Drinking filter coffee in ‘Davara tumbler’

A Pair of Davara Tumbler

A Pair of Davara Tumbler

In every Tamil Indian’s house ‘Davara Tumblers’ will be found in their kitchen cabinet. Seen above are similar to cup and saucer except the shape and material is slightly variant. These crockery have been following our traditions for centuries.

Authenticity: Davara being a cylindrical katori with a flat rim, and a tumbler being , of course a tumbler. The steaming hot coffee is then poured back & forth from davara to tumbler till the time it cools down a bit and the coffee becomes light and frothy and sipped slowly or dropped into mouth without the lips touching the tumbler.

On many occasions I got scolded at for drinking coffee or tea by sipping the tumbler’s rim. In my culture we are not allowed to sip and drink (any drink). It is seen as unhygenic and disrespectful to sip and drink from tumbler. Especially if they are elders around. The mouth should not touch the rim. We have to pour the drink into our mouth. The tumblers are made in such a way that pouring into the mouth is made easy. It took me couple of months to learn this technique, but achieved it gradually. Some drink water or coffee continuously without taking a rest. Their throats work in such a way that the drink flows down their throat.

The last time I went to India, about 2 years ago, I visited Mc Donalds and few other western restaurants. To my surprise they were using Davara Tumbler for drinking coffee or tea.

Drinking filtered coffee in Davara Tumbler is the best.

It may come as a surprise. Yes, Westerners have started adopting, slowly but steadily, the humble South Indian ‘Tumbler’ and ‘Davara’ (or ‘Damara’) for their daily use.

It started with some Americans noticing, in Silicon Valley Indian expatriates using this strange looking pair of utensils for drinking beverages from, especially coffee. On enquiry they were told that these are widely used in South India because of some special advantages and that they added a unique flavour to hot coffee.

Teams of experts were sent to India. They went round specially concentrating on South India, visited restaurants (locally called ‘Coffee Hotels’) and households, collected a mass of data and submitted their findings to the Federal Food and Drugs Administration of U S and also to key Restaurant Chain Operators.

They found that the ‘Tumbler-Davara’ pair scores over the traditional ‘Cup and Saucer’ and also the tall straight ‘Lotah’ of the northern part of India. The rim in both Tumbler and Davara helps in a firmer grip. The rim also helps in dissipating heat serving as a cooling fin. They also found the people usually transferring a portion of hot liquid into the Davara and cooling it by blowing on it or swirling it. It was observed that the locals tried to do the same when offered the beverage in a cup and saucer, with disastrous results !

Ceramic ware tend to suffer damages during washing while the stainless steel utensils last long.

But they could not substantiate the claim that the Tumbler adds flavour to the coffee, unless the washing is not thorough.

As a trial measure selected branches of Chains like MacDonalds have started using Tumbler and Davara (one cannot separate them). Customer response is expected to be positive.

Unconfirmed news is that a few Chinese representatives have already visited ‘Kali Mark’ and other Stainless Steel Utensil manufacturers in India to get to know the design of these utensils. Also that a leading manufacturer in the US has already applied for a patent.

My parents still use the davara tumbler for drinking coffee at my house, eventhough my siblings, husband and I use our morning mugs. I love to watch my appa and amma drink coffee in their special ‘mugs’. The way they pour the coffee from one container to the other without spilling it, itself is an art. Just love watching them do the swing motion.

I am not sure whether I will drink coffee in davara tumbler, when I am their age. Whenever we visit any family houses in Tamilnadu we are given coffee in these containers. I have learnt the technique in using them and enjoy drinking my favourite filtered coffee in them once in a while 🙂

Enjoy a ‘Tumbler’ of coffee…

Prad 🙂



  1. We served with The Salvation Army in Southern India from 1976 to 1990. We brought back some of the tumblers and davaras, but need more for our grandchildren now. Can you tell me where to purchase them in the USA? Thanks. God bless. Jim

  2. Lovely blog, Pradeepa. Chanced on this when doing a Google search for notes on the humble yet powerful ‘davara-tumbler’. The piece on FDA, McDonalds is hilarious!

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