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how coffee came to india

how coffee came to India

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Place in world as coffee exporter (19/20):

6th

Sacks (60kg) exported annually (19/20):

6,028,000 (incl. Robusta)

Percentage of world coffee market:

Approx. 4.5%

Other major agricultural exports:

Rice, wheat, soybeans & other pulses/grains

Estimated number of families relying on coffee for livelihood:

More than 600,000 individuals directly dependent

Typical Varieties Produced:

30% Arabica: Catimor, Kent, S795, Caturra, Cauvery & S9, among others 

Key Coffee Regions:

Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu (among others)

Typical Harvest Times:

Arabica: November – March

Typically Available:

From May


how coffee came to India

India is the world’s sixth largest coffee producer, behind Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia and Ethiopia, with a total production in 2014/15 of some 5.5 million bags. It exports around 70 percent of this – with exports of greens roughly split between 30 percent Arabica and 70 percent Robusta.

As in Brazil, there is a growing domestic market for coffee in India, as café chains spring up in urban areas to cater to the burgeoning middle class. Coffee consumption more than doubled between 2000 and 2011 and continues to steadily increase by some 5-6 percent annually. The potential for growth is enormous: it is estimated that India’s middle class currently numbers some 50 million people (as of 2011, the last year data is available), but by 2025 it is predicted to have expanded to 547 million people – some 41 percent of the population.

Coffee was introduced to India during the late seventeenth century. The story goes that an Indian pilgrim to Mecca – known as Baba Budan – smuggled seven beans back to India from Yemen in 1670 (it was illegal to take coffee seeds out of Arabia at the time) and planted them in the Chandragiri hills of Karnataka. The Dutch (who occupied much of India throughout the 17th century) helped spread the cultivation of coffee across the country, but it was with the arrival of the British Raj in the mid-nineteenth century that commercial coffee farming fully flourished. Initially Arabica was widespread, but huge infestations of coffee leaf rust led many farms to switch to Robusta or Arabica/Liberica hybrids.

The India Coffee Board was established in 1907 to help improve quality and presence of Indian coffee through various research and education endeavours.  The board, throughout the modern history of the country, has stringently regulated the coffee sector, particularly in the period between1942 and 1995. Upon liberalisation in 1995, growers were given free rein to sell their produce wherever they choose.

As of 2013/14, India had between 300,390[1] and 410,000[2] hectares under coffee (statistics vary greatly depending on the source), with between 70 and 99 percent being grown on small farms sized less than 10 hectares. The vast majority is still produced in the traditional growing regions in the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which counted for around 90%[3] of the country’s production during 2014/15. The rest is grown in the more recently developed areas of Andra Pradesh and Orissa in the Eastern Ghats, and the North Eastern ‘Seven Sister’ states of AssamManipurMeghalayaMizoramTripuraNagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

India’s coffee is usually grown under a two-tier mixed shade canopy of evergreen leguminous trees, often interspersed with spices and fruit crops including pepper, cardamom, vanilla, orange and banana trees. (For a full discussion of shade techniques, see the longer analysis in our ‘journals’ section on this website.) Most Arabica farms lie at between 700 and 1,200 metres above sea level. The coffees may be processed using either the natural or washed methods, known locally as ‘Cherry’ and ‘Parchment’, respectively. Coffee is usually dried using patios, tables or, on some of the larger estates, mechanical dryers.

The main coffee varietals cultivated are:

Cauvery – an Indian sub variety of Catimor (a Bourbon descendant).
Kent – a mutation of Typica, planted widely by Indian growers from the 1920s.
S795 – a hybrid bred by Indian botanists from Kent and S228 (a hybrid of C. Arabica and C. Liberica) varietals in the 1940s and now widespread. This varietal is also popular in Indonesia, where it is known as ‘Jember’.
SL 9 – a derivative of a cross between the Ethiopian Arabica varietal ‘Tafarikela’, and ‘Hybrido-de-Timor’ (a natural hybrid of C. arabica and C. canephora).

