An Inside Look at India's Coffee Growers
Cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet, on a flight back to the U.S., I knew I had left a part of me in Madikeri, Coorg, India. I have never experienced the raw beauty of nature the way I did on this trip. I can go on about this for hours, but I will let the photographs speak for themselves. Get yourself a nice cup of steaming coffee, it is going to be a long post.
Supposedly, Turkish law in the late 1400s made it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he failed to provide her with her daily quota of coffee. I'm not sure of the authenticity of this, but coffee has always been a serious beverage, which you do not want to mess up with. Perfect ripened beans are processed, dried, and then roasted at perfect temperatures to give us the cup of bliss that we enjoy every morning. (In my case, multiple cups of bliss.)
It was in the 17th century that coffee came to India, when Bababudan smuggled eight beans and planted it in the hills of Chikmagalur, Karnataka. Now, thanks to the British who helped cultivation of coffee in South India, both coffee Arabica and coffee Robusta are cultivated in Coorg. The rainforest provides a perfect canopy to grown coffee in shade. There is a world of spice growing alongside the coffee plantations in Coorg, and it is indeed a site worth seeing... pepper creeper embracing the tall redwood and silver oak, almost like green pillars towering the sky with cardamom bushes alongside. Picture this... and it is pouring because it is the monsoons, probably the wrong time to visit a rain forest. For me, there would have been no better time than this...
I managed to take some pictures between the long bouts of rain, but the picture of the wet rain forest that I carry in my memories could not be captured from a lens and is truly priceless. I cannot say I did justice to the beauty of this place; you have to see it to believe it.
Among all the different types of coffee I tasted there, "bella coffee," or coffee made with jaggery, was indeed the best and I am not sure how many cups or gallons I had; my father-in-law was my partner in crime, looking at the rain pouring, the cloud playing hide and seek to reveal the rich mountains... and a cup of coffee. What more can anyone ask for?
Simi J. enjoys cooking and celebrating the pleasure that food brings to our lives.Visit Simi at Turmeric N' Spice.