its flavour in the area.

Coffee powder is ground from fresh roasted beans every day in the morning. In my younger days I use to grind coffee powder in a small table fitted grinding machine which is available in most of the TB homes. The grinding is done by rotating a mechanical rotary handle by hand. Every house will have cow and fresh milk is available. Buffalo milk is not used for making coffee and only for curd, butter etc. So fresh filtered coffee decoction with fresh milk is a taste by itself which cannot be compared. In hotels such a coffee is considered as Degree coffee.

In TB community marriages Coffee, playing cards, Kumbakonam betel leaves with tobacco and seeval are the main items. If compromise is made in any of the above, it will result in big fights.

Now a days after migrating to the city, all these tastes have gone for a six.

There is no wonder, degree coffee is not available nowadays.

All the best
 
H

hariharan1972

Guest
praveen,

you deserve a padma award for you efforts in snooping down on 'degree coffee' and finding the etymology.

i had guessed the 3rd possible reason while i had concocted 2 'theories' of my own.

theory 1 : tb's like their coffee piping hot ; so given the blazing summer in tamil nadu (generally), perhaps the coffee of the tb's was vying with the met dept on 'degree' of heat

theory 2 : it's common knowledge that cups of coffee keeps you awake in the night. given the linear relationship between keeping awake and the academic excellence of the tb's, more the coffee the tb's drank, the more success they had in their academic pursuits.

one of the reasons i deserve to be banished from tb community (my father would have more compelling reasons though) is that i hate coffee....except the ones served in coffee shops such as barista, cafe coffee day et all.

i find the home made coffee too strong which hits my nostrils even before i can take my first sip.

also i find coffee stains the teeth much more than tea and it also has a terrible after-smell, almost akin to eating raw onion or garlic. it was also a put-off for me.

even as i was having small helpings of coffee at home, the switchover to tea was complete when i met a colleague after college who drank, am not exaggerating, nearly 20 cups of coffee a day. he lived on coffee.

the magical power of coffee in curing an instant headache including the famous 'otrai thalaivali' aka migraine is to an absolute, wholesome and nothing but the truth. my experiments with coffee during migraine stand testimony to this.

next best i can think of is the 'railway coffee', the safest food in indian railways - where else would you get boiled water ? but the experience of drinking coffee in a plastic cup with the rocking of the train is amazing.

here's my humble ode to the coffee

Boiling water poured to the brim
Draining life of the powdered bean
A cuppa, it turns to, wetting your lip
Touching your soul, as does each sip
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
hari,

scientifically speaking, a hot drink taken on a very hot day, has a cooling effect on the body. a cold drink, while giving an illusion of relief, does nothing to reduce the body temperature, and hence very soon we are at the mercy of the scorching heat.

re the various strata of degree coffee, in my home, we used to comment on the that the cook & the maid got the first decoction. then came the head of the household (male or female, depending on who wore the pants in those households).

in contrast, my home, my mom had the first decoction. then came the rest of us. :) there were usually three decoctions, the final one being for the maid.

coffee, a drink introduced to india by muslim arabs, now a lifeline & the preferred drink of choice for the tb's (except hari :) )

ps. tb could be tamil or telugu brahmin ;)
 

B.Krishnamurthy

Active member
KUMBAKONAM DEGREE COFFEE is still available in CHENNAI.There is a shop in MADDIPAKKAM KOOTU ROAD which markets only KDC.
Pure coffee powder and powder mixed with Chicory are available.
I have tasted several brands and KDC is really great.
BK
 

tbs

Well-known member
hi folks,
still my MIL makes kumbakonam degree coffee in delhi...by using
handy machine...home made roasted coffeepowder with fresh milk...
she belongs to kumbakonam ...she likes first degree coffee...i think
its tb tradition...brahmanargal saapidum idam..hahah...
ALANKARA PRIYO VISHUH..ABHISHEKA PRIYO SIVAHA...BRAHMANAH
BHOJANA PRIYAHHAA...thats why we always say...kaapi saapittela..?
not kaapi kudichela...we eat coffee..not drinking? my 2 cents..

regards
tbs
 

sunkan

Active member
here in bangalore the cothas come out with great flavors, the green and red if both mixed with one kg green to 400 gms of red the combination is great, and i am happy i can have a hot cuppa of this earl in the morning....sunkan
DSCN5881.JPG
 
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Jambu

Active member
I think Kumakonam was famous for its degree coffee as well as for its கொசு Though I could not taste the degree coffee I had the painful taste of கும்பகோணத்து கொசு in plenty! Jambu:evil:
 

G. Soundara Rajan

Active member
Namassadhasae.

