Indian Coffee and Culture
There are many countries that are famous for their coffee and their coffee cultures. Indian coffee culture is not one that would spring to mind, but it is home to over 16 unique coffee varieties. India is also the only country which grows the entirety of their coffee crops in the shade.
India is a well emerging coffee growing region, and it’s now gaining some well-deserved attention from experts. The country has a long history of growing Robusta coffee beans used in blends and instant coffee. Coffee, has been present in the country for many decades, with a coffee history that dates back to 1670. Although the country has been a top producer for several years, coffee culture in India, with exception of the southern region, is still relatively new.
If travelling to India and trying some of the rich variety of coffee they have on offer is on your coffee hotspot bucket list, then carry on reading to immerse yourself in a full Indian coffee experience.
Indian Coffee: A brief history
Though coffee has a long history in India, it isn’t considered a native beverage of the region. The legend follows the story of the sixteenth-century saint Brother Baba Budan. He travelled all the way from Yemen, to smuggle seven green beans into India, seven being a sacred number.
Brother Baba Budan then chose to plant these beans in Chikkamagaluru, a district in his hometown of Karnataka, southwestern India. It is here that Indian coffee originates, Indian coffee eventually took over what is now called the Baba Budan hills. The hills account for around 82% of the country’s coffee farmland today. However, not all of India have adopted a coffee culture, Northern India have remained loyal to tea and, Chai tea in particular.
Coffee plantations were established while the country was under British rule. The succession of these plants became more and more popular, and as such, coffee plantations spread throughout the country. The wide spread of coffee has helped India in many ways. It has aided in the creation of a great ecosystem and helped steady the economy, both of which are still thriving today.
In 1907 the India Coffee board was established, which was created to help improve the quality and presence of Indian coffee. The board has supported strict regulation in the coffee sector, primarily in the years of 1942 and 1995. In 1995, post liberalisation, Indian coffee growers were given free rein to sell their coffee produce wherever they deemed appropriate.
Coffee Growing Regions in India
- There are three categories of which the Indian coffee regions can be divided into:
- Traditional Indian coffee growing regions, such as Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
- Non-traditional (i.e., relatively new) Indian Coffee growing regions, such as Andhra Pradesh and Orissa on the Eastern Ghats
- North-Eastern Coffee growing regions, such as Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh.
- Indian coffee is produced in different geographies, under varying degrees of rainfall, ranging from 800 mm to 4500 mm, and altitudes of 700m at Chikmaglur, to 2000m at Pulleys. These variations bring subtle but delicious variations to the flavour of Indian coffee.
Indian coffee is produced in different geographies, under varying degrees of rainfall, ranging from 800 mm to 4500 mm, and altitudes of 700m at Chikmaglur, to 2000m at Pulleys. These variations bring subtle but delicious variations to the flavour of Indian coffee.
Indian Coffee Culture
Coffee culture in India is a relatively new thing. It is continuously maturing and evolving thanks, in large part, to India’s youth choosing coffee houses as places to meet up.
A growing number of Indian consumers are looking for coffee that’s sweet, acidic, or multifaceted rather than bitter, sharp or sour. Global coffee chains transformed the concept of coffee houses in the country with air-conditioned spaces and plush ambiance, giving way to a new kind of coffee experience. Part of the Indian coffee culture is how they drink their coffee and the way they make it, recipes date back centuries.