Indian Coffee: History of how Coffee took over India

Coffee has been integral to the culture of many nations around the world, and India is no exception. For centuries, coffee has been a key component of India’s cultural and social fabric. While providing sustenance to workers and facilitating conversations. From the days of the British Raj to modern-day cafés. Indian coffee has been a staple of the culture and the economy.

Today, coffee is part and parcel of local tradition in south India and is fast becoming the preferred hot drink across India. From its rich and flavourful aroma to its sweet and earthy notes, Indian coffee is a truly unique beverage that deserves to be appreciated. Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. Which raises the question, how did coffee find its way to India.


Coffee comes to India

The incredible journey of coffee began centuries ago when Baba Budan, a Sufi saint from India, set off on a pilgrimage to Mecca. While in Mocha, a port city in Yemen, he was served a dark sweet liquid called Quahwa and was mesmerized by the taste. This was his first ever taste of coffee and it left him entranced and wanting more.

Meanwhile, the problem was that the Arabs were extremely protective of their coffee industry and it was illegal to carry green coffee seeds out of Arabia. But Baba Budan, with just one taste, was smitten by the drink. He wanted to bring it to his homeland, no matter how risky it was.

With bravery and wit, he concealed 7 green coffee seeds in his beard. Undeterred, Baba Budan hid seven green coffee seeds in his beard and smuggled them out of Mocha to Mysore. Without doubt, a daring and brave act that marked the beginning of coffee’s journey to India.

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Baba Budangiri – From the backyard to the entire country

On his return to India, he planted the Seven Seeds of Coffee in the courtyard of his hermitage in Chikmagalur, ‘the land of coffee.’ The coffee plants gradually spread as backyard plantings, and later on to the surrounding Chandangiri Hills. In honour of Baba Budan, the people of Chikmagalur named the entire mountain range as Baba Budan Giri.

As a result of its extensive coffee plantations and estates, Chikmagalur is often called the “Coffee Country”. The 7 coffee beans planted by Baba Budan were of the Arabica coffee variety. This variety is still the second most cultivated coffee bean in India, after Robusta.


Cultivation of Coffee – Robusta and Arabica

Coffee’s journey to India began with these backyard plantings – a magical find that sparked a continent-wide craze. Since, coffee has been cultivated in India and with its delicious taste and uplifting energy, it soon gained countless fans. In time, the plants spread to other areas, British colonials established plantations to meet rising demand.

Over the years, India faced challenges, it was truly an uphill battle – growers had to contend with leaf rust and prioritize higher yields. As a result, India started favouring Robusta beans and growing nearly all of its coffee under shade conditions. Now, India grows more than twice as much Robusta than Arabica. Additionally, nearly all of its coffee is shade-grown, much of it in forest conditions.

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Coffee In India – Today

Now that, the quality of coffee in India has improved significantly over the past two decades, leading to a dramatic increase in coffee consumption and coffeehouses. India has become one of the world’s top producers of Robusta and Arabica beans. Surprisingly, wach of these bean varieties have their own unique taste. In fact, it is interesting to note that India is the 6th largest producer of coffee in the world. Though the crop isn’t indigenous to the country.

From the Robusta of the Western Ghats to the Arabica of the Nilgiris, Indian coffee is something to be celebrated. Whether you’re a fan of the strong and intense Monsooned Malabar Blend Coffee or the smooth yet bold and aromatic Prime Arabica Plantation A Coffee. Motley Brew has just the right blend to offer for every palate. Enjoy the magical taste of the fascinating history of Indian Coffee in every sip with Motley Brew!

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