India washed Arabica Plantation AA
|Unit of Measure||GrainPro Sack à 60kg|
|Bag Type||Grain Pro|
|Producer||Various smallholder farmers|
The story of how coffee was first introduced in India dates back to the late seventeenth century. It is said that an Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan passed through Yemen in 1670 on his way back to Mecca. On his return, he smuggled 7 coffee seeds (the export of which was severely controlled) and planted them in Karnataka.
Today, India is one of the world's largest coffee producers, with the majority of its coffee growing in the traditional cultivation areas located in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu in the southern region. Even though there are larger coffee estates in India, the majority (80%) of the country's coffee is cultivated by smallholder farmers. Over the past decades, these farmers have progressively transitioned from growing Arabica to Robusta or Liberica, primarily because of their increased resistance to pests. Nevertheless, Arabica is still being produced in the country.
Indian Arabicas typically grow at altitudes between 1,000 and 1,600 masl. The majority is shade grown and often intercropped with other plants such as cardamom and pepper. Moreover, Indian coffee is typically graded with two different systems. One is by size and defect count and ranges from AAA, which are the big beans, down to AA, A, AB, and PB for peaberry beans. Typically, a larger bean size is associated with higher quality. The other one classifies all washed coffees as “Plantation coffees’, naturals as “Cherry”, and all washed Robustas as “Parchment”.
India is full of color: bowls of brick red and ocher spices at vivid markets and turquoise water hitting golden beaches. Verdant volcanic mountain ranges sketch the diversity of India's flora and fauna. Not surprisingly, it also offers a large variety of agricultural produce. Although making up only a low percentage of its exports, India's specialty coffee production has started to draw some serious attention.
India may generally be more known for tea. However, the actual origins of coffee production root back to as early as 1670. According to legend, Saint Baba Budan stopped in the port city of Mokka in Yemen on his pilgrimage to Mecca. There he discovered a coffee tree, wrapped seven grains in his turban, and smuggled them to India. Once he arrived, he planted the beans in his garden near the evergreen, flowery mountains of Chikmagalur- and so the birthplace of coffee in India had arisen.
In his honor, the fertile mountain chains were named after him (Giri = mountains) and are famous for some of the nuttiest Indian Arabicas. Today, there are about 250,000 coffee growers in India – 98% of them being smallholders. Most of India's production takes place in the southern part of the country, in the states of Kerala and Karnataka. The latter is shaped by the profuse Western Ghats, a mountain range inherent to one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots in the world.
While Arabica makes up about 40% of the country's production, Indian Robustas have also gained some reputation and are mostly grown in Kerala. Both Arabica and Robusta beans can also be processed as Monsooned Malabars. This traditional processing method is unique to India and stems from the early days when ships loaded with coffee experienced heavy rainfalls and high humidity on their way to England. Today, the coffees are thus exposed to high humidity during the monsoon period to soak up with water and gain a distinct woody flavor.
|COFFEE REGIONS||Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bababudangiri, Chikmagalur, Coorg, Kerala|
|COFFEE ALTITUDES||800 – 2,000 masl.|
|VARIETIES||S795, S274, Selection (4, 5, 5B, 6, 9) Kent, Cauvery, Robusta|
|HARVEST PERIOD||Oct – Feb|
|COFFEE FARMS||250,000 smallholders and plantations|
|AVERAGE FARM SIZE||0.5 – 5.5 ha|
|YEARLY PRODUCTION (IN 60KG BAGS)||4,988,000|