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Madras Coffee Perks Amid South Indian Surge


When it comes to hot beverages served at an Indian meal, most Americans think of spiced chai tea. But in South India, whose cuisine lately has made great inroads into the Philadelphia region, milky cups of hot Madras-style coffee are the caffeine of choice. At the new Center City branch of Amma’s South Indian Cuisine on Chestnut Street (the original is in Voorhees), the coffee arrives in a curious brass tumbler nestled upside down inside a tall-sided metal saucer called dabarah. When you lift the tumbler, the intensely potent brew — made of dark-roasted beans from the Tamil Nadu town of Kumbakonam mixed with hot milk — fills that vessel nearly to the brim.

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