Founded in 2009, Malgudi Days Coffee has developed a small but passionate following amongst Indians living away from India. The specialty coffee roaster sources its green coffee beans from select estates in South India, roasts and blends them in Sydney, and ships its coffee worldwide. For its excellence in roasting, Malgudi Days Coffee earned recognition at the 2012 Golden Bean Awards, the largest roasters’ competition in the world. In recent years it has branched out with an offering of specialty teas and a curated collection of coffee brewing tools. Take away the bells and whistles though, and Malgudi Days Coffee is built on solid foundations: a love for excellent coffee and the bond between a mother and son.
In India, filter coffee (or kaapi, as the South Indian phoneticism goes) does not refer to drip brew coffee. Indian filter coffee is made from a ground blend of roasted coffee beans and chicory root allowed to brew in a traditional metal filter. The resulting decoction is mixed with foamy, boiled milk and sugar. Malgudi Days Coffee’s founder, Anee Sampath, set out to create the perfect blend of traditional South Indian coffee for his mother, who missed the kaapi of her childhood. What started as a passion project took on a life of its own, and soon Anee switched over from a career in risk management to pursue roasting full time. He admits he finds Malgudi Days Coffee’s success pleasantly surprising. ‘There’s this perception that people will go for whatever’s most convenient, but we’ve found that they appreciate specialty quality ingredients. They know we’re a small family business and they trust that.’ It is known as a tea country, but India is the seventh largest producer of coffee in the world. Anee wishes more people knew about Indian filter coffee. ‘Turkish, Vietnamese, French, Italian — everyone has their own way of brewing coffee. And so does India.’
‘Customers send us these sweet emails about how our coffee has changed their lives – that’s how they describe it,’ Anee says with a laugh. ‘In some ways it’s so trivial, it’s just coffee. And the world is complex and hard enough for most people. But you’ve created something from scratch, and it’s put a smile on someone’s face. I think that’s pretty amazing.’