Shri TBS ji:

BrahmaNA: bahujanapriyA: must have become bhojana priyA:
However both seem correct. Sound mind can be in a sound body only.


I know places where good filter coffee can be had in Chennai. In Kumbakonam, I was told, one famous place 'Venkata lodge' is there and once serving on vazhai ilai sitting on floor with pandhi payy facility was available exclusively for Brahmins. I am not sure the kind of same quality is maintained now there pls.I shall verify this when I make my next visit to Kumbakonam .
 

pannvalan

Well-known member
Some facts about a good quality coffee.

1. First hallmark of a good coffee is in its great aroma which goes around the kitchen,
home and finally street (or building complex). This aroma once allowed to escape,
cannot be recaptured.


2. Its second identity comes from its colour, which is determined by splendid mix of
decoction and milk. (My wife mixes 50 g of chicory powder for every 1kg of first
grade -pea berry - coffee powder, to give it the perfect blend and strength).
Roasting and grinding of seeds also plays an important role.

3. Coffee prepared with fresh milk tastes the best. (Even refrigerated or reboiled
milk is no match).

4. A coffee once prepared must be drunk within a few minutes. Otherwise, it loses
its aroma and taste.

5. Second or subsequent decoctions give no good coffee. Similarly, coffee that
becomes less hot and reheated also loses its flavour.

6. Finally, mixing of sugar. An experienced hand mixes the right proportion of sugar,
at the very first instance. This avoids reheating or altering the original blend or
strength.

I'm a great lover of coffee and feel proud to call myself a connoisseur in this regard.
But, I take only one cup of coffee a day i.e. in the morning, while reading 'The Hindu'.

Long live coffee and its lovers!
 

BALAGOPAL

Member
Dear all, kumbakonam degree coffee is available in venkateswara hotel which i feel is located somewhere near the mahamaham tank area.there was one proogramme in podhigai, dd tamil channel about this degree coffee and they were showing venkateswara hotel making the degree coffee.
Balagopal
 
N

nachi naga

Guest
kap i kapi yeah kapi kapi,just totally addicted rascal,i am :)
 

drsundaram

Well-known member
KUMBAKONAM DEGREE COFFEE is still available in CHENNAI.There is a shop in MADDIPAKKAM KOOTU ROAD which markets only KDC.
Pure coffee powder and powder mixed with Chicory are available.
I have tasted several brands and KDC is really great.
BK
kumbakonam degree cofee powder is also available in its exclusive shop in the street which is back to st.mary's road. The area may be alwarpet or abhiramapuram. Coffee made with that powder's decoction is very much kumbakonam degree coffee of those days.
 
The nearest to Kumbakonam Degree Office I had last time outside SriRangam Mandir in Tiruchi where one family is vending coffee with the same name. They charge around Rs 10 per cup. I originate from Tiruvidaimarudur near Kumbakonam. Venkata Lodge is no more with the same name but a new hotel Karpagam is operating with a management. Some of the old hotels in Kumbakonam like Mangalambika etc. are still giving good coffee. The best taste arose from the nice cow milk which originated from good grass that was available to the cows which again was due to the free flowing Cauvery river in that area. Those days the injections were not known. Cow milk was of ideal taste.
 

