In the battle of beverages the two warring partners are coffee and tea. While tea rules the roost in the north (which also includes east and west) the south of Vindhyas is predominantly a coffee zone. But things are changing in favor of coffee as more and more people are going through a conversion process from tea to coffee. Coffee joints like Café Coffee Day, Barrista, Lavaza to name a few have become the favorite watering holes for the young and not so young coffee enthusiasts. While the entry of the giant Starbucks with its American brand adds to the allure of coffee, Indian Coffee still remains the favorite beverage among coffee drinkers.
Indian Coffee is one of the most unique beverages in the world. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that it is cultivated and grown in shaded environs away from the harsh glare of the sun. This lends Indian coffee its inimitable mild and non-acidic taste making the coffee one of a kind brew with a racy, robust taste leaving a lingering good sensation in the palate like a pleasant memory.
The best Indian coffee come from Araku Valley, Bababudangiri, B.R. Hills, Chikmagalur, Coorg, Nilgiris, Sheveroy Hills and Travancore. Legend has it that first Indian coffee was brought by the saint Bababudan from Yemen, so enchanted he was by the magical taste and aroma. The seven seeds of the divine brew was planted by him in the salubrious environs of Chandragiri Hills of Karnataka.
Indian coffee has a history of one hundred and fifty years. Today it is one of the major producers and exporters of high quality coffee.
Coffee plantations in India share a symbiotic relation with a wide variety of spices and fruit crops. Fruits and spices like pepper, cardamom, vanilla, orange and banana grow alongside coffee plants. These coffee plantations thrive in regions with diverse climatic conditions, which are well suited for cultivation of different varieties of coffee. The two main categories of coffee -Robusta and Arabica -grow in diverse climatic conditions. Regions with high elevations are ideally suited for growing mild quality Arabicas while those with warm humid conditions are best suited for Robustas.
Main Varieties of Coffee:
Kents: Kents is the earliest variety of Arabica, selected by an English planter of the same name during the 1920s. Today, it is grown in a few areas but it is still known for its exce cup quality.
S.795: This is by far the most popular Arabica selection released during the 1940s with high yields, bold beans, superior quality and relative tolerance to leaf rust. This selection was developed using ‘Kents’ Arabica, known for its high quality. Even today, the S.795 is a favorite with the planters and is a widely cultivated Arabica variety.
Cauvery:Popularly known as Catimor, Cauvery is a descendant of a cross between ‘Caturra’ and ‘Hybrido-de-Timor’. Caturra is a natural mutant of the famous Bourbon variety. Thus, Cauvery inherited the high yielding and superior quality attributes of Caturra.
Sln.9:Selection 9 is a derivative of a cross between an Ethiopian Arabica collection, ‘Tafarikela’, and ‘Hybrido-de-Timor’. Sln.9 has inherited all the superior cup quality traits of Tafarikela. This variety has won the Fine Cup Award for best Arabica at the ‘Flavor of India – Cupping Competition 2002’ organized by Coffee Board of India.