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Origin, History, Types, Uses, and Facts of Coffee|

Origin, History, Types, Uses, and Facts of Indian Coffee



Coffee is a heavenly beverage brewed from the roasted and ground seeds of coffee plants. It is a significant part of India’s agricultural landscape. Introduced to India in the 17th century, coffee has become integral to the country’s culture and economy. Indian coffee, particularly renowned for its unique flavour profile, is predominantly grown in the country’s southern regions.


Two species of coffee plants, Coffea Arabica and Coffee canephor (Robusta), are primarily cultivated in India. Arabica, which is milder and more aromatic, is typically grown in cooler, higher altitudes, while Robusta, known for its higher caffeine content and robust flavour, is cultivated in warmer, lower altitudes.


History of Coffee in India:

Coffee was first planted in the Chandragiri hills of Karnataka in the 17th century. This region, now known as Baba Budangiri, remains a significant coffee-producing area. Over the centuries, coffee cultivation expanded across southern India, fuelled by British colonial interests and local entrepreneurship.


Coffee cultivation in India is largely done on plantations. The plants thrive in shaded environments, often intercropped with spices like cardamom and pepper, which not only provide shade but also enhance the biodiversity and soil health of the plantations.


Coffee cherries are typically harvested by hand, with the ripened fruits being selectively picked. This labour-intensive process ensures that only the best cherries are selected for processing.


After harvesting, the coffee cherries undergo processing to separate the seeds (beans) from the fruit. India employs various processing methods, each contributing to the final flavour profile of the coffee.


Wet Processing: Commonly used for Arabica, this method involves pulping the cherries to remove the skin, fermenting to eliminate mucilage, and washing, and drying the beans. This process results in cleaner, more homogeneous beans with fewer defects.


Dry Processing: More prevalent in Robusta production, cherries are dried whole in the sun, and the dried pulp is later removed. This method imparts a heavier body and unique fruity notes to the coffee.

Pulped Natural Processing: A hybrid method where cherries are pulped but not fermented. The beans are dried with some mucilage intact, balancing the sweetness and acidity in the final cup.


Coffee in India is meticulously graded and classified based on factors such as bean size, shape, density, and defect count. The Coffee Board of India oversees quality control, ensuring that Indian coffee meets international standards. High-quality beans often receive speciality certifications, enhancing their market value.


In India, coffee is not just a beverage but a cultural experience, particularly in the southern states where filter coffee is a staple. Traditional South Indian filter coffee, made with a blend of coffee and chicory, is brewed using a metal filter and served with milk and sugar, often in a stainless steel tumbler and dabara (bowl).


Urban areas in India have seen a surge in cafe culture, with coffee shops becoming popular social hubs. Speciality coffee shops and roasteries are also emerging, offering a variety of brewing methods and coffee blends.


Coffee festivals, such as the Indian International Coffee Festival, celebrate the rich heritage of Indian coffee, bringing together growers, roasters, and consumers to share knowledge and enjoy the diverse flavours of Indian coffee.


Indian coffee, from the hills of Karnataka to the estates of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, continues to thrive, and offer unique flavours and aromas cherished by coffee enthusiasts worldwide.

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