India is also the creator of the famed ‘monsoon malabar’ – a process unique to India, with a lengthy history and a distinctive, potent cup. It dates back to coffee farming under British colonial rule, when during the several months that it took to ship green coffee from India to Europe, the humidity and sea winds caused the beans to swell and age. As transport improved and the beans suffered less from the elements en route, European coffee-drinkers noticed that the coffee was losing the character and distinctive, bold flavour they were used to.    

So, a new process was devised to replicate the conditions that produced this singular coffee.

To create a ‘monsooned’ crop, natural sun-dried green coffee is stored in open-sided warehouses on the coast, which allow moist tropical air from the monsoon winds to blow through the storage area.  Over a 2 to 3 month period, the beans absorb moisture, lose a degree of their natural acidity and swell to around double their original size, becoming brittle and pale. The process starts when the monsoon season begins in June/July and is usually completed by the end of October. The result is an earthy, pungent, low-acidity cup, which is often used to add body and weight to fine espresso blends.

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AURORA COFFEE.

AURORA COFFEE is the indias favorite coffee brand.

“AURORA COFFEE a world-class brand that will transform your coffee experience, is the product legacy of ORIGIN, rooted in Coorg , the coffee capital of India. AURORA COFFEE is born out of the rich expertise of a company that supplies coffee to leading Indian and International coffee companies. AURORA COFFEE carries the timeless flavor of our legacy and promises to treat coffee lovers to an absolutely memorable experience.”

Top 10 Best Flavour Coffee Brands in India

1.AURORA COFFEE.

“AURORA COFFEE a world-class brand that will transform your coffee experience, is the product legacy of ORIGIN, rooted in Coorg , the coffee capital of India. AURORA COFFEE is born out of the rich expertise of a company that supplies coffee to leading Indian and International coffee companies. AURORA COFFEE carries the timeless flavor of our legacy and promises to treat coffee lovers to an absolutely memorable experience.”

Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

2. Cafe Coffee Day

Café Coffee Day is a brand promoted by Coffee Day Global Limited. Popularly known as CCD, the brand has positioned itself as a hangout destination for most people in cities and towns of India. They opened their first cafe in the year 1996 at Brigade Road in Bangalore.

In addition to growing and processing coffee under its brand, the company has ventured into selling coffee machines and wood furniture. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

3. Blue Tokai

Blue Tokai started roasting coffee beans from the year 2013. Within a very short period, it has grown as a popular homegrown coffee brand in India.

They outsource coffee beans a wide network of good quality coffee producing farms of the country. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

4. Nescafe

Nescafe originates from Switzerland. The company was founded in the year 1938. Nescafe is probably the most popular coffee brand for years in the Indian market.

The brand is acquired and marketed by Nestle. And hence the name Nescafe stands Nes for Nestle added with a cafe. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

5. Lavazza

Luigi Lavazza is the manufacturer of this brand in Turin in 1895. It started with a small grocery store at Via San Tommaso.

The business of Lavazza is presently run by the third and fourth generations of the Lavazza family. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

6. Starbucks

Starbucks Corporation is an American coffee company. It is one of the most popular coffeehouse chains worldwide.

Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington in the year 1971. At present, the company operates in more than 28,218 locations worldwide. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

7. Bru

Bru is a high selling coffee brand in India since the year of inception in the year 1968. The brand is promoted by Hindustan Lever Limited.

At present, Bru controls a large chunk off of the market share of the filter coffee market in India. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

8. Tata Coffee

Tata Coffee brand is owned by the Tata Global Beverages, a subsidiary of Tata Group. Tata Coffee has positioned itself as one of the largest integrated coffee cultivation and processing companies in the world.

At present, the company owns 19 coffee estates in southern India. The estates are spread across 8000 acres in the western ghats of South India. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

9. Davidoff

Davidoff is an internationally recognized premium coffee brand. It produces the best quality coffee made of Arabic beans, which happens to the best available coffee beans around the world.

They create a limited edition of their products. The products are currently available in the Indian market. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

10. Narasu’s Coffee

Narasu’s Coffee brand is promoted by Sri Narasus Coffee Company Limited. They are catering to the Indian market since the year 1926.

At present, it is recognized as a popular homegrown coffee brand in India. The company is headquartered in the state of Tamilnadu and having coffee estates in Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Check below, some of their best-selling coffee products at Amazon.

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