BALAGOPAL

Member
Dear all, the degree in kumbakonam coffee refers only to the temperature of the coffee-piping hot-the water for decoction and the milk are heated to the same temperature more or less-hot water percolates the coffee powder and the decoction collected immediately added to the hot milk( right amount of decoction added to make one cup of hot coffee by experience), sugar added in right measure(not less, not more, this is also by experience)-lo, the degree coffee is ready!-but the secret is the exact amount of the correct blend of coffee powder to make thick decoction!-that depends on the quality of coffee powder and the taste it can generate-
balagopal
 

tbs

Well-known member
hi folks,
the combination of degree coffee with THE HINDU for chennaivasi...
the combination of degree coffe with playing cards/ kumbakonam
vettilai with seeval for wedding relatives.....these peculiar combos
for tamil brahmins....whole night playing cards with degree coffee..
besh.. besh... superb....nammalavaal rasanaye thani.....

regards
tbs
 
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Jambu

Active member
Dear all, kumbakonam degree coffee is available in venkateswara hotel which i feel is located somewhere near the mahamaham tank area.there was one proogramme in podhigai, dd tamil channel about this degree coffee and they were showing venkateswara hotel making the degree coffee.
Balagopal
Dear Bala
I think the hotels name is Venkatramana . I had meals there during my visit to Kumbakonam( Rs.45/ Great Value for Money.) But coffee I am not sure Ordinary may be. Kumbakonaml sound very sweet in local dialect like குமோணம் ஜம்பு:lalala:
 

Dr.S.Ramanathan

Active member
Tiruppati laddu, Tirunelveli Halwa, Kumbakonam Degree Coffee etc should all be patented. They all have to do something with the unique taste of water available in those places,be it the Pushkarani of Tiruppati, Tambraparani river in Tirunelveli or Cauvery in Kumbakonam. besides the other ingredients and the special ratios in which they are mixed. The ingredients can be obtained anywhere, but the water is location oriented.
Regards and Respects,
Ramanathan.
 
N

nachi naga

Guest
The nearest to Kumbakonam Degree Office I had last time outside SriRangam Mandir in Tiruchi where one family is vending coffee with the same name. They charge around Rs 10 per cup. I originate from Tiruvidaimarudur near Kumbakonam. Venkata Lodge is no more with the same name but a new hotel Karpagam is operating with a management. Some of the old hotels in Kumbakonam like Mangalambika etc. are still giving good coffee. The best taste arose from the nice cow milk which originated from good grass that was available to the cows which again was due to the free flowing Cauvery river in that area. Those days the injections were not known. Cow milk was of ideal taste.

trr

dunno why people like my dad used to always love talking about cauvery water in thanjavur delta,the reason for his melodious voice for singing carnatic sangeetham?now there is river dispute between tn and karnataka,soon i think kerala will also have similiar dispute with tn,about periyar maybe this name is the cause?

our cows are nothealthy as before,owing to pollutants being dumped in water beds,sewerage being dumped in sea---these waste produced needs to be recycled properly to maintain ,nature's balance ecologically.our future generation are fed most artificially,i guess indians are fast aping the west,and the west is apng india,and adapting to vedic nature's way of life.akkaraikku ikkarai pacchai.
 

Iyyarooraan

Well-known member
Coffee a beverage of its own kind. And Thanjavur coffee is the super most quality. Saamrajyathai ezhuthi kudukkalam for one properly produced and proudly served coffee.
The Coorg can produce coffee seeds but not the drinking coffee. But alas, it has been five decades that I am drinking every day a new variety at home only. Some are not blessed and I envy others. Coffee makes the man, a class tambram
 

Dr.S.Ramanathan

Active member
The Italian black coffee out of slected Brazilian seeds has got its own unparalleled flavour. The Capacino, for instance, is quite enviable. But, the KDC, both the milk and decoction having their roots from Cauvery water, albeit polluted, still has its own enviable flavour. Water is at the root of things, even according to Vedas.
Regards and Respects,
Ramanathan.
 
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Jambu

Active member
I had degree coffee in one hotel in Banglore ( Forgot the Name) They said it will be served only in Dabara & Tumbler and not in Cup & Saucer explained that காப்பிய ஆத்தி குடிக்கணும் நுரையோட குடிச்சாதான் correct taste கடைக்கும். True I think Jambu:amen:
 
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