Fresh Coffee Anyone?

My friend Meghadri shared a piece of art by Jane Kate Brown on FaceBook and asked if his friends knew what it was.

I not only remembered that, it immediately brought back memories of my childhood when we used to wake up to the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans which were ground into powder in that contraption before being put in a filter with steaming hot water to make thick divine smelling coffee decoction. The filter was this little gadget.

The Tamil Brahmin community to which I belong, called Tambrams now, was famous for their coffee prepared this way. Guests would not mind waiting for the whole process to be gone through to have a tumbler full of piping hot coffee. There was a ritual involved here to in cooling the concoction down by pouring from the tumbler into the other container called the davaraa.

The grinding process could only start after the beans were roasted first and that was done in this contraption.

The beans were inside the drum which was rotated over a charcoal fire. The older children in the house had the chore of turning the handle and since I was the eldest, I often had to do that. Mind you, this was an every day event. The powder was never kept in stock. Everyday, fresh stock had to be roasted and ground for fussy male heads of families.

While the smell permeated the entire house, the children were not allowed to drink either coffee or tea till almost teen age. What a cruel thing to do?

In homes were meat was regularly cooked, another grinding machine of a larger size was used to mince meat. These two grinders were kept separate in different locations so that the coffee aroma was never polluted with alien traces in the machine!

Do you remember these kitchen appliances? If you do, you must be close to my age!