When you think of a hot beverage in India, your mind can easily jump to tea or chai, however, there is a rich history of coffee in India.
Coffee came to India far before the East India company. It was actually brought to Indian through an Indian Sufi saint named “Baba Budan”.
The first record of coffee growing in India is following the introduction of coffee beans from Yemen to Baba Budan in 1670. Baba Budan planted coffee in the hills of Chikmagalur, a quaint hill town in India. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century the British entrepreneurs started taking coffee cultivation properly and turned forests in Southern India into commercial coffee plantations.
In fact, coffee was cultivated long before tea! Coffee was considered an established crop by the turn of the 19th century and exported to Europe. By the early 1940s, Indian Arabica Coffee was well known throughout the European market, although was often referred to as Mysore Coffee at the time.
Coffee production in India dominates the South Indian states and is said to be the finest coffee grown in the shade rather than the sunlight anywhere in the world. The traditional coffee growing region in India includes Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
Indian coffee is mostly grown in southern states under monsoon rainfall conditions and is often referred to as Indian Monsooned Coffee. The two well known species of coffee grown are Arabica and Robusta.
Nowadays, India is the world’s sixth largest producer of coffee, with nearly 65% of the total production coming from Karnataka. There’s also a large growing range of coffee producers with at least 250,000 now active in India.
Today, India is home to 16 unique coffee varieties, all of which are grown under a canopy of thick natural shade, however, has started to expand to non-traditional areas such as Andhra Pradesh and Assam.