As you walk into Sangeetha in R A Puram in Chennai, the aroma of coffee hits your senses and wakes you up with a jolt. While there are some busy talking about cappuccinos and lattes, it is the filter kaapi (coffee in Tamil) served in a davara tumbler (steel vessels) that wins hands down in the city that’s home to the Marina Beach. Chennai’s heady brew made from fresh roasted, ground coffee beans is a mood elevator and packs more punch and flavour than any concoction you’ll get in a cafe. So if you visit Chennai, these are some of the places you must go have some filter kaapi.

Sangeetha, R A Puram
A quiet spot on a bustling road in R A Puram, Sangeetha’s mini-coffee is a quick treat that people zip in and out through the day. Had with a masala dosa or mini idli sambhar, the coffee here is the perfect drink with a snack.

Ratna Cafe
Earlier, there was just one Ratna Cafe in Triplicane that people used to head to. Today, they have expanded and you have numerous outlets across the city. The filter coffee here has been of the same quality for decades and shows how much the owners care about their brew.

Saravana Bhavan
This chain of south Indian food now exists around the world but the coffee here still tastes best only in Chennai. Whether in Anna Nagar or Radhakrishnan Salai, the coffee here is delicious.

Vivekananda Coffee
This coffee house is a name known in Chennai as it has been around for decades. In fact, they even sell their coffee powder for people who want to brew a hot cuppa at home. They have several outlets across the city as well.

Rayar’s Mess
Rayar’s Mess is not just renowned for its idli vada and pongal but also for its coffee. It’s a small standalone joint in Mylapore which sees huge crowds clamouring for a good breakfast every Sunday morning. Try the coffee and the food too.

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