India Plantation, believed to be one of the best Indian coffees, is a composition characteristic of this geographic region of distinctive spice flavour notes and light, fruity aromas. Minimal acidity, delicate bitterness and a fully body aid in highlighting this exotic combination of tastes and aromas of pepper, papaya and fine wood.
Indian universe of flavours
Coffee plantations in India exist in a separate universe that is home to a many plant varieties, including fruits and spices. Pepper, cardamom, vanilla, oranges and bananas grow alongside coffee trees and together form a common ecosystem. These also include trees that provide shade for the coffee; as many as 50 different kinds of such trees grow on Indian plantations. These trees prevent soil erosion on steep terrain, enrich the soil, protect coffee trees from seasonal temperature swings and bring biodiversity to the area. India is the only country where coffee is grown entirely in the shade, under a tree “canopy”.
All of these factors have an influence on the character of the coffee trees, which mature slowly and have the time to become saturated in various spice and plant flavours and aromas in their surroundings. That is why Indian coffee is delicate, not very acidic and has a full, rich taste and a mild aroma of spices and fruits that is found nowhere else.
High-quality Indian coffee, irrespective of the region where it is grown, appears under the common “Plantation” brand. This mark suggests that the consumer can expect expertly selected beans with ideal proportions, the right colour and reproducible properties, treated using the wet method.
Coffee with a history
India is commonly believed to be a leading producer of excellent teas. Relatively fewer people associate the country with coffee. India has produced and exported coffee on a large scale for more than 150 years since the British founded the first mountain plantations in the south of the country. Currently, India is the fifth largest Arabica producer worldwide after Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Ethiopia.
The history of coffee in India is even older, however, and stretches back 400 years. A well-known legend says that the Muslim pilgrim Baba Budan, during a time when the Arabs jealously guarded their coffee seedlings and seeds, while returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, took with him seven raw seeds and planted them in his family lands. They were in the vicinity of caves in Chikmahlur in the south, in the Karnak region, now believed to be the cradle of Indian coffee cultivation.
Karnak, along with the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are the traditional and oldest regions of cultivation, which are currently responsible for 92% of all coffee production in India. In connection with large demand, coffee spread to other areas such as Andhara Pradesh, Orissa and Maharastra and the government has invested a great deal of work into developing these regions, at the same time ensuring that the poor families who live there have the means to make a living.
In light of the different climate and natural conditions that dominate in various regions, many different varieties of coffee are grown in India – from high-quality Arabica such as India Plantation to variations that are less appreciated by experts but more resistent to a hot and humid climate such as Robusta.